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Montero, M. & Montenegro, M. (2006) Critical Psychology in Venezuela, Annual Review of Critical Psychology, 5, . 25!"26# $$$.%iscourseunit.

co&'arc '5 Maritza Montero & Marisela Montenegro( Critical Psychology in Venezuela Introduction )he ro%uction o* sychology as a %isci line area in Venezuela, as in other countries in +atin ,&erica, has *re-uently .een in*luence% .y hege&onic ers ecti/es o* scienti*ic thought, co&ing *ro& centres o* ro%uction $ith &ore resources an% consi%ere% as $ith &ore geo" olitical i& ortance, such as the 0nite% 1tates or 2uro e. 3o$e/er, in Venezuela, as $ell as in the region, .eginning in the &i%"!0s o* the last century a signi*icant ro%uction o* 4no$le%ge in the area o* sychology an%, s eci*ically o* social sychology has .een generate% in res onse to the nee% to ans$er to s eci*ic heno&ena an% social ro.le&s o* these conte5ts. 6n this sense, the critical as ect $as generate% out o* concern a.out the rele/ance an% social signi*icance o* the 4no$le%ge ro%uce% in .oth aca%e&ia an% ro*essional ractice, in relation to the li*e circu&stances in these countries, as $ell as to the ertinence o* sychosocial theories in use. , characteristic o* the Venezuelan an% +atin ,&erican critical &o/e&ent, in general, has .een its not .eing strictly %e*ine% .y the geogra hical li&its o* the nation. 6nstea%, it has .een %e/elo e% through %ialogue an% colla.oration $ith ro*essionals an% scholars *ro& +atin ,&erica an% other arts o* the $orl%. )here*ore, su&&arizing the contri.utions o* the ro%uction o* 4no$le%ge $ithin the so"calle% 7critical sychology8 li&ite% to the geogra hic area o* Venezuela has to ta4e into account this %ialogical con%ition, that $oul% o en areas o* interest a.out $hat $as .eing %one else$here, $hile at the sa&e ti&e su.&itting the 4no$le%ge thus o.taine% to criti-ue, to %ou.t, or to trans*or&ation. ,n% as also ha ens in such circu&stances, to &any uncritical re etitions, until the lac4 o* ecological /ali%ity $oul% en% such e5 eriences. 6n general, in the $orl% in $hich $e li/e it is %i**icult to thin4 that criti-ue shoul% ha/e a local as ect. 9ather, it shoul% .e consi%ere% as an acti/e %ialogue .et$een social grou s, as has ha ene% in +atin ,&erica. ,t the sa&e ti&e, criti-ue is not a uni*or& ractice an% this is also e/i%ent .oth in Venezuela an% the rest o* +atin ,&erica. 6* criti-ue is uni/ersal, it is also articular. ,n% critically s ea4ing, it $oul% .e necessary to re/ise the conce tualization o* $hat is %e*ine% as uni/ersal an% $hat is consi%ere% as articular, ta4en into account the ho&ogenizing sense ty ically gi/en to each o* those i%eas. :n the other han%, there is such &ulti licity o* $or4s, interests, an% ro%uction centres that ;ust to intent a classi*ication accor%ing to those t$o .ig categories $oul% .e a /ery %i**icult $or4, i* not a useless one. 6n this article, through an act o* re%uction an% si& li*ication o* the tas4 $e ha/e un%erta4en, $e $ill *irst characterize $hat $e un%erstan% critical sychology to .e, %e arting &ostly *ro& the +atin ,&erican contri.utions to this area o* sychology. :ur o.;ecti/e is to generate criteria hel ing us to highlight certain research an% social inter/ention o tions. )hen, $e $ill o**er a .rie* %escri tion o* the areas o* interest that ha/e &ost strongly &ar4e% the ro%uction o* 7critical 4no$le%ge8 in Venezuelan sychology< theoretical an% e iste&ological re*lections in critical sychology, co&&unity sychology an% artici atory action"research an% social sychology o* olitical rocesses. =inally, $e $ill %escri.e $hat *or us re resent the &ain challenges currently *ace% .y critical sychology in Venezuela.

