© 2018

Power and Identity in the Struggle for Social Justice

Reflections on Community Psychology Practice


Part of the Community Psychology book series (COMPSY)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Sandy Lazarus
    Pages 1-14
  3. Sandy Lazarus
    Pages 15-45
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 129-133

About this book


This compelling example of auto-ethnography follows the journey of a psychologist pursuing her career in apartheid-era South Africa—and reappraising her work and her worldview in the post-apartheid years. The author describes her development of a human rights perspective, rooted in an understanding of power dynamics in contexts of oppression, privilege and inequality, as it evolved from theory to real-life practice in academia and the community. Key themes include embedding core principles of social justice, and of learning and teaching, in community practice and policy work, and maximizing community action and participation in participatory action research. And in addition to her recommendations for ethical practice and professional development, the author’s self-reflexive presentation models necessary steps for readers to take in building their own careers.

Among the topics covered:

  • Self-reflections on power relations in community practice.
  • Learning about the decolonial lens.
  • Empowerment as transformative practice.         
  • Policy work during post-apartheid years.
  • Developing teaching and learning theories and practices.

Power and Identity in the Struggle for Social Justice will act as both an interesting and a valuable resource for people working or planning to work with people in various community contexts. This includes psychologists who practice community psychology, social workers, and other community practitioners, particularly in social development, health, and education settings.


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Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Social and Health SciencesUniversity of South Africa (Unisa)PretoriaSouth Africa

About the authors

Sandy Lazarus is currently an independent contractor (senior specialist scientist) at the South African Medical Research Council/University of South Africa’s Violence, Injury and Peace Research Unit in Cape Town, as well as a professor at the University of the Western Cape, and an extraordinaire professor at the University of South Africa. Her professional experience and expertise lies in the area of community psychology, expressed primarily in the education and health sectors. She has worked primarily as an academic activist, researcher and teacher (with her professional registration as a research psychologist providing her primary scope), contributing to local, provincial, national and international contexts over approximately four decades of professional practice. These contributions have included national policy development and practice in education, with a particular focus on the development of an inclusive education system and education support services in South Africa; national policy development and practice in health promotion, and more specifically in the development of health promoting schools; research methodology, with a particular focus on the development of community engaged research through participatory action research approaches; and, more recently (over the last ten years), her work has focused on violence, violence prevention, and safety and peace promotion in South Africa.

Bibliographic information