In brief , the followings are our main areas of interest:
a)Community building and participatory action-research
b) Intercultural dimensions i.e migrant issues;
c) Methodologies in Community Psychology
d) Gender issue, namely violence against women and family work balancing and
e) in collaboration with the Federico II Interdisciplinary Laboratory on
Happiness, will be on the deepening of dimension as equality, fairness, social justice, trust and reciprocity.
Key words :
participatory and cooperative action research, intercultural dialogue, local and community empowerment, community building, participatory urban planning, local and organizational empowerment, migrant perspective, QUAL QUANT, mixed methods, grounded theory.
a1) Community building and participatory action research
Community belonging, sense of community and community trust. A theoretical approach that Community Psychology offers is the psychological sense of community (Mc Millan Chavis 1986) which makes it possible to investigate the reciprocal relation between the inhabitants and the territory in the light of membership, fulfillment of needs, shared emotional connections, trust (McMillan 1996).
Most recent theoretical and methodological contributions have enlarged such an approach, giving particular attention to how social trust, belongings and identity work (Scabini, 2004; Fisher,2002; Arcidiacono,2006). Trust comes to be seen as a salient variable in local planning in terms of ones own life context, presupposing that what induces social action (Amerio, 2004) is not so much to be attributed to the affirmation of a sense of identity rather than to the fact that it constitutes an investment in society (Arcidiacono, Di Napoli 2005, Di Napoli 2005). A reading of intra and iter group dynamics on the one hand and social trust on the other, represent the premises to be able to construct shared social actions in a local context where different ethnic groups live.
In this hypothesis, trust is expression of an expectation, a state of mind organized through the experience, which exerts a directive and dynamic influence on the individual’s reaction towards their community.
the team research is studying how young citizens represent their territorial community, how they live their feeling of belonging towards past and future and what kind of positive expectations they feel towards their own community, and in particular how social action is supposed by young people in relation to their own community.Starting from this research, we built an Orientation towards social action scale (CAO), ( Di Napoli, Arcidiacono, Palumbo)under validation.
a2) Participation and community needs, representations and demand. Participation at a local level constitutes a strong point to initiate territorial-planning projects founded on communication between citizenship and local and central social authorities.
Following early action-researches conducted in historical centres, and in degraded urban and social areas participatory methodology as individual narrations and civic exhibitions, are used to gather information about how citizens see, decipher and interpret their environment: how they inhabit them and the interrelation between cognitive, emotive and relational aspects.
For these goals civic exhibitions are excellent narrative tools revealing links, relationships and identifications (See: Psychology loves Portacapuana project).
b) Intercultural Dialogue and social negotiation
Migrant and hosting community: prejudices and interactions
In Italy rising immigration (Istat – National Statistical Institute, 2005) constitutes both for citizens and for local Administrations a new challenge, which involves communities, associations and relational life. Studying strategies of cohabitation and processes of categorization as a result of the settling of “foreign” members and groups in ones native land provides a premise for the creation of tools and methods which favour shared actions to promote at a local level social inclusion.
Community psychology allows the analysis of the relationship between the individual and the local context, in order to promote better cohabitation. The psychological literature on inter-group relations (Sherif, 1966; Haslam, 2001; Brown, 2000; Dovidio Gaertner, 2005;Hewstone, Brown, 1986; Mummendey, Wenzel, 1999, Colic-Peisker, Walker 2003; Abrams, Hogg, Marques 2005) enables us to understand relations between ingroups and outgroups and to learn about how prejudices and stereotypes work between groups of different culture, origin and religion. In order to learn about the different identities and the intergroup relations within a multicultural society, the focus is on a system of classification and on its application in the interrelations between groups and the building of broader theories about the world that people share and elaborate (Chryssocoou 2000, p.344).
The study of social identity with reference to the acquisition of the Social Identity Theory (SIT) with regard to social classification, explains how multi-belonging (membership) and reciprocal multiple identifications are created and interact.
This last represents a fundamental result both for identifying initiatives apt in reducing or preventing new forms of individual and collective conflict in intergroup relations of an ethnic, racial or religious nature and to understanding the factors that favour such relations. The intergroup behaviour feels the effect of one another’ image, but also of the interaction among the salience of each actor, of the belongings and of the intergroup identity of each single person within each group (Worcel, Iuzzini,2000).