Contact< &&ontero>reacciun./e & Marisela.Montenegro>ua..es

Critical Psychology in Latin America )he %e/elo &ents that ha/e &a%e critical sychology ossi.le in Venezuela an% other +atin ,&erican countries ha/e o ene% a $i%e range o* theoretical an% ro*essional ossi.ilities $ithin sychology $hich -uestion %i/erse as ects o* the tra%itional $ays o* %oing sychology. 6t has thus esta.lishe% a olitical co&&it&ent to &arginalize% sectors o* society an% o* struggle *ro& the osition o* researcher an% ro*essional against %i**erent o ressi/e relationshi s. :n the one han%, this has ha% an e**ect on eo le $ith $ho& this ty e o* ractice has .een carrie% out? an% on the other han%, in a large ro%uction &a%e in Venezuela an% in other laces in +atin ,&erica contri.uting to .uil% theories, institutions, ractices, an% %iscussions that artici ate in a $i%er net$or4 o* ro%uction o* critical sychology in the $orl%, creating %i**erent *or&s o* un%erstan%ing the olitical engage&ent o* sychology $ithin s eci*ic societies. , *irst a roach to critical sychology, as it is un%erstoo% in +atin ,&erica, sho$s its %istance $ith res ect to &ainstrea& sychology. =ollo$ing Montero an% =ern@n%ez (200A.), critical sychology coul% .e characterize% as the %e/elo &ent o* theories, ractices, an% olicies in sychology that trans*or& .oth social an% aca%e&ic reality. :r, as those authors oint out< 76t ser/es to su./ert the $ay in $hich $e see things. Presenting %i**erent oints o* /ie$ an% %econstructing the o.;ects that o ulate our $orl% re/eal %i**erent ers ecti/es, o en our co& rehension to ne$ inter retations, an% resent other ers ecti/es o* e/ents an% things. 6t stri s us o* the ha.itual tools an% in%uces us to create ne$ ones.8 (Montero an% =ern@n%ez, 200Aa<!). )he %is&antling o* &ainstrea& sychology $oul% start, then, $ith the %e/elo &ent o* alternati/e un%erstan%ings *or research an% ro*essional ractice? $ith olitical clai&s a.out the $ays in $hich such 4no$le%ge is ro%uce% an% ractice% in society, an% $ith a strong criti-ue o* the *or&s o* social control ro%uce% .y tra%itional sychological ractice (Correa, =igueroa & +B ez, (CCD). )he critical ers ecti/e has .een .ase% on< ,nalyzing, %econstructing, an% sho$ing the $ay in $hich that $hich is acce te% as 7natural8 or as an essential art o* the .eing o* so&e thing, has ac-uire% that con%ition? o**ering alternati/e /isions o* those heno&ena .y sho$ing their socio" historically constructe% character an%, *in%ing the o$er relationshi s sustaining those inter retations. Montero (200D.) highlights the *ollo$ing as ects $hen she analyzes the con%ition o* $hat reten%s to .e critical< Firstly, criti-ue sho$s that $here so&ething is resente% as i&&o/a.le an% nor&ati/e, it is ossi.le to choose. )he ety&ological origin o* the ter& (*ro& the Eree4 krisis/eos) assu&es that a choice is necessary, so things can ha/e a /ariety o* *or&s an% not e5ist in only one $ay. Secondly, criti-ue &eans su.&itting to analysis the theoretical &o%els, conce ts, an% ers ecti/es that ser/e as e5 lanations *or sychological heno&ena, esta.lishing the contra%ictions, holes, incoherence, an% also strengths o* those e5 lanations. Thirdly, an% in accor%ance $ith the one &entione% a.o/e, criti-ue i& lies recognizing an% su.&itting to ;u%ge&ent the %i**erent *or&s in $hich o$er is e5ercise%, $hich ten% to e5clu%e alternate or %i/ergent e5 lanations. Fourthly, critical acti/ity, $hen it sho$s $hat is con*using an% %ar4 an% in %ou.ting a.out $hat see&s to .e o./ious, o**ers &ore than an o tion or e5 lanation o* the heno&ena $hich can lea% to trans*or&ing the $orl% an% &a4ing it %i**erent. Fifthly, criti-ue is %yna&ic, it changes. )he $orl% $hich change% .eco&es natural an% ha.itual an%, there*ore, it $ill .e an o.;ect o* ne$ criticis&. Sixthly, criti-ue is not in an% o* itsel* goo% or .a%. 6t is necessary to change things an%, finally, the critical &o/e&ent e5 resses that 4no$le%ge is not an o.;ecti/e re*lection o* reality, .ut instea% it is characterize% .y the historical con%itions o* its ro%uction o* $hich it *or&s a art. )here*ore, one shoul% not thin4 that necessarily, attri.uting the -uali*ier critical to so&ething or to so&e.o%y $ill in/est the& $ith the critical con%ition.

1o criti-ue, or $hat is consi%ere% 7critical8, ai&s to &a4e unco&*orta.le that $hich is consi%ere% a%e-uate an% natural. 6ts *unction is not to generate atterns o* action or social categorization. 6t %oes not canonize &o%es o* acting nor %oes it ro%uce nor&s. 6n this sense it %oes not generate that cal&ing sensation o* security *or us that co&es *ro& .elie/ing that $e ha/e, *inally, ro%uce% The Knowledge (u ercase an% in italics). 