Navigating Diverse World-Views and Spiritual Pathways

  • Sandy Lazarus
Part of the Community Psychology book series (COMPSY)


In this chapter, I share my experiences as well as theories relating to knowledge work in community practice, and I focus on how I navigated different world-views and spiritual pathways in my search for guidance. I include some reflections on the ways in which specific perspectives grew in prominence and how my world-view impacted on my practice. I follow this with an in-depth engagement with the critical and liberatory perspectives that have guided much of my work. I conclude by describing the values and principles that inform my practice.


Philosophical world-views Scientific paradigms Spiritual pathways Critical perspectives Decolonial lenses Principles and values Community psychology practice 


  1. 1.
    Hahn, T. N. (2014). Peace of mind: Becoming fully present. London: Bantam Press.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lazarus, S. (1988). The role of the psychologist in South African society: In search of an appropriate community psychology. Doctoral dissertation, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.). (2018). The sage handbook of qualitative research (5th ed.). Los Angeles: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Evans, S. D., Duckett, P., Lawthom, R. Kivell, N. (2017). Positioning the critical in community psychology. In M. Bond, I. Serrano-Garcia, C. B. Keys, M. Shinn. APA handbook of community psychology: Vol. 1. Theoretical foundations, core concepts, and emerging challenges (pp. 107–128). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gaventa, J. (2003). Power after Lukes: An overview of theories of power since Lukes and their application to development. Retrieved from
  6. 6.
    Gergen, K. J. (1996). Social psychology as social construction: The emerging vision. In C. McGarty & A. Haslam (Eds.), The message of social psychology: Perspectives on mind in society. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Tebes, J. K. (2017). Foundations for a philosophy of science of community psychology. In M. Bond, I. Serrano-Garcia, & C. B. Keys, M. Shinn. APA handbook of community psychology: Vol. 2. Methods for community research and action for diverse groups and issues (pp. 21–40). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Pence, G. (2000). A dictionary of common philosophical terms. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2005). Paradigmatic controversies, contradictions, and emerging confluences. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The sage handbook of qualitative research (3rd ed., pp. 191–215). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bulhan, H. A. (2015). Stages of colonialism in Africa: From occupation of land to occupation of being. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 3(1), 239–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Connell, R. (2014). Using southern theory: Decolonizing social thought in theory, research and application. Planning Theory, 13(2), 210–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gordon, L. (2015). What Fanon said: A philosophical introduction to his life and thought. Johannesburg, South Africa: Wits University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Grosfoguel, R. (2011). Decolonizing post-colonial studies and paradigms of political-economy: Transmodernity, decolonial thinking, and global coloniality. Transmodernity, 1(1), 1–37.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Grosfoguel, R. (2013). The structure of knowledge in westernized universities: Epistemic racism/sexism and the four genocides/epistemicides of the long 16th century. Human Architecture, XI(1), 73–90.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Maldonado-Torres, N. (2007). On the coloniality of being: Contributions to the development of a concept. Cultural Studies, 21(2–3), 240–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Maldonado-Torres, N. (2011). Thinking through the decolonial turn: Post-continental interventions in theory, philosophy, and critique – An introduction. Transmodernity, Fall, 1–15.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S. J. (2015). Decoloniality as the future of Africa. History Compass, 13(10), 485–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Seedat, M., & Suffla, S. (2017). Community psychology and its (dis)contents, archival legacies and decolonisation. South African Journal of Psychology, 47(4), 421–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Donald, D., Lazarus, S., & Moolla, N. (2014). Educational psychology in social context (5th ed.). Cape Town, South Africa: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hawe, P. (2017). The contribution of social ecological thinking to community psychology: Origins, practice, and research. In M. Bond, I. Serrano-Garcia, & C. B. Keys, M. ShinnAPA handbook of community psychology: Vol. 1. Theoretical foundations, core concepts, and emerging challenges (pp. 87–106). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Montero, M., Sonn, C. C., Burton, M. (2017). Community psychology and liberation psychology: A creative synergy for an ethical and transformative praxis. In M. Bond, I. Serrano-Garcia, C. B. Keys, M. Shinn APA handbook of community psychology: Vol. 1. Theoretical foundations, core concepts, and emerging challenges (pp. 149–167). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Deloria, V. Jnr. (2003). God is red: A native view of religion. Colorado, Co: Fulcrum Publishing.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Duran, E. (2006). Healing the soul wound: Counseling with American Indians and other native peoples. New York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Duran, E., & Duran, B. (1995). Native American postcolonial psychology. New York: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Somé, M. D. (1998). The healing wisdom of Africa: Finding life purpose through nature, ritual, and community. New York: Penguin Putnam.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Health Promoting Schools Project. (2005). Different views of and strategies for health promotion: Working together to address barriers to learning and development in education. In Report on UWC’s health promoting schools project seminar and symposium programme, held at the University of the Western Cape, September. Bellville, South Africa: UWC.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hahn, T. N. (2015). Silence: The power of quite in a world full of noise. London: Penguin Random House.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Kornfield, J. (2008). The wise heart: Buddhist psychology for the west. London: Rider.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Lazarus, S., Cochrane, J., Taliep, N., Simmons, C., & Seedat, M. (2016). Identifying and mobilising factors that promote community peace. In M. Seedat, S. Suffla, & D. Christie (Eds.), Enlarging the scope of peace psychology (pp. 61–184). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Taliep, N., Simmons, C., Phillips, S., & van Niekerk, D. (2015). Manual for building bridges mentoring programme. Tygerberg, South Africa: South African Medical Research Council.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Dalai Lama. (2011). How to be compassionate: A handbook for creating inner peace and a happier world (J. Hopkins, Trans.). New York: Rider.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Boucher, S. (2015). She appears! Encounters with Kwan Yin, goddess of compassion. Albuquerque, NM: Goddess Ink.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    McGaughey, D. R., & Cochrane, J. R. (2017). The human spirit: Groundwork. Stellenbosch, South Africa: SUN Press.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Gobodo-Madikizela, P. (2014). Dare we hope? Cape Town, South Africa: Tafelberg.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandy Lazarus
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Social and Health SciencesUniversity of South Africa (Unisa)PretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)-Unisa ViolenceInjury and Peace Research UnitCape TownSouth Africa
  3. 3.Faculty of EducationUniversity of the Western CapeCape TownSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations