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Community Psychology in different places. Morten Nissen Community – 3 aspects. Critical / progressivist movement Context: Kurt Lewin: B = f (P; E) Vague totalities: Everyday life Empowerment, resources, social support

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community psychology in different places

Community Psychologyin different places

Morten Nissen

community 3 aspects
Community – 3 aspects
  • Critical / progressivist movement
    • Context: Kurt Lewin: B = f (P; E)
    • Vague totalities: Everyday life
    • Empowerment, resources, social support
  • Theorizing an entity in / of social life
    • What is a community? How does it work? How is one community distinguished from another?
    • What is ”participation”? What does participation mean to individuals?
  • Discursive / practical element
    • What are the effects of ”community”?
    • How are ”communities” recruited, aligned, created?
the third sector community
The third sector community
  • ”The community of the third sector, the third space, the third way of governing, (…) is a moral field binding persons into durable relations. It is a space of emotional relationships through which individual identities are constructed through their bonds to micro-cultures of values and meanings (…) And it is through the political objectification and instrumentalization of this community and its ’culture’ that government is to be re-invented”

Rose, N. (1999). Powers of Freedom, p. 172f.




Institutional system

Locally defined practice

Specialized expert




Diagnosed body / patient

Self-reflecting subject / user


Holistic understanding

social work
Social Work

The social – from the social problem to social work

3 tasks: Creation of subjects, speaking for subjects, integrating objectivities into subjects

(Mark Philp: Notes on the form of knowledge in social work. Sociological Review 1979)

Free spaces:The absent presense of power

Welfare State: Social engineering

  • Protective: Relative autonomy of society, family, person, but
  • Responsive:Transforms itself through struggles over social problems – while interpellating ”human beings”
  • Productive: Substantial universalism, from social rights to comprehensive institutions (in DK)
  • Continuous ”community” or network since 1987, action research since 1990
  • Grassroot political and self-help dimension
  • Recruiting ”wild youngsters” as partners and ressource persons in ad hoc projects
  • Gradual recognition into changing profile of city social work services
  • Cultural manifestations such as theatre, music festivals, posters, websites
  • The Crew 1993-
  • Wild Learning 1999-
local cultural organization
Local Cultural Organization
  • A culture (from Thomas Højrup):
    • Materially reproducing and self-defining form of everyday life
    • Organizes forms of ”labor” (life modes, positions)
  • Culture as particular community
    • Culture & community mutually, indexically defined
    • Organization beyond functional and systemic
  • Local ideological reproduction
    • Power, recognition, exchange
    • Production / performance of ”us”
    • Subjectification / ”Interpellation”

I have this project with a girlfriend of mine who takes drugs in the street, that's because I once lived there. It's a former Sjakket-girl who disappeared, they can't get in touch with her. So I find her and get her away from the street. That way, I improve more and more, so that I do things for Sjakket and stop being a street kid.

What do you think your girlfriend needs?

A lot of good friends, that's when she's into shit, because she lost her friends, she's only ever seeing her boyfriend, and when he started on dope, she did, too. They had a lot of fights and she lost her friends. She lied to me at first, because she knows I'm deeply against it. But I found out, I know a lot of people in there who told me I should take a hold of her. Only yesterday I was in there to look for her

But what is it you actually do?

What I do - well, I figure out what she's up to, how far she's out, is she beyond hope, does she need a detox or what - and then I'll ask what she likes, just like they asked me back then, becase if she's having a good time she doesn't think about dope so much. It's when she's bored she thinks about it. Even when it's not in your body anymore you still have it in your mind, you know.

Now I know how far she's out - pretty far: in two weeks she'll be prostituting herself, she's hooked, only 16 years. Sjakket is going to buy a farm in the countryside next sunday, and I'll take her along to look at the place, I want to take her there and do funny things with her.

Alexandra, age 19, The Crew, 1995