1uch a thing can lea% us to naturalize &o%es o* %oing, $ith $hich our criti-ue $oul% ha/e .een a ne$ *or& o* essentializing a s eci*ic *or& o* 4no$ing. 6n the case o* critical sychology in Venezuela, as in so&e other areas o* +atin ,&erica, the *un%a&ental characteristic that sustains it is concern a.out the rocesses o* social o ression an% the struggle "consi%ering aca%e&ics an% ractitioners as social agents in s eci*ic societies" against urgent social ro.le&s o* these societies such as o/erty, social e5clusion, an% %o&ination, a&ong others. ,nother characteristic lea%s to sho$ing ho$ certain sychosocial theories are esta.lishe% as locus o* o$er, .loc4ing an% %e&o.ilizing the search *or ne$ *or&s o* 4no$le%ge $hich allo$ %escri.ing, e5 laining, or inter/ening $ith the o.;ecti/e o* trans*or&ing social conte5ts an% heno&ena. 6n the critical sychology ro%uce% in Venezuela in the last three %eca%es, the sychology that can .e consi%ere% as critical is characterize% .y< 6ts -uestioning o* the $ays o* un%erstan%ing .oth the ro%uction o* 4no$le%ge an% the ro*essional ractice o* sychology. )he search *or social trans*or&ation an% the e&anci ation o* social categories, in%e en%ently o* artici ation in the en;oy&ent an% ro%uction o* social goo%s. )he social rele/ance o* research an% inter/ention relati/e to the &ost urgent social ro.le&s o* the country. , olitical &oti/ation (un%erstoo% as e& o$er&ent o* the citizenry an% occu ation o* the u.lic s ace) u on un%erta4ing the theoretical an% ro*essional ractice, .ringing along the negation o* aca%e&ic an% ro*essional neutrality. , criti-ue o* the ositi/ist an% e5 eri&ental a roaches to un%erstan%ing social reality an%, also, o* the in%i/i%ualist ers ecti/es o* sychological an% sychosocial heno&ena. )he search *or a ro%uction *ro& an% *or Venezuelan conte5ts, lin4e% at the sa&e ti&e, $ith %i**erent ro%uctions o* critical sychology aroun% the $orl%. Fuestioning o* the se aration o* su.;ect an% o.;ect o* 4no$le%ge. ,s a conse-uence o* this, e& hasis on the artici ation o* eo le in the solution o* the ro.le&s su**ere% .y the&. Ge/elo &ent o* a %ialogic ers ecti/e .et$een researchers or ractitioners an% those eo le $ith $ho& sychology ro*essionals $or4. ,n un%erstan%ing o* hu&an .eings as social actors that construct an% lea% their o$n li/es, ca a.le o* carrying *or$ar% the trans*or&ation o* their res ecti/e conte5ts. 1u&&arizing the /ariety o* critical sychology %e/elo &ents in Venezuela $oul% ta4e &ore ti&e an% s ace than $e are allo$e% *or this a er. )here*ore, $e ha/e chosen to .rie*ly %escri.e those areas o* stu%y in the country that ha/e greater $eight as *iel%s o* 4no$le%ge an% ractice an% $hich inclu%e a critical consi%eration in the trans*or&ation o* situations o* o ression. Theoretical and Epistemological Reflections in Critical Psychology , *irst *ra&e$or4 o* %e/elo &ent *or Venezuelan critical sychology, in %ialogue $ith other &o%es o* critical $or4 in other arts o* the $orl%, has .een relate% to the *or&s o* e5ten%ing the acti/ities o* 4no$le%ge ro%uction? that is to say, critical theorization, research an%, ractice. He re*er s eci*ically to the construction o* a re*lecti/e s ace "&ainly in scienti*ic an% aca%e&ic a&.its" o* $ays o* con%ucting research an% social inter/ention. 6* a art o* critical sychology consists o* the generation o* theories, ractices, an% olicies that -uestion the /ery %yna&ics o* aca%e&ic s aces $ith res ect to the o$er o* certain *or&s o* 4no$ing, then, the *or&s o* ro%uction o* 4no$ing A

an% the e**ects o* the 4no$le%ge ro%uce% are an area o* great i& ortance. )hus, the $ay in $hich 4no$ing can ser/e .oth to rocesses o* control an% social e5clusion o* social grou s, as to rocesses o* li.eration an% -uestioning o* relationshi s o* o$er, has .een a *ocus o* ro%uctions (Montero, (CCC). )he %e/elo &ent o* criti-ues o* the *or&s o* ro%uction o* tra%itional 4no$le%ge are characterize% .y the in*luence o* the so"calle% 7crisis o* the social sciences8 in %i**erent geogra hical locations, through $hich it has .rought into -uestion *or&s o* ro%uction o* 4no$le%ge &ar4e% .y the ositi/ist ara%ig&, the e5 eri&entalist &o%el o* research, an% the sychologisation o* social heno&ena an% ro.le&s (Montero, (CCA). )his critical $or4 has .een %e/elo e% in art through analysis o* the construction o* theoretical e5 lanation in social sychology, articularly in the theories %e/elo e% %uring the (C60s in the 0nite% 1tates an% =rance. ,nother &ain in*luence $as the use o* -ualitati/e &etho%s o* social research $hich, a&ong other things, sho$s the socio" historical character o* social an% sychological reality? ro oses horizontal an% %ialogue relationshi s .et$een research tea&s an% ersons .eing researche%? incor orating the /oices o* these to the social analyses o* heno&ena, an% *acilitating the creation o* ne$ social arrange&ents. )his has i& lie%, on the one han%, granting social rele/ance to the ro%uction o* 4no$le%ge an%, on the other, strengthening the artici ati/e an% %e&ocratic character o* social relations, such as .ringing into u.lic light *or&s o* social /iolence associate% $ith the %o&ination relationshi s e5ercise% in aca%e&ic an% scienti*ic acti/ity. :n this to ic, the $or4 o* Moreno in .lue"collar arrios in Venezuela resents an a roach to 4no$le%ge starting *ro& the researcher li/ing $ithin the co&&unity an% his use o* .iogra hical &etho%s. )his 4no$le%ge is ro%uce% through an analysis o* the e5ternal theories that &a4e u his *ra&e$or4 an% o* a rocess o* ;oint construction .et$een the researcher an% the eo le narrating their li/es. Moreno ((CCA, (CC#., 2002) $or4ing ;ointly $ith stu%ents an% .iogra hie% eo le, has generate% the conce t o* !o!ular e iste&e (&eaning it co&es *ro& the eo le)? analyzing the structure o* the .lue"collar Venezuelan *a&ily an% the e**ects that the a.sence o* a &ale *igure ro%uces in the chil%ren. 3is $or4 illustrates the heuristic character o* the &etho% use% ro/i%ing, at the sa&e ti&e, a critical inter retation o* Venezuelan society. 3o$e/er, as Hiesen*el% (2000) sho$s, the .reach that can e5ist .et$een the e iste&ological an% &etho%ological rinci les o* -ualitati/e research ers ecti/es an% their ractice in concrete rocesses carrie% out in aca%e&ic conte5ts, can lea% on occasions to the re ro%uction o* o ression relationshi s in the course o* the research. 