Community-Based Learning and critical community psychology practice: conducive and corrosive aspects
|Hart A and Akhurst JE (2017) Community-based learning and critical community psychology practice: conducive and corrosive aspects. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology. 27(1): 3-15.
|Community-Based Learning (CBL) has been more recently introduced into some psychology programmes in the UK than in the USA, where it has existed for a number of decades in the form of ‘service learning’. CBL holds promise as a means of promoting and developing critical community psychology practice, but there are risks involved in its acritical adoption in the psychology curriculum. If associated power dynamics are not considered, CBL has the capacity to serve neoliberal interests and perpetuate, rather than challenge, oppressive social relations. This article examines ways in which CBL can be both conducive and corrosive to critical community psychology practice. Drawing on interdisciplinary literature, it explores ways in which students participating in CBL can be vulnerable to exploitation – both as victims and perpetrators – through collusion and cultural voyeurism. Consideration is given to ways of resisting institutional and other pressures to comply uncritically with the demands of the ‘employability agenda’. These include the importance of facilitated reflective processes in associated modules, to consider aspects of the interactions of people and systems. The article concludes that whilst CBL is inherently risky and involves discomfort for students, this enables development of a more informed consciousness where truly participatory work evolves towards greater social justice.
|Community-Based Learning; Critical community psychology practice; Power; Cultural voyeurism
|Community-Based Learning and critical community psychology practice: conducive and corrosive aspects