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Liberating Theory

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Copyrights are required for book production in the United States. However, in our case, it is a disliked necessity. Thus, any properly footnoted quotation of up to 500 sequential words may be used without permission, so long as the total number of words quoted does not exceed 2,000. For longer quotations or for a greater number of total words, authors should write to South End Press for permission.
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... Whereas seeing intergroup relations as illegitimate and/or unstable may lead to group members forming cognitive alternatives, we suggest that cognitive alternatives about alternative intergroup relations (e.g., fairer, more equal etc) may be distinct from perceiving an alternative system. Unlike general cognitive alternatives, perceiving an alternative system means imagining a set of institutions and means of doing what is necessary for social life (Albert et al., 1986;Merton, 1957). ...
... Indeed, radical social theorists have suggested that it is the way (e.g., institutions) in which we accomplish the fulfilment of some of these human needs that leads to the group-based inequality and oppression that irk us (Albert, 2002a(Albert, , 2002bAlbert et al., 1986). We argue that a failure to take this functional aspect seriously leads to grave problems for those concerned with social equality. ...
... We suggest that in order to get any conceptual grip on the psychology of social change it is necessary to choose one. For work looking at how different (sub)systems of social hierarchy may reinforce one another see Albert, et al. (1986). For a more social identity-based approach to the complexity of multiple social identities/categorizations see Crisp and Hewstone (2007). ...
... To describe the Russian revolution as a change in policy seems to downplay the role of societal systems, and the institutions that make them up, in intergroup relations (Merton, 1957;Sidanius & Pratto, 1999). Indeed, if we assume that it is these societal systems (e.g., economic, political, kinship and cultural) that create and maintain intergroup inequality (Albert et al., 1986), it seems problematic to exclude such systems from our conceptualization of social change. However, Louis' definition leaves policy change benefiting a group as the only means of formal social change, with all other forms being informal. ...
... Here we refer to a system as a plurality of individuals and groups interacting in some social sphere that has a set of institutions and procedures regulating it. In this sense we may speak of the economic, political, kinship, and cultural systems each made up of concrete (corporations, government, marriage, organized religion) and more abstract (economic, political, family, and ethic/religious norms and values) institutions and relations (Albert et al., 1986;Merton, 1957;Parsons, 1951). Our typology suggests that perceptions of the social system as legitimate or illegitimate, and perceiving that alternative systems are possible, are likely to influence which social change goal is endorsed. ...
... Likewise, a lack of vision for the future and a sole fixation on the social ills of the present may also be an important reason for a lack of political action aimed at social change. Indeed, some radical thinkers have gone as far as suggesting that an exclusive emphasis on the horrors of social inequality and oppression, without an outline of a vision for the future, is the major reason for political apathy (Albert, 2002a, b;Albert et al., 1986). Furthermore, a focus on self-regulation may shed light on the problem of drop-out and sustained participation in social movements (Klandermans, 2003). ...
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To date, there is little in the way of theorizing or empirical work on the imagined endpoint of political action aimed at social change – the type of “dream” those engaged in action are attempting to bring into fruition. We suggest that previous approaches have focused narrowly on one type of social change – amelioration of collective grievances. In contrast, we argue that social change is much richer and imaginative than this narrow focus suggests. In the present article we draw on key constructs in social psychology (e.g., goals, efficacy, legitimacy, identity, social system, and social value) in order to develop a typology of social change goals. In doing so, we explain why people might support one type of social change (e.g., revolution) versus others (e.g., separatism or amelioration). The typology is used to discuss future directions for research and to highlight the implications for psychological (and broader) approaches to social change.
... In 1986, the anarchist-libertarian socialist collective, the South End Press, published an important book entitled Liberating Theory, which was edited by Michael Albert (1986). The book set out to explore intersectionality and how class, gender, race and other aspects of our identity, plus our positions in the societal hierarchies that constitute modern capitalism, interact and how activists can navigate this complexity and avoid the limitations inherent in privileging just one aspect of our identity/position over the others. ...
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The world is currently witnessing a revitalisation of the right and of authoritarian political tendencies. Right-wing forces across the globe have been able to push misogynist, homophobic and xenophobic discourses into the mainstream of politics and media. Whilst these developments have been fuelled by the neoliberal economic programmes unrolled since the 1970s, sexism and racism have always been anchored within the structures of real existing capitalism. This suggests, then, that many of the societal issues we are encountering today are rooted in structural disadvantage and oppression pertaining not only to economics and class but also to gender, race and ethnicity. Yet, approaches in Communication Studies and Cultural Studies have often engaged in separate interrogations of media misrepresentations in relation to either class and economics, or gender and/or race. On the other hand, intersectional scholarship has long highlighted how these societal spheres are interconnected and should thus be researched simultaneously. The Herman-Chomsky Propaganda Model constitutes the leading analytical tool to theorize and investigate media bias. The following contributions will conceptualize and illustrate how the PM relates to intersectional scholarship and societal structures. This will be done on the basis of theoretical elaborations and empirical case studies as well as broader discussions of the politics within the disciplines of Communications Studies and Cultural Studies. It will be demonstrated that the PM can be used to unveil interlocking media biases and misrepresentations deriving from parallel societal discriminations including classism, sexism and racism.
