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Writings for a Liberation Psychology

Writings for a Liberation Psychology

Ignacio Martín-Baró

Edited by Adrianne Aron and Shawn Corne

ISBN 9780674962477

Publication date: 09/01/1996

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“In your country,” Ignacio Martín-Baró remarked to a North American colleague, “it’s publish or perish. In ours, it’s publish and perish.” In November 1989 a Salvadoran death squad extinguished his eloquent voice, raised so often and so passionately against oppression in his adopted country. A Spanish-born Jesuit priest trained in psychology at the University of Chicago, Martín-Baró devoted much of his career to making psychology speak to the community as well as to the individual. This collection of his writings, the first in English translation, clarifies Martín-Baró’s importance in Latin American psychology and reveals a major force in the field of social theory.

Gathering essays from an array of professional journals, this volume introduces readers to the questions and concerns that shaped Martín-Baró’s thinking over several decades: the psychological dimensions of political repression, the impact of violence and trauma on child development and mental health, the use of psychology for political ends, religion as a tool of ideology, and defining the “real” and the “normal” under conditions of state-sponsored violence and oppression, among others. Though grounded in the harsh realities of civil conflict in Central America, these essays have broad relevance in a world where political and social turmoil determines the conditions of daily life for so many. In them we encounter Martín-Baró’s humane, impassioned voice, reaffirming the essential connections among mental health, human rights, and the struggle against injustice. His analysis of contemporary social problems, and of the failure of the social sciences to address those problems, permits us to understand not only the substance of his contribution to social thought but also his lifelong commitment to the campesinos of El Salvador.

Praise

  • These essays touch on religion as a tool of ideology, the meaning of work and the way in which reality becomes fragmented in a politically repressed society… Those who worked to bring forth these essays have added a measure of justice to his life.

    —Richard Higgins, Boston Globe

Authors

  • Adrianne Aron is a member of the Committee for Health Rights in Central America.
  • Shawn Corne is a member of the Committee for Health Rights in Central America.
  • Elliot G. Mishler is Professor of Social Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Book Details

  • 256 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press
  • Foreword by Elliot G. Mishler

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