In particular from Brown (2000), Brewer (2000) Pettigrew (1998) and Haslam’s (2001) research, focusing the attention on processes of self-classification, on the salience of the group and on the action of the multi belongings of the subject and of the interdependence of the groups, it is possible to take indications for experience of contextual interaction aimed at local and community level.
Social identity, either as a lasting component or incidental to the concept of self (Turner 1982), is the result of the classification relative to individual characteristics, formed through the internalization of a social classification. It is a cognitive structure that mediates, given adequate circumstances, the relation between the environment and social behaviour (Brown 2000, Brown Zagefka 2005).
It seems that it is the classification itself ,which defines the peculiarities and specificities on which to form ones own identifying processes. Social identity is thus given by the interaction of many factors of which self-classification is the regulating process which is in charge of identification in a group and of self-respect in a group together with the commitment to the group. It is possible here to make one consideration: in an intervention with different social groups it is first of all necessary to know which elements and events contribute to the process of self-classification both from an individual and a micro social point of view and from that of relations with others. Hewstone, Brown (1986) through a model of mutual differentiation identify in the enhancement of the differences between groups, the possibility of productive cooperation which whilst keeping prominent the group’s sense of belonging, ensures its generalization.
It is all about the interweaving of multiple social identities which at the same interact together, overcoming limitations of tolerance (Amerio 1998, 2000) and the damage caused by reciprocal bullying.
In this way we might hope to understand the complex interaction between individual factors, the subject’s belonging to a group, the intragroup and intergroup dynamics, whilst bearing in mind that at the same time these four dimensions mentioned, interact reciprocally within the group and with external groups.
A relevant theoretical proposal has been made in the form of the Common Ingroup Identity Model (Gaertner, Dovidio, 2000, 2005), which claims it is possible to reduce conflicts between groups if, from the classification (Turner, 1987) which every group brings of itself and that of non-group members, a common and superordinate category is extracted enabling the identification of common elements and closeness between the groups considered.
In this perspective, the intention is to access individual perception of social aggregation: if subjects perceive it in terms of collections of individuals, they will be inclined to cater for their own needs as private citizens, if social aggregation is interpreted as two or more subgroups together, subjects will act in the interest of the group they belong to. Finally, if social aggregation is seen as a collective superordinate to individuals or groups, there will be more concern with the collective interest and less with the interest of the individual or of the group (Wit,Kerr,2002).
This research project, thus intends to identify classification systems that support the representation of the self and of others in terms of belongings or extraneousness in relation to contexts that imply different levels of sharing, participation and trust in order to promote forms of interconnection and planning involving the different cultures, simultaneously present in a given territorial community.
Lastly recognizing the reciprocal classifications enables us investigating the elements which are supposed to be the basis of pathways of integration and difference. In these pathways the feeling of collective identity favours the building of a system of rapports which are functional to the sharing of a common situation and to a common opportunity for change. (From Cofin project 2010) (See Arcidiacono, Procentese, GJCPP, 2010; Arcidiacono, Di Natale, Carbone, Procentese, JPIC,2015)
c) Community psychology methodology
Main competences are community profiling, context observations, S.W.O.T. analysis, fotodialogue and civic exhibitions, future labs, participatory action research and participated planning, qualitative research and grounded theory also within mixed methods designs, community building, mediation and social interactions. Participatory procedures in community building constitute its specific approach. Competences in bottom up research and intervention are its main peculiarity.
Key elements of its work are: Participatory action research, Community Building, Local and organizational empowerment, Sense of community and community identity, strategies for the development of community trust. Research competencies tackle the emerging of continuous social transformations that affect cities and human relationships in local and virtual contexts, using participatory approach; pursuits intercultural dialogue and interactions for community well-being at individual, relational and organizational level.
d) Gender, family, and LGBT issues
This very important area of research, which focuses on the themes of violence against women, family interactions, and family work balance,is carried forward in collaboration with the PhD in Gender Studies of the University of Naples Federico II(http://www.genderstudiesphd.unina.it; http://www.mgl.unina.it ), the Centro per le famiglie (Family Centre)of the Asl Napoli1Centro (Local Health Unit). This collaboration has led to the realisation of the following projects: W@W; VinonVi; Beldì (see projects).
Not to forget the editorial activity for La camera blu, International Journal on gender studies: www.camerablu.unina.it