... King argued that scholars and activists alike too often rely on a "monist" approach, which obscures the experiences of individuals and groups who hold multiple minority statuses. Drawing on Albert et al. (1986), she described a monist approach as one that positioned a single inequality (e.g., race, class, or gender) as foundational to others, and that conceptualized systems of inequality as occurring independently (King 1988:51). King argued that attempts to isolate the separate contributions of racism, classism, and sexism to African American women's lives fundamentally misunderstood how systems of inequality operate and are experienced. ...
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Theories of intersectionality argue that individuals with multiple minority statuses often face mistreatment that stems from multiple, interlocking systems of inequality. King (1988) refers to this phenomenon as “multiple jeopardy,” and argues that those who experience multiple jeopardy often develop a “multiple consciousness” – an awareness of multiple systems of inequality working with and through one another. This study analyzes recent survey data to assess perceived multiple jeopardy and its relationship to multiple consciousness in the context of contemporary western Europe. Findings provide support for intersectionality, as individuals who hold multiple minority statuses are more likely than others to perceive having personally experienced multiple forms of discrimination, and are more likely to view multiple discrimination (discrimination based on multiple social statuses) as a widespread social phenomenon. Controlling for other factors, personal experiences with multiple forms of discrimination (“multiple jeopardy”) are associated with greater multiple consciousness. Personal experiences with discrimination based on a single dimension of inequality (“single jeopardy”) also facilitate multiple consciousness, however, though not to the same degree. The conclusion highlights the importance of intersectionality for future research and policy concerning discrimination.
... Although discursive scholars' perspectives favor the social and the communicative, the temporal and the evolving, and even the ethically infused and the morally infused, one cannot dismiss the individual and the analytical. As Albert et al. (1986) suggest, the goal here is that of holistic social theorizing, with intellectual schemes "specifically contoured to understanding an interconnected reality" (p. 15). ...
... I fully concur with Love's contention that since oppression is a product of socialization, it can be reversed. Love agrees with Freire, (1973);Woodson, (1933) and Albert et al (1986) Deciding what needs to be done and then seeing that action is done. ...
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Paulo Freire's ideas on education, conscientization and participatory development have assumed the status of external and universal truths which can be applied in any developing society. Though Freire's theory of dialogical communcation and action is based on group dialogue rather than the mass media, there is a sense in which this theory can apply to almost any aspect of human communication, in a truly participatory manner. Inspite of the attraction of participatory methodologies, their users are cautioned against uncritical application in all situations.
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This article explores some critical reflections engaged in as part of the earliest stages of applying for an international development project grant. Though most of the funding came from the North, which had the potential to reproduce typical North–South relations, both parties involved in the project agreed to predicate relationships on principles of equity in an attempt to decolonize relationships, or what could be seen as a sort of ‘un-doing’ of traditional colonial relations. Tensions emanating from within and among the teams at early meetings underscored the complexity of un-doing colonial relationships, as well as the way that colonial relations awkwardly but seamlessly intersect with gendered, classed and heteronormative individual and organizational relations. It also highlights the messiness and difficulty in transform(ing) hegemonic social conditions in a single international institution or project.
Excuse me, but there's one thing you've overlooked, Coho. Nat: (frowning) Who's that person? Radfem: (shrugging) Beat's me. Friend of yours, Sofie? Sofie: (curious) Never saw the person before
  • Cyn
Cyn: (a new voice from the corner of the room) Excuse me, but there's one thing you've overlooked, Coho. Nat: (frowning) Who's that person? Radfem: (shrugging) Beat's me. Friend of yours, Sofie? Sofie: (curious) Never saw the person before. Plury: (friendly) Let the person speak.
Nothing would please me more. Neopop: Just make it quick
  • Sofie
Sofie: Nothing would please me more. Neopop: Just make it quick.
No one regrets more than I having to say these things. My entire life has been wrapped up in social change. For years I've read, written, and organized in the area of international relations. I've seen radicals become fascists
  • Cyn
Cyn: (rising to stand near the window) No one regrets more than I having to say these things. My entire life has been wrapped up in social change. For years I've read, written, and organized in the area of international relations. I've seen radicals become fascists;
But the Chinese never created a humanist society, or even just a socialist economy
  • Coho
Coho: But the Chinese never created a humanist society, or even just a socialist economy. Cyn: But they tried.
The Russian revolution wasn't aimed at creating socialist economic relations or humanist relations in all four social spheres. It sought an authoritarian state, a coordinator economy, a homogenized community sphere, and a patriarchal kinship sphere. The leaders, at least, got what they sought
  • Coho
Coho: The Russian revolution wasn't aimed at creating socialist economic relations or humanist relations in all four social spheres. It sought an authoritarian state, a coordinator economy, a homogenized community sphere, and a patriarchal kinship sphere. The leaders, at least, got what they sought. So did the leaders in China.