Christopher Sonn

Christopher Sonn
Victoria University Melbourne | VU · Institute of Health and Sport

PhD

About

133
Publications
84,924
Reads
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3,120
Citations
Citations since 2017
33 Research Items
1346 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150200
Introduction
Christopher Sonn currently works at the College of Health and Biomedicine, and Institute of Health and Sport, Victoria University Melbourne. Christopher does research in Social Psychology, Applied Psychology and Community Psychology.
Additional affiliations
January 2017 - February 2019
Victoria University Melbourne
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
March 2003 - present
Victoria University Melbourne
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
January 2003 - present
Victoria University Melbourne
Position
  • Chair

Publications

Publications (133)
Article
Full-text available
Objective Workers of the Australian entertainment industry exhibit disproportionately high rates of impaired psychological wellbeing and suicidal behaviors, with such rates being exacerbated by the negative impact of working long and odd hours (Work Scheduling Impact; WSI). Nonetheless, stable and secure social support networks may buffer the risks...
Preprint
BACKGROUND The demand for orthopaedic specialist consultation for patients with osteoarthritis (OA) in public hospitals is large and continues to grow. Lengthy wait times are increasingly affecting patients from low socioeconomic and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds who are more likely to rely on public health care. OBJECTI...
Article
Full-text available
Research has highlighted the importance of Indigenous knowledge and cultural practice in healing from ongoing histories of trauma, dispossession, and displacement for Indigenous peoples in Australia and elsewhere. Connection with culture, Country, and kinship has been identified as protective factors for Aboriginal social and emotional well-being a...
Article
Human connection and mutual exploration through engagements in the arts, in general, and music, more specifically, have been core features of community life in many settings for millennia. The importance of such modes of collective engagement has also gained renewed interest among psychologists. This article explores the use of arts-based practice...
Article
Full-text available
As we planned this special issue, the world was in the midst of a pandemic, one which brought into sharp focus many of the pre‐existing economic, social, and climate crises, as well as, trends of widening economic and social inequalities. The pandemic also brought to the forefront an epistemic crisis that continues to decentre certain knowledges wh...
Article
The status quo of many not-for-profit organisations is well-intentioned service provision often coupled with an absence of critical understanding sustained by the restricting nature of neoliberal bureaucracy and funding. In this context, programs aimed at assisting young people from marginalised communities can become mired in individualistic think...
Chapter
In this chapter, we explore how community arts practices contribute to the liberation and empowerment of individuals and groups with reference to our research with the Community Arts Network (CAN) and Noongar communities in Western Australia. Specifically, we focus on community arts and cultural development (CACD) and how it was utilised in support...
Preprint
BACKGROUND The unprecedented changes and isolation measures to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have had multiple psychological and social impacts, with implications for professional and personal functioning. Evidence-informed interventions that can be rapidly implemented under pandemic conditions to support mental health during such time...
Article
Full-text available
Background: The unprecedented changes and isolation measures to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have had multiple psychological and social impacts, with implications for professional and personal functioning. Evidence-informed interventions that can be rapidly implemented under pandemic conditions to support mental health during such ti...
Article
This study investigated how a local disability organization in Yogyakarta Province, Indonesia, has functioned as an empowering setting for its members. This article discusses, in particular, the context specific features that have enabled members of this organization to resist the pervasive stigmatization commonly imposed upon people with disabilit...
Chapter
The ideology of race has been central to Australia’s formation as a nation, and race and whiteness continues to shape the everyday lives of differently positioned migrant, Indigenous and settler people and communities. This chapter draws on participatory research with community-based arts agencies who accompany various groups who are negotiating id...
Chapter
The current chapter provides a context for this volume that sets out to critically interrogate the biases in Western modernist thought concerning community and related applied psychologies. A specific focus is to illuminate and consolidate current ontological and epistemic alternatives that contribute to the possibilities of emancipatory futures in...
Article
Recent psychology scholarship has engaged topics of decoloniality, from conferences to journal publications to edited volumes. These efforts are examples of the decolonial turn, a paradigm shift oriented to interrupting the colonial legacies of power, knowledge, and being. As critical community psychologists, we contend that decoloniality/decoloniz...
