Enacted cultural critique: Examining everyday violence in Garo Hills

Urmitapa Dutta, Mark S. Aber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article is a critical ethnographic illustration of community psychology praxis as enacted cultural critique. Community psychology praxis involves cultural critique so as to challenge, subvert, resist, and transform disempowering cultural constructions. Although it is important to appreciate and attend to cultural norms, there are many contexts where existing norms serve to marginalize communities. Drawing from a youth participatory action research initiative in the Garo Hills region of Northeast India, we examine the implications of community psychology praxis as enacted cultural critique in the context of endemic ethnic conflict. Enacted cultural critique in such a context entails deliberate, self-conscious efforts to interpret or make sense of the existing cultural context and create new ones. This creative activity involves collectively imagining, saying, writing, sculpting, fashioning and/or building new ways of being in and understanding our shared world. Our approach is characterized by an explicit recognition of the political nature of cultural analysis, which represents a significant departure from traditional, apolitical understanding of culture. Using the lens of community psychology praxis also allows for a more agentive view of culture–one that acknowledges that individuals and communities (re)create and (re)write culture through practices of everyday life and social and political mobilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-31
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2017

Keywords

  • Enacted cultural critique
  • ethnic conflict
  • participatory action research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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