9esearch rocesses carrie% out using -ualitati/e &etho%s, li4e %iscourse analysis, says this author, &ay .ias the /oice o* the artici ants accor%ing to the researchers analysis an% inter retations. 6n the sa&e $ay, &any ti&es the -ualitati/e research ro;ects are use% as an argu&ent to sustain or %is%ain theoretical ro osals in the %e.ates in the aca%e&ic en/iron&ent an%, in conse-uence, %istance the&sel/es *ro& the /ery ractical an% e&anci atory en%s o* -ualitati/e research. 6n such cases, $e $oul% .e *ace% $ith a *or& o* o$er %eri/e% *ro& the &etho% that is consi%ere% a ro riate or re*erre% .y a certain researcher. )here*ore, $ithin the critical ers ecti/e it is necessary to &aintain a constant re*lection a.out the i& lications o* the %i**erent &etho%s an% techni-ues use% in the in/estigation an% a.out their ertinence to the research ro.le&. )his criti-ue o* the critical osition is e/er &ore *re-uent since -ualitati/e &etho%ology an% the -uantu& relati/ist ara%ig& ha/e .egun to occu y laces o* o$er .oth in aca%e&ic an% social a&.its. ,nother as ect, %irectly relate% to the re/ious one, is ointe% out .y Montero (200() in relation to the i& ortance o* recognizing, .eyon% the ontological, e iste&ological, an% &etho%ological %i&ensions, other t$o %i&ensions< the ethical an% the olitical, in social research an% inter/ention. )he ina%e-uate use o* a &etho% or the .lin% %e*ence thereo*, $ithout .earing in &in% the conte5t in $hich it is a lie%, the eo le in/ol/e%, the %e*inition o* the ro.le&, or the ty e o* results that can D

.e ro%uce%, i& ly a lac4 o* 4no$le%ge o* $hat is .eing %one an% ho$ an% $hy to %o it. )hat is to say that the o.;ecti/e o* 4no$le%ge an% its nature (ontological as ect) ha/e not .een consi%ere%, an% neither has the relationshi .et$een ro%uction o* 4no$le%ge (e iste&ological as ect), an% ossi.ly, a articular &etho% is .eing a lie% (&etho%ological as ect), ;ust .ecause it is $hat is .est 4no$n, or .ecause it is *ashiona.le, or .ecause it has .een reco&&en%e% .y an authority *igure. )hen, $hat $ill $hat is ro%uce% ser/e *or? $ho $ill .e the .ene*iciary o* the $or4 %one an% $hich are the interests that $ere %o&inant in such a research, not only $ill not .e ta4en into account .ut also $ill not .e consi%ere% (ethical an% olitical as ects). )his ethical osture (conce tion an% relation $ith 7the other8), an% the olitical i& lications re*erre% to the lines o* action an% saying in the u.lic arena, %eri/ing *ro& the&, are o*ten ignore%. Ioth these %i&ensions coul% .e artially res onsi.le *or the co&&it&ent consi%ere% as a *un%a&ental con%ition .oth in e5ternal an% internal agents o* change, in or%er to ro%uce the trans*or&ations %ee&e% as socially necessary. )ogether $ith the social historic an% econo&ic con%itions o* the country, they coul% .e consi%ere% as the .asic source *or selecting as &ain *iel% o* ractice, to $or4 along $ith the un%er ri/ilege%. )his &o%el, %e/elo e% in Venezuela, is *re-uently use% in co&&unity sychology? .ut it shoul% not .e consi%ere% as e5clusi/e to that area o* sychology. )he real& o* the theoretical an% e iste&ological relationshi s in critical sychology goes across %i**erent to ics in Venezuelan critical sychology. 6t is trans/ersal to %i**erent concerns regar%ing s eci*ic areas o* research an% social action, $ith $hich $e $ill %eal .elo$. Community Psychology and Participatory Action research Co&&unity sychology is one o* the areas $ith &ore theoretical an% ractical ro%uction in Venezuela. ,s critical ers ecti/e ro oses a olitical o tion %irecte% to$ar%s ro*essional ractice co&&itte% to the &ost i& o/erishe% sectors o* society. CP has .een %e*ine% as< 7)he .ranch o* sychology $hose o.;ecti/e is the stu%y o* sycho"social *actors *ostering the %e/elo &ent an% &aintenance o* the control an% o$er that in%i/i%uals can e5ercise o/er their in%i/i%ual an% social en/iron&ent, to sol/e ro.le&s that .eset the& an% achie/e changes in their en/iron&ent an% in the social structure8 (Montero, (C#D<AC0). )here*ore, the rinci al o.;ecti/e o* this .ranch o* sychology, *ro& a critical ers ecti/e is to *acilitate social changes through conscientisation an% the artici ation o* the eo le in/ol/e% in co&&unity rocesses, achie/ing the integration o* o ular 4no$le%ge in theory an% in ractice. 6t %oes not inten% to su.stitute e5ternally %irecte% 7su.;ects8 *or 7 artici ants8, $hich .eco&e a$ns in the o$er ga&es that sustain ne$ *or&s o* authoritarianis&. )he co&&on /alues su orting this o.;ecti/e, *ollo$ing 1errano"EarcJa (2002), are the co&&it&ent to the %isa%/antage% sectors o* society an% to the ;ust resolution o* social ro.le&s a**ecting the&? the i%ea that co&&unities ha/e resources an% the otential to assess their nee%s an% ro.le&s an% act u on the&? urgent trans*or&ations generate% *ro& horizontal o$er relations an% a sense o* soli%arity, res onsi.ility, an% &e&.ershi o* the in%i/i%uals to$ar%s their co&&unity? res ect *or o ular 4no$le%ge an%, the -uestioning o* the role o* e5 erts in/este% on sychologists. )here is agree&ent a&ong authors a.out $hich are the characteristics o* this co&&unity sychology (1erranoKEarcJa, (C#C? Montero, (CC6., =reitas, (CC6? +ane, (CC6, Fuintal %e =reitas, (CC6? Hiesen*el%, (CC#)< 2& hasis on social trans*or&ation. ,s has .een sai% .e*ore, the ri&or%ial o.;ecti/e o* co&&unity action is the trans*or&ation o* social reality through rocesses o* re*lection"action" re*lection.