Book
This book examines the ways in which decolonial theory has gained traction and influenced knowledge production, praxis and epistemic justice in various contemporary iterations of community psychology across the globe. With a notable Southern focus (although not exclusively so), the volume critically interrogates the biases in Western modernist thou...
Article
Full-text available
Performative counter‐storytelling can be a powerful experience for both the artists who create these stories and the audiences who witness them. This study examined audience responses to a counter‐narrative (entitled “AMKA”) performed by Africans in Australia which intended to present more complex, holistic, and strengths‐based representations of t...
Article
Psychology is awash with different understandings and enactments of relations between theory and action. This article explores coverage in Theory & Psychology of such relations from the perspective of four community psychologists who are seeking insights into how to further integrate our theory, research, practice, and teaching activities. We first...
Article
Sound portraiture blends audio-documentary techniques and qualitative arts-based and narrative methods, privileging participants’ voices and conveying the complexity of their stories through the layering of sound. We created sound portraits that negotiated the multiple and often conflicting voices, histories and subject positions for South African...
Book
Full-text available
This ground-breaking and innovative textbook offers a uniquely global approach to the study of social psychology. Inclusive and outward-looking, the authors consciously re-orientate the discipline of social psychology, promoting a collectivist approach. Each chapter begins with an illustrative scenario based on everyday events, from visiting a loca...
Article
Full-text available
Community psychology can contribute to healing and cultural renewal for indigenous communities. Storytelling through community arts practice is used to witness Elder stories. Narrative inquiry shows the ongoing effects of colonisation and coloniality. Narrative inquiry shows the various ways people resist and survive oppression. Decolonial approach...
Article
Despite recent research interest in migrant psychology, little attention has been paid to the emotional reactions of guilt and shame resulting from migrants' decisions to leave their homeland. Universalist theories have yielded to an understanding of emotions as culturally contextualized and interpersonally constituted phenomena. For reasons associ...
Article
This qualitative study examines how young people of Moroccan descent in Italy construct their social identities and make sense of acculturation experiences. Twenty nine Moroccan young people, fourteen males and fifteen females (16–23 years old) took part in five focus groups. Thematic analyses of data indicated that participants have to navigate di...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, five Black researchers bring their insights into conversation about meanings of blackness in contemporary Australia, Jamaica, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. We critically interrogate blackness transnationally and also within the historical contexts of our work and lived experiences. Situated wit...
Article
This article explores critical directions for forging new disciplinary traditions within community psychology, as discussed by a panel at the conclusion of the 6th International Conference on Community Psychology (ICCP 2016). The conference itself was constructed as an enactment of a decolonizing approach, looking at the entire globalized system fr...
Chapter
In this chapter, we examine community arts and cultural development (CACD) as a method for working with Aboriginal communities to begin to respond to issues that stem from social suffering produced by conditions of oppression. We outline the theoretical underpinnings of CACD, locating its roots in the liberation paradigm. We emphasise the importanc...
Article
Já se passaram mais de 20 anos desde que o regime do apartheid foi extinto; porém, para quem viveu na África do Sul dos tempos do apartheid a racialização ainda é um elemento central de sua subjetividade, tanto dentro quanto fora do país. Para a diáspora sul-africana na Austrália há processos psicossociais, arranjos socioestruturais e sistemas de s...
Article
This paper tells the ‘back story’ to the development of a local soccer hub, which focuses on the experiences of a predominantly South Sudanese team called the Western Tigers. We use a counter-story telling approach anchored in critical race theory, to develop a composite story that brings together biographical and autobiographical accounts gathered...
Article
Contemporary anti-Islamic discourses in Australia construct Islam as an uncivilised belief system and its Muslim followers as homogenous unassimilable Others. Within these discourses, the diversity among Muslim women has been overshadowed, and they are constructed as a monolithic ‘veiled’ woman. Drawing on 20 conversational interviews with veiled a...
Article
In this article, we explore through analyses of interviews the meanings and experiences of everyday multiculturalism in a suburb in Melbourne, Australia. The people we interviewed valued and experienced diversity in different, yet interrelated ways: as an experience of multiculturalism, as providing comfort in diversity and as embodied in ethnic hu...
Article
In this paper, I offer reflections as someone from outside the United States about the Swampscott conference. I refer to Fryer and Fox's (The Community Psychologist, 24, 2014, 1) critique of the "Swampscott discourse" and its role in fixing the birthplace of community psychology. While the critique is important, I note the growing references to int...
Chapter
In this chapter we examine community theatre as an example of arts practice that has gained significant interest as a form of social action in various social and health science disciplines. Community theatre is an umbrella term for forms of participatory theatre such as forum and playback theatre, which have the broad goal of challenging forms of s...
Article
Arts and cultural practice are gaining attention in numerous disciplines and sectors as a vehicle for community building, and to promote wellbeing and social change. In this article we overview the links between community and liberation psychologies, community arts, and public pedagogy. We put forward the notion of community pedagogies to capture w...
Article
Community Arts and Cultural Development (CACD) is a form of public pedagogy that seeks to intervene into the reproduction of meaning in public spaces. In this article, we explore the Bush Babies and Elders portrait project that sought to contribute to the empowerment of Aboriginal participants through counter-storytelling. Drawing on interview and...
Article
This article describes two participatory theater projects undertaken by Western Edge Youth Arts in Melbourne and aimed at challenging racialization and fostering belonging among culturally diverse young people. Drawing from interview and archival data, we suggest that participatory theater provided the young people the opportunity to share and refl...
Article
Although migration continues to be a key feature of globalization, an interesting phenomenon is the postdemocracy emigration of many South Africans to countries like Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. This study explores Black and White South African participants’ experiences of migration to Australia and its implications for identity disruption,...
Article
The population in rural areas of Australia has been declining for many decades and it has become common practice to blame this decline on the migration of young people due to structural limitations (e.g. education and employment). This study explores factors associated with migration of youth from rural Victoria looking at their experience of place...
Article
Sense of community (SOC) can be an important concept in relation to cultural and social changes affecting Western societies because of immigration. The focus of this article is on community, immigration, and contexts of multiculture as the starting point to analyze changes and their consequences in everyday lives. Interviews were conducted with 15...
Article
Community arts and cultural development is a process that builds on and responds to the aspirations and needs of communities through creative means. It is participatory and inclusive, and uses multiple modes of representation to produce local knowledge. 'Voices' used photography and photo elicitation as the medium for exploring and expressing sense...
Article
From 2010 to 2012 a diverse group of young people participated in an oral history theatre project, Chronicles, which aimed to support them to claim a personally meaningful Australian identity. Oral history theatre was used to facilitate a process whereby the young people were able to reconnect with their personal family histories, encounter Aborigi...
Conference Paper
Footscray is an ethnically diverse and rapidly transforming suburb in Melbourne’s inner West, formed in part by overlapping waves of migrants. The Vietnamese diaspora, and more recently migrants from African countries, influence the contemporary mix of people. Migrants’ engagements with more than one society and in various forms of transnational ne...
Article
The relative absence of Indigenous and multicultural perspectives in core undergraduate psychology curriculum is said to hamper the preparation of students for engaging with culturally diverse communities. An intercultural unit that includes perspectives on Australia's history of race relations, Indigenous issues, and migration as the basis from wh...
Article
A growing number of writers in community psychology have called for re-claiming the radical impetus that inspired the development of the field. In this article we describe a program of work facilitated by a community cultural development agency that uses community arts practice to create, promote and improve opportunities for participation, network...
Article
Full-text available
Identity formation and negotiation is a key contributor to the health and wellbeing of men and much is still to be learnt about how identity processes operate in everyday life. This study used an ethno-discursive methodology informed by critical discursive psychology to investigate adult male identity in an everyday gym setting in inner city Melbou...
Article
Globalization influences the everyday life of people and events throughout the world. This article examines the interaction of global–local effects on the constructs and practices of peace through narratives of youth peace-builders in postconflict, postcolonial Laos. We explored the hybrid “understanding” and “doing” of peace through the stories of...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter discusses some of the complex issues surrounding the notion of cultural competence—and the critical need for practitioners to develop knowledge, skills, understandings and attributes to be responsive in diverse cultural settings. The argument for culturally competent mental health practitioners and services is situated within a human r...
