The Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) - Community Psychology, Division 27 of the American Psychological Association - serves many different disciplines that focus on community research and action. Our members are committed to promoting health and empowerment and to preventing problems in communities, groups, and individuals.
The Society for Community Research and Action will have a strong, global impact on enhancing well-being and promoting social justice for all people by fostering collaboration where there is division and empowerment where there is oppression.
The Society for Community Research and Action is an international organization devoted to advancing theory, research, and social action. Its members are committed to promoting health and empowerment and to preventing problems in communities, groups, and individuals. SCRA serves many different disciplines that focus on community research and action.
Four broad principles guide SCRA:
- Community research and action requires explicit attention to and respect for diversity among peoples and settings;
- Human competencies and problems are best understood by viewing people within their social, cultural, economic, geographic, and historical contexts;
- Community research and action is an active collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and community members that uses multiple methodologies. Such research and action must be undertaken to serve those community members directly concerned, and should be guided by their needs and preferences, as well as by their active participation;
- Change strategies are needed at multiple levels in order to foster settings that promote competence and well-being.
- To promote the use of social and behavioral science to enhance the well-being of people and their communities and to prevent harmful outcomes.
- To promote theory development and research that increases our understanding of human behavior in context.
- To encourage the ongoing and mutual exchange of knowledge and skills among community psychologists, those in other academic disciplines, and community stakeholders so that community research and action benefits from the strengths of all perspectives.
- To engage in action, research, and practice committed to promoting equitable distribution of resources, equal opportunity for all, non-exploitation, prevention of violence, active citizenry, liberation of oppressed peoples, greater inclusion for historically marginalized groups, and respecting all cultures.
- To promote the development of careers in community research and action in both academic and applied settings.
- To promote an international field of inquiry and action that respects cultural differences, honors human rights, seeks out and incorporates contributions from all corners of the world, and is not dominated by any one nation or group.
- To influence the formation and institutionalization of economic, and social policy consistent with community psychological principles and with the social justice values that are at the core of our discipline.
The community psychology of the future will be guided by four key guiding concepts: global in nature; use of multi-sectoral, interdisciplinary partnerships and approaches; a focus on creating policies informed by community psychology and social justice values; and research and action that promote social justice. Each of these priority areas is described in more detail below.
Global in Nature
Community psychology will become increasingly global in nature. In this era of rapid globalization, local communities are increasingly affected by global forces, and community psychology must collaborate with communities so they effectively adapt to such changes. Our vision is for an international field of inquiry and action that respects cultural differences, honors human rights, seeks out and incorporates contributions from all corners of the world, and is not dominated by any one nation or group.
Use of Multi-Sectoral, Interdisciplinary Partnerships and Approaches
A community psychology approach, by definition, must be an approach informed by multiple perspectives. Thus, the future of community psychology will require partnerships with other disciplines and community stakeholders.
These partnerships will incorporate the strengths from multiple perspectives. In academia this approach is often labeled interdisciplinary, in communities it is often called multi-sectoral. Whatever the label, this approach will manifest itself in all aspects of our work. We will partner with others while maintaining our own unique identity as psychologists.
Influencing Policies Based Upon Community Psychology and Social Justice Values
Community psychology will become more engaged in the formation and institutionalization of economic, and social policy. These policies will be based upon the values that are at the core of our discipline and will incorporate psychological principles. Involvement with policy is consistent with community psychology's ecological perspective on community which recognizes the importance of macrosystem factors, such as policy, on communities
National, regional, and international associations of community psychologists will develop the capacity to take policy stands as a group and as individuals. The field of community psychology will help prepare groups to act as advocates in policy arenas. In addition, the field will encourage and prepare individual community psychologists to be active advocates in the promotion of social policies that promote social justice. Community psychology associations will organize and encourage such action.
Research and Action that Promote Social Justice
Community psychology will become a field of research and action that makes a significant difference on issues of social change by promoting social justice. Social justice is defined as conditions that promote equitable distribution of resources, equal opportunity for all, non-exploitation, prevention of violence, and active citizenry. The field will explicitly state its commitment to social changes that promote social justice and greater inclusion for historically marginalized groups and will see that commitment manifest in the various aspects of the field's work.