1ocial ro.le&s are cause% .y an une-ual social structure, in $hich the i&&ense &a;ority o* eo le are e5clu%e% *ro& the resources that are theirs .y right (there is here, the e/i%ent in*luence o* Mar5ist %e/elo &ents an% the theories o* %e en%ence an% un%er%e/elo &ent). 0se o* the theories o* i%eology, alienation, an% o$er a&ong other sycho"social tools *or co& rehension an% inter/ention. 1ocial constructionis&. Lno$le%ge is ro%uce% in social interchanges an% it is necessary to co&&it onesel* to the %e/elo &ent o* &o%els an% &etho%s that allo$ the *ree e5 ression o* %i**erent constructions .y the eo le $ith $ho& the research is carrie% out ( artici ants). Pro.le&atization o* the relationshi .et$een theoretical ro%uction an% the a lication o* 4no$le%ge. )here is the resu osition that 4no$le%ge is ro%uce% in the interaction .et$een the sychologist an% the artici ants. )he i& ossi.ility o* the researchers neutrality. )here*ore, the nee% *or an e5 licit engage&ent o* the e5ternal agent $ith the co&&unity. 3orizontal, %ialogical relationshi .et$een e5ternal agents (researchers) an% co&&unity sta4ehol%ers. )hese %e/elo &ents ha/e .een $or4e% out through theoretical re*lection an% ractical inter/entions an% ha/e generate% &any %e.ates. 1o&e o* the &ost i& ortant issues that are currently %e.ate% in the area o* co&&unity sychology are su&&arize% .y Montero (2002)< %e.ates relate% to ara%ig&atic rinci les, the $ay o* %oing co&&unity sychology $ithin science (1a$aia, (CC#? Montero, (CCC? 1@nchez, 200()? %e.ates relate% to the o.;ect o* 4no$le%ge, the cognizant su.;ect an% the $ays o* ro%ucing 4no$le%ge (Hiesen*el%, (CC#? Montenegro, 2002? Montero 200A.)? %e.ates relate% to the notion o* co&&unity an% the sense o* co&&unity (EarcJa, Eiuliani, & Hiesen*el%, (CCD? Montenegro, 200A? Montero, 200Da)? the conce t o* artici ation, its %e*inition, e**ects, ossi.ilities, an% li&itations (1@nchez, 2000)? the role o* a**ecti/ity in co&&unity $or4 (+eBn & Montenegro, (CC#? 1a$aia, 200A)? the conce t o* e& o$er&ent, its conce tualization an% the $ays o* achie/ing e& o$er&ent rocesses (Montero, 200Da)? ers ecti/es a.out sycho"social co&&unity ractice (1errano"EarcJa & +B ez, (CCD)? the olitical e**ects thereo* (Montero, (CC#)? the ractices o* co&&unity sychology an%, in general, the role o* co&&unity sychologists in concrete rocesses (Fuintal %e =reitas, (CCD)? li.erating ractice in artici atory ers ecti/es an% the relate%ness orientation in co&&unity sychology (Moreno, (CCC? Montero, 200Aa). )he &ost o ular &etho%ology in co&&unity sychology is the Partici atory ,ction 9esearch (P,9). , &etho% that e&erge% in +atin ,&erican in the &i%"20th century $ith a critical ers ecti/e o* society sustaine% .y the social sciences (=reire, (C!0, (C!A? =als Ior%a, (C5C? (C!6). P,9 has .een %e*ine% as a grou o* theoretical rinci les an% tools *or the co&.ine% action .et$een ro*essionals an% &e&.ers o* the co&&unity to$ar%s the solution o* the ro.le&s .esetting the&, through conscious an% organize% &o.ilization $ith the o.;ecti/e o* trans*or&ing li*e con%itions an% o$er relations resent in the social structure. =ollo$ing Ea.arrBn y 3ern@n%ez ((CCD) Partici atory ,ction 9esearch is< 7, &etho%ological ro osal inserte% in a strategy o* %e*ine% action. 6t integrates the researchers'e%ucators (.oth ractitioners an% lay" eo le) in a collecti/e rocess o* ro%uction an% re ro%uction o* 4no$le%ge necessary *or social trans*or&ation. 6t is also an e&ergent ara%ig& o* the critical social sciences, $hich is characterize% as alternati/e, $ith its o$n e iste&ological an% &etho%ological re&ises. 6t is a olitical &o/e&ent, in +atin ,&erica, o* intellectuals in alliance $ith the i%eological cause o* grassroots grou s or &a;orities, in their struggle *or the change in o$er relations "asy&&etrical an% o ressi/e" .et$een hege&onic an% su.or%inate social grou s. 6t is a &ulti le rocess o* research, e%ucation, an% action8 (Ea.arrBn & 3ern@n%ez, (CCD< 5).

