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Playing procrustes: The interactional production of a "psychological sense of community"

Rapley, M. and Pretty, G.M.H. (1999) Playing procrustes: The interactional production of a "psychological sense of community". Journal of Community Psychology, 27 (6). pp. 695-713.

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The notion of “sense of community” is central to community psychology's conceptual framework. It has been described as the discipline's “overarching value” (Sarason, 1974). Allied to the notion of “sense of community” are other constructsempowerment, representation, solidaritywhich map the empirical concerns of community psychology. Together, these notions make important rhetorical claims about the modus operandi of community psychology in both research and practice. This article first seeks to illuminate some of the tensions between the rhetorical and ideological commitments of the discipline, and the primarily quantitative research methodologies it has traditionally employed. Second, a conversation analysis of the employment of a qualitatively inspired methodologythe semi-structured interviewin researching “sense of community” suggests that the uncautious embrace of a qualitative paradigm, as an approach more rhetorically congruent with the values of the discipline, may entail as many problems as it resolves.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc
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