Author(s): Christens BD, Hanlin CE, Speer PW
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Abstract The ability of community researchers/practitioners to facilitate systems change is constrained by social power--particularly the capacity to shape ideology [S. Lukes (1974). Power: A radical view. Hampshire: MacMillan] and frequently power molds ideologies which undermine systems thinking. Following what Mills [C. W. Mills, (1959). The sociological imagination. New York: Oxford University Press] (termed the "sociological imagination", this article makes the case for a strategy of systems change that promotes an integrated focus on systems and their constituent individuals. Both of these components are understood to continuously shape each other. The social imagination is introduced as a way to conceptualize the intersection between individuals' conceptions of systems and the ways that systems work to form individual identities and perceptions of social reality. Examples of attempts at systems change from community organizing and public health are used to illustrate both common fallacies and potential future directions for systems change efforts.
This article was published in Am J Community Psychol
and referenced in Arts and Social Sciences Journal