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Home arrow Psychology arrow The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Social Psychology
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Identity-Conscious Approaches

Examples of critical race perspectives in psychology can be found in identityconscious, psychological approaches like Black Psychology. From its inception, Black Psychology questioned the typically obscured or unmarked (White) identity positions that were inherently embedded in the theories, research, and practices of mainstream psychology (e.g., R. L. Jones, 1991; White, 1970). Black Psychology highlighted the centrality of race and racism in American psychology, especially concerning the promotion and endorsement of “objective” scientific studies that implied the universal superiority of White men and the pathological inferiority of “other” patterns that deviated from this prescriptive standard (e.g., Akbar, 1991; Guthrie, 1976; Myers, 1988). Similarly, the perspective of Liberation Psychology (see Montero, this volume) draws upon the epistemological perspective of “majority world”

(Kagitqiba^i, 1995) or postcolonial contexts to emphasize the need for a psychological endeavor that (1) is oriented toward the needs of marginalized peoples, (2) uses methodologies and ways of knowing aligned with perspectives and social realities of the oppressed, and (3) is critically conscious of its own transformative power (Martin-Baro, Aron, & Corne, 1994). Liberation Psychology perspectives draw upon identity-conscious knowledge to reveal the role of ordinary science in reproducing domination. Common perspectives in Multicultural Counseling are also noteworthy for advocating purposeful consideration of one’s own identity-positioning within psychological practice, including explicit awareness of one’s values, assumptions, and biases (e.g., Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992). The emergence of Multicultural Counseling can be linked to early attempts to understand culturally different worldviews and the development of culturally appropriate interventions and practices. Work in Multicultural Counseling psychology challenges White practitioners to recognize that, although their experience of events may feel objective or transcendent of an identity position, this is a benefit they enjoy because of racial privilege and domination (e.g., Ancis & Szymanski, 2001). By illuminating how denial of the racialized character of experience is constitutive of privilege and power, work in Multicultural Counseling psychology resonates with the critical race theory’s goal of revealing racialized subjectivities inscribed in disciplinary practice. Indigenous psychologies (e.g., Enriquez, 1993; Gone, 2011; see Kim & Berry, 1993), whiteness studies (e.g., Green, Sonn, & Matsebula, 2007; Riggs, 2004; see also Fine, Weis, Powell Pruit, & Burns, 2012), feminist standpoints, and intersectional psychologies (Cole, 2008; Hill Collins, 2000) are also critical perspectives utilized in psychology that draw upon identity-conscious knowledge to reveal and counteract manifestations of racism and neocolonialism in society and psychological science.

 
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