)he *un%a&ental rinci les o* this &etho%ology are .ase% on three essential issues< trans*or&ati/e social action starting *ro& a ers ecti/e that un%erstan%s society as an articulation o* social con*licts? the ro%uction o* 4no$le%ge through the integration an% colla.oration .et$een scienti*ic an% eo les 4no$le%ge an% the artici ation o* eo le a**ecte% .y ro.le&s, in a continuous %ialogue $ith ractitioners to$ar%s the trans*or&ation o* relationshi s an%, s eci*ic social realities. )he rinci les o* co&&unity sychology an% P,9 &entione% a.o/e ha/e .een "an% continue to .e" o* great use as gui%es *or action in s eci*ic co&&unity rocesses an%, to treat a $i%e range o* situations li/e% .y i& o/erishe% sectors in Venezuela an% in so&e other +atin ,&erican countries. 9egar%ing this, %e.ates ha/e .een ro%uce% a.out the e5 eriences an% theoretical %e/elo &ents o* conce ts an% &etho%ologies in use. ,lso those %e.ates ha/e o ene% a %iscussion o/er those %e/elo &ents in the $i%er conte5t o* the net$or4 o* critical stu%ies aroun% the $orl%. !ocial Psychology of Political Processes Political sychology has a long history o* ro%uction in Venezuela. )o ics re*erring to collecti/e rocesses o* re ro%uction an% social trans*or&ation ha/e .een one o* the &ain areas o* %e/elo &ent an% inter/ention in Venezuela an% in the rest o* +atin ,&erica. )he stu%y a.out stereoty es, sel*"i&ages an% hetero"i&ages, an% social i%entities, .oth in Venezuela an% in other +atin ,&erican nations later are a.un%ant (1alazar, (CC!? 1alazar & 1alazar, (CC#). 1tu%ies a.out nationalis& are inclu%e% in this area, as %o stu%ies a.out +atin ,&ericanis& as a olitical i%ea $hich le% 1alazar to construct the i%ea o* an o/erarching i%entity (1alazar, (C#A, (C#!). ,.out this Montero ro%uce% the conce t o* negati/e social i%entity an% altercentris& (Montero, (C#!, (CC6a). 2-ually $orthy o* &ention are the research ro;ects a.out i&ages o* olitical actors an% rocesses in concrete conte5ts an% o* the in*luence o* %i**erent ty es o* social &o/e&ents in social trans*or&ations (Montero 200Ac). )here are also $or4s a.out the conse-uences o* the current rocesses o* glo.alization (0rreiztieta, 2002) an% a.out the generation, in this conte5t, o* ne$ *or&s o* agency an% social o$er in current %e&ocracies, res on%ing to ne$ cultural illnesses an% analyzing, *urther&ore, the s eci*icity o* these rocesses in the Venezuelan conte5t (0rreiztieta, 200D). )here is a $i%e ro%uction in the the&es ha/ing to %o $ith gen%er, $here critical acti/ity has .een characterize% .y the ro%uction o* 4no$le%ge relati/e to gen%er i%entities (Ianchs, 2000)? heno&ena such as %o&estic /iolence $hich es ecially a**ects $o&en (9o%rJguez, (CC#) or re*lections a.out se5ual an% re ro%ucti/e rights in the ne$ legal re*or&s in Venezuela (MuMoz, 2000), to gi/e so&e e5a& les. )he olitical acti/ity o* these $or4s consists in a %enunciation an% er&anent struggle through aca%e&ic $or4 an% social inter/ention, in contrast to the *or&s o* o ression an% %o&ination o* $o&en in atriarchal societies. :r as has also .een critically stu%ie% in Venezuela, %enouncing the ro.le&s an% construction o* gen%er i%entities in the &other"centre% *a&ily structure historically re%o&inant in Venezuela (Vethencourt, (C!D? Moreno, (CC#a). )he current Venezuelan olitical conte5t has also gi/en $ay to %i**erent inter retations o* olitical rocesses. )he crisis o* %e"legiti&ization that Venezuelan %e&ocracy has su**ere% since the early nineties o* the ast century, an% the olitical agencies that e&erge *ro& that crisis, ha/e assu&e% a $i%e s ace in the scienti*ic %iscussion a.out the characteristics, conse-uences, an% o tions *or the current Venezuelan olitical crossroa%s. 6n this en/iron&ent, the current Venezuelan situation has .een characterize% .y olitical /iolence an% social olarization (+oza%a, 200D). )he %e*inition o* the %isagree&ent a.out olitical ro;ects *or the nation, %ra$s a anora&a o* social /iolence an% an ina.ility to acce t the olitical oint o* /ie$ o* the 7other8 as /ali%, creating, as 1il/a (200A) says, a &onochro&atic re*raction that re*lects only t$o oints o* /ie$ in the &ulti le olitical anora&a, through rocesses o* ho&ogenization an% %i**erentiation constructing the 7other8 as ra%ically !

