Psychology from the Margins


With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and increased media coverage of systemic racism, the necessity to work toward liberation and collective healing has become increasingly salient. While psychology has prided itself on being ahistorical in the past, there is much that can be learned from scholars, activists, and movements that have fostered positive change. Ignacio Martín-Baró, Spanish-born Jesuit scholar, social psychologist, and founder of liberation psychology, worked toward significant positive social change and liberation prior to his death. In one of his last interviews, Martín-Baró outlined tasks that could be used to facilitate liberation: 1) recovering historical memory; 2) de-ideologizing everyday experience; 3) utilizing the people’s virtues; 4) working differently; and 5) examining how psychology supports the people and actively dismantles oppression. These five tasks, in tandem with Martín-Baró’s question “But if [psychology] contributes to alienation or maintaining control of the people, what is psychology for? People don’t need any such psychology,” outline how the field of psychology can look inward and consider what it means to resist oppression and work towards liberation and collective healing. This manuscript aims to examine how the five tasks outlined by Martín-Baró are currently being enacted and how the tasks can inform future work in the field of psychology.



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