Making sense of ourselves and others: A contribution to the community-diversity debate


In recent years, a debate has played out concerning the relationship between two of Community Psychology's core values: promoting diversity and promoting a sense of community. To elaborate on this dialectical relationship, we propose to inscribe it within the broader framework of the identity-otherness dynamics, which currently underpins a variety of disruptive socio-political processes across Europe (e.g., the decrease of solidarity in dealing with the refugee crisis, the spreading of eurosceptic attitudes, and the waves of xenophobia and populism). All these phenomena entail, either as a premise or as a consequence, the negation of otherness and diversity. Some theories in cultural and semiotic psychology suggest that a deeper understanding of the community-diversity dialectics would benefit from taking into account not only the traditional socio-cognitive processes, but also the symbolic and meaning-making processes that envelop the experience of self and the experience of otherness. This perspective would also help in developing community interventions that acknowledge both the need for belonging and identity, and the need for diversity.


DOI Code: 10.1285/i24212113v5i1p26

Keywords: community; diversity; culture


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