%i**erent. )he alterity (otherness) is constructe% as e/erything that is not %esire% an% that is consi%ere% negati/e a.out 7the $ay o* .eing Venezuelan8. =or e5a& le, the ten%ency to in*ringe nor&s o* coe5istence or ersonal interest consi%ere% as &ore /ali% than co&&on interest. )hese rocesses situate the other, $ho is not li4e one, as a re resentati/e o* e/erything that one %oes not $ant to .e. 3ence, su ression o* the other results in the only /ia.le solution to the con*lict o* interests an% *or&s o* .eing (1il/a, 200D). )his situation o* olitical an% social /iolence co&es to re resent a heno&enon o* ro*oun% concern *or certain social an% aca%e&ic grou s %ue to the %i**iculties that %eri/e *ro& the construction o* s aces o* non"/iolent %e.ate an% s aces o* tolerance an% %e&ocratic coe5istence (+oza%a, 2002). Iet$een co&&unity an% olitical sychology %e/elo e% in Venezuela, it is necessary to intro%uce the %e/elo &ent o* stu%ies in the ers ecti/e o* li.eration sychology, a ten%ency ro ose% .y MartJn"IarB in (C#6 an% (C#C'(CC(, an% %e/elo e% *ro& that early .ase in the (CC0s in /arious laces in +atin ,&erica. )hese stu%ies co&.ine the critical as ects that $ere .eing %e/elo e% in .oth .ranches o* sychology in Venezuela. 6n this sense, they &a4e contri.utions to the li.eration current, $hile they intro%uce the re*lecti/e critical ers ecti/e. )hey also alert a.out the nee% to %e/elo an ethical .ase an% %enounce the .iases an% interest %irecte% to the ac-uisition o* aca%e&ic o$er as $ell as the intro%uction o* artisan interests, $hich threaten li.eration sychology? an i%ea .orn out o* a genuine concern a.out the social trans*or&ation o* o resse% &a;orities in +atin ,&erica. Criti"ue of the Critical# Limits and Threats to Critical Psychology in Venezuela 1tarting *ro& this .rie* sa& le o* %e/elo &ents o* the &ost /isi.le lines o* critical sychology in Venezuela, in this section $e $ill %eal $ith so&e current challenges o* this area *ro& this ara%o5ical osition o* co&&it&ent to the olitical an% aca%e&ic ro;ect o* critical sychology an% ha/ing certain %ou.ts relati/e to s eci*ic as ects o* it. Ge arting *ro& %e/elo &ents in the area, there are so&e li&its /oice% .y authors *ro& Venezuela, as $ell as .y others in the region, $hich re*lect their o$n ractice "an% that o* their colleagues" in critical sychology. 1o, in the area o* ro%uction o* 4no$le%ge consi%ere% as critical an% starting *ro& the re&ise &aintaining that 4no$le%ge is al$ays a ro%uct o* the socio"historical conte5t $here it is ro%uce%, the re*lection a.out the $ays o* creating 4no$le%ge (Montero, (CCD? Hiesen*el% 2000), the i& lications o* the 4no$le%ge ro%uce% .y sychology an% the ethical an% olitical as ects o* that 4no$le%ge (Montero 200() are in%is ensa.le. Gue recisely to the *act that the *or&s o* %o&ination an% o ression are changing $ithin Venezuelan society, an% to the *act that critical 4no$le%ge re*ers al$ays to a gi/en or%er o* things, critical acti/ity has to .e er&anent. , %anger o* critical sychology re*ers to the *or&s o* institutionalization it can ha/e in .oth aca%e&ic an% social areas. )he institutionalization o* the ractices %escri.e% a.o/e (*or e5a& le, the shi*t o* acce tance on the art o* aca%e&ic circles, no$ uncritically re*erring -ualitati/e research ro osals, or the incor oration o* artici atory ers ecti/es in institutional rogra&s), can ha/e a ara%o5ical rea%ing. :n the one han%, these heno&ena can .e un%erstoo% as achie/e&ents co& are% $ith the $ays in $hich critical ractice has ha% to .e carrie% out at other ti&es ($ith scarce resources, little legiti&acy o* the research ractices an%, on certain occasions, ris4 *or the eo le in/ol/e%). :n the other han%, the ten%ency to$ar%s institutionalization has also &eant the loss o* the critical an% trans*or&ati/e otential o* certain critical ractices. )hus, the institutionalization can carry rocesses o* %e" oliticization o* %e/elo e% critical ractices, $ith the ris4 o* losing the e&anci ating ro;ect that $as the origin o* the %e/elo &ents o* critical sychology in the region. )he challenge o* a critical sychology $oul% .e not to lose sight o* the necessity o* constant -uestioning an% %e.ate a.out $hat %oes the a%;ecti/e critical in sychology &eans in each socio"historical &o&ent an% conte5t. #

Co&&unity sychology has also generate% a *iel% o* theoretical" ractical %e.ates a.out itsel*. ,n e5a& le $oul% .e the e5cessi/e use o* the category 7grou 8 in the theorization an% ractice o* the su."%isci line (1 in4, (CCC). )he legacy o* social sychology (an e5 ert %isci line in $or4 $ith s&all grou s an% o* research a.out their rocesses) has &a%e it so that in co&&unity ractice the grou organization has .een %e*ine% as the .est *or the %e/elo &ent o* artici atory rocesses. )he net$or4s, asse&.lies, co&&issions, co&&ittees, street %ailies, co&&unity ra%ios, etc., shoul% .e ta4en into account res on%ing to the %i**erent $ays in $hich eo le are organize% in the society. )his change, *ro& the grou category to the stu%y an% artici ation o* sychology $ith another ty e o* social organization, $oul% e5 an% the ca acity that critical sychology has to connect $ith %i**erent &o/e&ents ro%uce% .y eo le in the co&&unities an% $oul% gi/e a $i%er ers ecti/e *or the su ort o* olitical ro;ects that they share. , rele/ant as ect in the area o* co&&unity sychology is the critical %iscussion a.out *un%a&ental conce ts, such as those o* co&&unity, $hich can ho&ogenize sta4ehol%ers $ithin articular grou s, $ithout .earing in &in% the great heterogeneity an% co& le5ity o* the relationshi s in s eci*ic co&&unity conte5ts (Hiesen*el%, (CC#? Montenegro, 200(? Montero, 200Da). )his creates a se aration .et$een the 7e5ternal8 an% 7internal8 agents, generating an e**ect o* ho&ogeneity in the grou s o* ro*essionals an% artici ants, as i* each one $ere ho&ogeneous an% %i**erent *ro& the other, $ith i%enti*ia.le interests, nee%s, an% ro.le&s (Montenegro, 200A). +i4e$ise ha ens to the intereste% incor oration o* the conce t o* social artici ation $hich can translate into ne$ o$er ractices, in $hich the &ercenary coo tation co&.ine $ith *or&s o* %irecte% 7 artici ation8, o* %e"&o.ilizing character, in a%%ition to generating olitical clientelis& an% o ulis&. ,nother o* the challenges *or critical sychology in Venezuela an% in the +atin ,&erican region is to gi/e &ore attention to the %i**erent $ays in $hich social actors act on their s eci*ic conte5ts an% the co& le5ity o* the su.;ect ositions in the artici atory initiati/es. )his theoretical" ractical &o/e&ent can contri.ute in %i**erent $ays to generate the connection .et$een %i/erse ty es o* social agents in relation to %e*ine% social ro.le&s in those sa&e connections. Moreo/er, the *act that critical sychology has re%o&inantly o te% to $or4 $ith &arginalize% o ulations an% %i**erent /icti&s o* %o&inance relationshi s, $inning artici ation s aces *or these o ulations, has ha% the e**ect that only a *e$ ti&es has it $or4e% $ith those that are in olitical, econo&ic, or cultural ositions that allo$ the& %e*ine an% ractice relationshi s o* %o&ination in society. )hat is to say, it has gi/en &ore attention to the li.erating slo e o* sychology $ith &e&.ers o* e5clu%e% grou s than to $or4 $ith &ore 7inclu%e%8 social grou s, in or%er to in*luence, *ro& there, the trans*or&ation o* %o&inance relationshi s. Hith res ect to the relationshi s .et$een olitics an% sychology, the current Venezuelan situation results in a %e.ate s ace in $hich aca%e&ics an% ro*essionals enter the %iscussion in the u.lic arena as social agents. )he challenge *or critical sychology $oul% .e to contri.ute to the o ening o* $i%e s aces o* artici ation allo$ing to un%erstan% an% ro%uce alternati/es to the current olitical struggles (1il/a, 200D), $hich construct an% reconstruct social olarization an% the /iolence associate% $ith it, an% $hose only e5it assu&es the %estruction o* the other since the other is not un%erstoo% as a /ali% interlocutor. ,ssu&ing a critical attitu%e in this conte5t $oul% i& ly, then, $al4ing "together $ith other social agents" to$ar%s the construction o* *or&s o* eace*ul an% %e&ocratic co"e5istence an% o* the integration o* a society olarize% .y a ga&e o* &irrors an% &as4s. References

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1@nchez, 2. (200() +a sicologJa social co&unitaria< 9e ensan%o la %isci lina %es%e la co&uni%a%. Revista de !sicolog,a$ 6niversidad de Chile, Q (2)< (2! K (D2. 1a$aia, I. ((CC#) PsicologJa co&unitaria< 0n @rea ara%ig&@tica %e conoci&iento cientJ*ico co& ro&eti%o. 6n ,. MartJn Eonz@lez (2%.) Psicolog,a co"unitaria$ Funda"entos y a!licaciones$ Ma%ri%< 1Jntesis< (!6 K (#(. 1a$aia, I. (200A) ,**ecti/ity as an ethical" olitical heno&enon an% locus critical e iste&ological re*lection in social sychology. +nternational 7ournal of Critical Psychology, 8( (A K A0. 1errano"EarcJa, 6. ((C#C) Iases 6%eolBgicas %e la 6n/estigaciBn Partici ati/a. Ponencia !resentada en el + Congreso +ntera"ericano de Psicolog,a, Iuenos ,ires, ,rgentina. 1errano"EarcJa, 6. (2002) 1er %i*erent< el re te %e la sicologia co&nunitWria. 6n +. Cantera, U. 3errero, M. Montenegro y E. Musito (2%.). Psicologia co"unit*ria i enestar social$ Iarcelona< 2%icions 2%i0oc. 1errano K EarcJa, 6. y +B ez, E. ((CCD) 0na ers ecti/a %i*erente %el o%er y el ca&.io social ara la sicologJa social co&unitaria. 6n Montero, M (2%.) Psicolog,a Social co"unitaria. Eua%ala;ara (MN5ico)< 0ni/ersi%a% %e Eua%ala;ara< (6! K 20C. 1il/a C. (200A). )he situational *or& o* otherness. , %iscourse analytic a roach to relationshi s in u.lic s ace. +nternational 7ournal of Critical Psychology, 8( D!" 60. 1il/a, C. (200D) Gos /eces otro< PolarizaciBn olJtica y alteri%a%. Revista vene'olana de econo",a y ciencias sociales, (0 (2)<(2C K (A6. 1 in4, P. ((CCC, Uuly). Psychology an% Ci/il 1ociety K re&e&.ering Era&sci. Pa er resente% at the QQV66 +ntera"erican Congress of Psychology$ 0rreiztieta, M. (2002) 1u.;eti/i%a%, olJticas %e /i%a y o%er social en tie& os %e glo.alizaciBn. Pa er resente% at + -ornadas internacionales de reflexi#n cr,tica so re la glo ali'aci#n$ +as Pal&as %e Eran Canarias (Oo/e&.er). 0rreiztieta, M. (200D) +a sociologJa inter retati/a< glo.alizaciBn y /i%a coti%iana. .s!acio a ierto, (A (A)< D5! K D!0. Vethencourt, U. +. ((C!D) +a estructura *a&iliar &atricentra%a y el *racaso sociohistBrico /enezolano. S+C, A62. Hiesen*el%, 2. ((CC#). Para%ig&s o* co&&unity social sychology in si5 +atin ,&erican nations. -ournal of co""unity !sychology, 26 (A)< 22C K2D2. Hiesen*el%, 2. (2000) 2ntre la erce ciBn y la acciBn< la .recha entre la teorJa y la r@ctica en las in/estigaciones cualitati/as. Foru"( <ualitative social research 1on=line 7ournal2 , ( (2). htt <''$$$.-ualitati/eresearch.net'*-s"te5te'2"00'2"00$iesen*el%"s.ht&