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Societal Approaches in Social Psychology

Edited By Joaquim Valentim

This book deals with the «social side» of social psychology from diverse points of view. Several European authors analyse this topic from different theoretical and methodological perspectives. In particular, special attention is given to socio-historical frameworks, ideologies, and normative and cultural meaning systems in order to develop a psychosocial understanding of the phenomena under study.
The work is composed of two parts. The first part, with five chapters, is centered on theoretical reflection, discussion and conceptual integration. The second part, with four chapters, focuses on specific empirical fields that illustrate paths by which research can express societal concerns for the study of social psychology in contemporary societies.


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VII Preface The coming of age of social psychology in Europe has been recently described in detail by Moscovici and Markova (2006). There is no need to insist on the ups and downs that pervade a history only too well known by all of us. Social psychology, as any interdisciplinary project, always seems to oscillate between the extremes of a horizontal ontological continuum opposing individuals and societies, as well as between vertical epistemic levels of analysis, in the hopeless attempt at finding micro-macro links. Maybe this is an inevitable predicament of the discipline but also a stimulating pretext for permanent self-reflection and for looking at new problems, new methods and new answers. I would venture to remark that such a quest is particularly note- worthy in the periphery of the Euro-American mainstream, as seems to be the case of the European counter-stream, with Serge Moscovici and Henri Tajfel as the giants on whose shoulders we are now sitting trying to look a little ahead. The texts assembled, heteroclite as they might appear, have in com- mon the aim of stressing the social vocation of social psychology as claimed by its European founding fathers, that is, as a discipline that never forgets to put itself under permanent scrutiny. Notwithstanding the diversity of the chapters, throughout all of them the reader, it is hoped, can find a common concern in focusing on the macro and holistic psychosocial processes, at the same time as em- bedding analysis on the political and social contexts...

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