Advances in Applied Social Psychology - Vol. 2

Advances in Applied Social Psychology - Vol. 2

Advances in Applied Social Psychology - Vol. 2

Advances in Applied Social Psychology - Vol. 2

Excerpt

This volume is the second in a series of volumes on applied social psychology. The contents of the contributions represent the richly diverse approaches and settings in which social psychology is being used. In preparing their chapters, the contributors were asked to focus on how social psychologists, as scientists and advocates, could contribute to the resolution of the debates that often surround important social problems. Each author was asked to place his or her attempts to use social psychological knowledge in the context of his or her own specific problem. If one consistent theme emerges from this collection, it is the emphasis on employing social psychology to enlighten and, understand decisions at the level of public policy. This book is a vital display of how existing literature and methods in the field can work to illuminate and inform issues of national and even international importance.

The first six chapters address specific areas of application: population control, health care, international relations, evacuations in emergencies, siting of nuclear power plants, and mental health policy. The final four chapters speak to broader issues of the present and potential role of social psychology in the public arena.

In the first chapter, Kurt Back addresses the problem of teenage pregnancy from the viewpoint of a sociologist involved in the ongoing value debate over this deeply personal issue. Back decries the individualistic approaches currently advocated by policy planners involved in birth-control efforts. Likewise, he chastises the research community of psychologists for avoiding the value issues that are part of any program aimed at population control. Professor Back argues that the scientific research that studies in-

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