Article
Existing literature suggests that successful ageing is linked to a sense of community (SOC) that is developed through shared daily practices. For migrant groups, SOC can extend across home and receiving countries. In order to understand the issue of successful ageing in place and multiple SOCs among older Chinese migrants, this paper investigated 3...
Article
Full-text available
Against the background of evidence for links between ill-health and prejudice, in this article we discuss how to promote inclusive communities in contexts of diversity. A brief critical overview of dominant psychological approaches to prejudice reduction reveals the apolitical nature of these approaches, and thus, we argue for a more contextual and...
Article
Processes of racialisation and patterns of privilege continue to structure relations between Aboriginal and non-Indigenous Australia. This study explored the everyday ways race is reinscribed and unequal relations of power expressed, constituted and legitimised in a context marked by a history of oppressive colonisation. Conceptualising barriers to...
Article
Race remains a significant issue in the lives of many people in Australia. For example, Indigenous Australians lives continue to be marked by social and economic disadvantage and everyday experiences of exclusion. Within this context, the Community Arts Network Western Australia promote social change and the empowerment of Indigenous groups through...
Chapter
The Apartheid Archive Project seeks to expand the archive by inserting everyday stories into the public record, thereby allowing for the reconstruction of historical memory, voicing silenced stories and recognising experiences of excluded communities. Stevens, Duncan and Sonn (in this volume) note that personal memories are the primary raw data wit...
Chapter
The psychology of oppression and liberation is concerned with the dynamics of oppression and examining and transforming ideological notions such as race, class, gender and culture in processes of identity and community-making in colonial and post-colonial contexts (Burton & Kagan, 2005; Fanon, 1967; Grosfoguel & Georas, 2000; Moane, 2003; Montero,...
Chapter
Nineteen years ago the world witnessed the official demise of apartheid — one of the most inhumane and widely condemned forms of institutionalised racism. Today, many South Africans have life experiences that straddle this historical divide. Close to 60 per cent of South Africa’s current population lived for a significant period of their childhood...
Article
In Australia we have been engaged in community research with different groups who have been marginalised or excluded on the basis of race or ethnicity. To date, little research has been undertaken on the role of creative arts programs for refugee background young people. This article will describe a research project exploring how arts-based interve...
Chapter
In this chapter, we argue that community, liberation and peace psychology and the psychology of oppression share a common concern with issues of social exclusion, social inequality and peacebuilding. This shared concern is reflected in a commitment to developing theories and modes of practice that can address problems of structural violence and tha...
Article
This article provides an introduction to and outlines the rationale for the focus of this special issue, Of Narratives and Nostalgia. It therefore provides a broad description of the Apartheid Archive Project, which had served as the platform for the development of all the articles contained in this special issue. Additionally, it sketches the broa...
Article
The Apartheid Archive Project (AAP) is an exemplar of an interdisciplinary project that seeks to contribute through critical scholarship to broader processes of social transformation including the recovery of historical memory via the collection of narratives of experiences of racism during apartheid. In this article I draw on formal stories submit...
Article
In Australia, community art has drawn significant research attention in regard to its potential as a community development strategy. Despite the fact that researchers have presented evidence for the positive developmental outcomes of participation in community art projects, a gap remains in understanding how and why people's participation in a comm...
Article
There is a growing recognition of the importance of storytelling and autobiographical work in critical approaches to social inquiry. This approach is central to liberation psychology that emphasises the importance of deconstructing ideologies of race as part of the process of empowerment. In this article I draw on this approach to discuss themes th...
Article
Since its inception, community psychology has been interested in cultural matters relating to issues of diversity and marginalization. However, the field has tended to understand culture as static social markers or as the background for understanding group differences. In this article the authors contend that culture is inseparable from who we are...
Article
Participation is often espoused as a strategy to promote inclusion, social justice and equality. Exactly how to facilitate participation in practice is often not explicated, nor are the challenges or issues highlighted. By drawing on interview data, the first aim of this paper is to identify the key barriers to participation in an organizational pl...
Article
This article explores how Cypriot Turkish people in Australia construct their multi-hyphenated identity and the implications this has for their sense of belonging. Ethnic identity is conceptualized as a set of social and cultural understandings, shaped by historical processes, positions of power and patterns of privilege, which people draw on to un...
