Critical Community Practice, Call for Submissions – Journal for Social Actio…


Call for Submissions

Critical Community Practice

Special Issue of the Journal for Social Action in Counseling and Psychology

Dedicated community organizations and helping practitioners are working to make life better for people in communities around the world. Unfortunately, what we mostly witness is a certain type of community practice where the original source of the problem in society is left unchanged (and probably unknown and not discussed), while new programs and services are continuously developed to treat the individuals most affected. The products of ameliorative, uncritical practice are reactive, short-term, professional-driven, and individualistic approaches that ignore the assets of their constituents and communities (Albee, 1986; Butcher & Robinson, 2007; Evans et al., 2011; McCubbin, 2001; Prilleltensky, 2005; I. Prilleltensky & O. Prilleltensky, 2003). Some would say that transformative or revolutionary change through community-based organizations is impossible because they are too overwhelmed by the intense need in communities and constrained by the political and policy stances of their donors (Bess, Prilleltensky, Perkins & Collins, 2009; Harvey, 2010; Kunreuther, 2002). What is needed is a commitment to critical community practice (Butcher & Robinson, 2007).

Critical community practice implies a particular vision of society: one grounded in the ideals of social justice, social inclusion, self-determination, solidarity, and collective wellness (Butcher, 2007b; Kagan & Burton 2001; Prilleltensky, 2001; Weil, 1996). Critical community practice is «action based on critical theorizing, reflection, and a clear commitment to working for social justice through empowering and transformative practice» (Henderson, 2007, p. 1). This approach to practice works under the assumption that social transformation is possible when people have a voice, power, and access to resources (Prilleltensky & Nelson, 2002). It is grounded in an understanding that the roots of most community problems lie in patterns of systemic poverty, disadvantage, social exclusion and oppression that are manifestations of structural inequalities and social divisions within society as a whole (Butcher, 2007a). Critical community practice is a radical praxis (Freire, 1970) wherein action, research, and theory are intertwined in complex ways, and grounded in a deep understanding of the experiences of those who are marginalized, oppressed and distressed (Kagan & Burton, 2001).

This special issue aims to advance discourse, theory, research and practice of critical community practice. Possible topical areas include, but are not limited to:

• Critical consciousness and consciousness-raising of counselors, psychologists, and other community practitioners;

• Organizational critical consciousness and its relationship to critical practice;

• Institutionalization and system constraints on critical practice;

• Social change philanthropy;

• The «ideology-practice divide» in community practice and how to close the gap;

• Critical theory and critical community practice;

• Radicalizing and democratizing community organizations;

• Radical praxis in community settings;

• Constituent/consumer-led organizations and radical praxis;

• Normalizing, redefining, conscientization, and externalizing in counseling practice.

Submission process: Authors should submit manuscripts by email to the Guest Editors of the Special Issue no later than January 15, 2013. Guest Editors will review the papers for topic relevance and then select papers for peer review consistent with JSACP guidelines for reviewers found here: Types of manuscripts may include: original articles (theory or research), first person accounts, case studies, interviews and dialogues with practitioners/activists, or empirical reviews. Manuscripts submitted should be relevant to counselors, psychologists, human service professionals as well as students, educators, policy makers, community organizers, and activists. Initial acceptance and on-line publication is anticipated as early as July 2013.

Send proposal submissions or inquiries to the Guest Editors: Scot D. Evans, Adam Rosen, and Krithika Malhotra at s.evans4[at]


Albee, G. W. (1986). Toward a just society: Lessons from observations on the primary prevention of psychopathology. American Psychologist, 41, 891–897.

Bess, K., Prilleltensky, I., Perkins, D., & Collins, L. (2009). Participatory Organizational Change in Community-Based Health and Human Services: From Tokenism to Political Engagement. American Journal of Community Psychology, 43(1), 134-148.

Butcher, H. (2007a). Power and empowerment: The foundations of critical community practice. In H. Butcher, S. Banks, P. Henderson, & J. Robertson (Eds.) Critical Community Practice, (pp 17-32). Bristol, UK: Policy Press.

Butcher, H. (2007b). What is critical community practice? Cases studies and analysis. In H. Butcher, S. Banks, P. Henderson, & J. Robertson (Eds.) Critical Community Practice (pp 33-49). Bristol, UK: Policy Press.

Butcher, H. & Robinson, J. (2007). Critical community practice: Organizational leadership and management. In H. Butcher, S. Banks, P. Henderson, & J. Robertson (Eds.), Critical Community Practice (pp. 97-115). Bristol, UK: Policy Press.

Evans, S., Prilleltensky, O., McKenzie, A., Prilleltensky, I., Nogueras, D., Huggins, C., & Mescia, N. (2011). Promoting strengths, prevention, empowerment, and community change through organizational development: Lessons for research, theory, and practice. Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, 39(1), 50-64.

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.

Harvey, D. (2010). Organizing for the anti-capitalist transition. Interface: a journal for and about social movements, 2(1), 243 – 261.

Henderson, P. (2007). Introduction. In H. Butcher, S. Banks, P. Henderson, & J. Robertson (Eds.) Critical Community Practice, (pp 1-13). Bristol, UK: Policy Press.

Kagan, C., & Burton, M. (2001). Critical Community Psychology Praxis for the 21st Century. Presented at the British Psychological Society Conference, Glasgow. Retrieved from

Kunruether, F., & Bartow, F. (2010). Catalysts for Change: How California Nonprofits Can Deliver Direct Services and Transform Communities (Part 1). Social Service Social Change Series. Building Movement Project. Retrieved from

McCubbin, M. (2001). Pathways to health, illness and well-being: from the perspective of power and control. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 11(2), 75–81.

Prilleltensky, I. (2005). Promoting well-being: Time for a paradigm shift in health and human services. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 33(66 suppl), 53 -60.

Prilleltensky, I. (2001). Value-based praxis in community psychology: Moving toward social justice and social action. American Journal of Community Psychology, 29(5), 747–778.

Prilleltensky, I., & Nelson, G. (2002). Doing psychology critically: Making a difference in diverse settings. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Prilleltensky, I., & Prilleltensky, O. (2003). Towards a critical health psychology practice. Journal of Health Psychology, 8(2), 197 –210.

Weil, M. O. (1996). Community building: Building community practice. Social Work, 41(5), 481-499.


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