Some Questions About "The History of Community Psychology"

David Fryer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Most histories of the discipline of community psychology attribute its beginning to the Swampscott Conference that occurred in the mid-20th century. The author argues that recognition of the community perspective on human behaviour and on its positive as well as pathological characteristics arose far earlier and is reflected in the work of European social scientists. Work in central Europe in the 1930s by Marie Jahoda and her colleagues, for example, should be appreciated as an earlier manifestation of community psychology. The author also argues that the very project of trying to locate the historical origin for community psychology is by its very nature problematic! He views this effort as evidence of the intellectual colonising of diverse indigenous community psychologies around the world by a culturally specific, largely acritical, United States-based community psychology. The author proposes that, rather than focusing on the origin of the discipline, scholars share his commitment to uncovering diverse historical community psychologies with their specific pasts and the construction of diverse community psychology futures, including most importantly of all, critical community psychologies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)572-586
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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