Article
Sense of Community (SoC) is a key theoretical construct in community psychology. This study validated a SoC scale for adolescents (SoC-A) in Italy. The scale comprises 20 items and five components: satisfaction of needs and opportunities for involvement; support and emotional connection with peers; support and emotional connection in the community;...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter explores what is involved in being a professional practitioner working in the area of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health. It does this with regard to the principles, standards and practice frameworks that contribute to the capacity and empowerment of mental health practitioners and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander...
Book
Full-text available
From the publisher's website: Offering a fresh, innovative approach, this international textbook encourages students to consider how social psychology can inform their understanding of the social world around them. Illustrative scenarios based on realistic everyday events, from shopping in a supermarket to taking a taxi, highlight just how relevant...
Article
This article explores the socio-political imperative and psychosocial value of re-engaging and expanding the apartheid archive in contemporary South Africa. It suggests that this archive's entanglement with de facto official histories of South Africa has resulted in certain elisions about the historical content of this archive, but also compromises...
Book
Since the mid-1980s, the psychology of liberation movement has been a catalyst for collective and individual change in communities throughout Latin America, and beyond; and recent political developments are making its powerful, transformative ideas more relevant than ever before. Psychology of Liberation: Theory and Applications updates the activis...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper I explore some of the issues associated with teaching about race, culture and ethnicity in a psychology program. These curriculum initiatives are part of a broader agenda of raising awareness about racialised oppression and exclusion and contributing to the development of ways of researching and practising psychology that are transfor...
Article
In this commentary, the authors review and critique Prilleltensky's model of psychopolitical validity and wellness. Although the overt recognition of power, oppression, and political forces are viewed most favorably, cautions are also given. Of most importance is the way in which his model is based in an undeclared North American model of psycholog...
Article
Full-text available
Behaviour settings such as work, family, church and community are primary settings in which we participate, they provide us with meaningful roles, relationships, and social identities. In fact, these are settings that provide us with a sense of community (SOC). SOC has been heralded as the guiding value for community research and action. It reflect...
Article
We welcome the responses offered by Ratele (2007), Stevens (2007), and Steyn (2007) to our article reviewing whiteness. The commentaries provide a more nuanced and sensitive analysis of whiteness, particularly in relation to the history and context of South Africa. While whiteness studies is most certainly not the only, or even the most important,...
Article
This article is a review of the concept of whiteness and how the power and privilege of whiteness is reproduced within societies such as Australia and South Africa. As well as providing a broad overview of whiteness, our aim is to highlight and establish dialogue about how research on whiteness may contribute to decolonisation and work towards soci...
Article
Full-text available
Much of the training of psychologists in the western world follows a logical positivist, scientist-practitioner model based in scientific objectivity and removed from politics. In this paper, we explore issues around alternative understandings of the role and place of psychologists and psychological actions. In so doing, we discuss a number of issu...
Article
While power underpins so much of community psychology, it is not usually the focus of research or practice. Even empowerment approaches lack clear definition of the power against which they are operating. This article introduces a model developed at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University, to understand various power dimensions and levels at which i...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Sense of community is a concept that has considerable currency within a vast range of disciplines and practices. It serves as a criterion for the assessment of social capitol; the generation of social policies; the development of social and geographical communities; and the evaluation of community capacity building. Community psychologists...
Article
This article investigates how unacknowledged power can affect the political actions of those in the dominant group, in this case white Australians. To do this we identify connections between the discourses used by white Australians involved in Reconciliation, the power and privilege of whiteness in Australia, and participants' understandings and ac...
Article
In this special issue we focus on exploring the tensions, challenges and possibilities for working in contexts where relationships between groups are characterized by dominance and resistance. Some of the impetus lies in our own struggles and frustrations with models, guidelines and ‘recipes’ that have been developed to guide sensitive, competent a...
Article
The aim of this paper is to explore how examining discourses of whiteness can contribute to an anti-racism that does not simply reduce racism to problems located with the ‘other’ or focus on the benefits of anti-racism for the dominant group. We discuss how by examining discursive negotiations at the micro level we are able to critique dominance an...

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