Advances in Applied Social Psychology - Vol. 1

Advances in Applied Social Psychology - Vol. 1

Advances in Applied Social Psychology - Vol. 1

Advances in Applied Social Psychology - Vol. 1

Excerpt

The purpose of this volume is to widen, stimulate, and inform the growing debate surrounding the application of social psychological knowledge. Over the past several years, social psychology has begun a migration from its laboratory base into new, practical settings and problem-solving roles. This movement has challenged practicing social psychologists to take a hard look at the utility and versatility of their concepts and methods and to grapple more openly with the complexity inherent in the real world. In some instances, social psychology has contributed directly to the delineation and improvement of social problems. But, it has been more often the case that knowledge of the kind social psychologists possess has not been used optimally, effectively, or at all. The present project is an attempt to examine some of these trends in applied social psychology and to address some of the persistent questions that accompany these attempts to make our work useful.

At the heart of this movement from theory-centered laboratory research to problem-centered field work is a conceptual shift. With a few exceptions (e.g., Deutsch & Hornstein, 1975), the discipline is bereft of work that speaks specifically and seriously to issues of application and conceptualizations about applications. When we speak of conceptualizations we are not restricting our discussion to theoretical thinking or theory building. One may conceptualize about many issues: about new roles, about the reorganization of research, about the problems inherent in conducting research in a political atmosphere, about the policy implications of research, or about how certain organizational structures operate to yield or suppress socially useful work. All of the writers in the present volume were asked to address conceptual issues in applied social psychology, and as the contents of the book attest . . .

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