Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures

Event Name/Location

2019 17th Biennial Meeting of the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA)

Event Location / Date(s)

Chicago, Illinois, USA / 2019-06-26 - 2019-06-29

Presentation Date


Document Type



The lives of members of immigrant communities are inevitably shaped by U.S. laws, rapidly-shifting immigration policy, institutional policies and practices (e.g., in schools), and how immigrants are welcomed (or not) by members of host communities (Portes & Rumbaut, 2001). These and other aspects of the context of reception have important implications for immigrant integration, education and employment, and mental health. Accordingly, there have been significant calls for psychologists to take active roles in advocacy and activism, which resonates deeply with many of us. Roundtable organizers are community psychologists working with immigrant communities and seeking to negotiate the tensions that can arise at the intersections of research, practice, advocacy and activism. For example: • APA’s Toolkit for Local Advocacy defines advocacy as sharing information within a system with the assumption that the information will help the system respond effectively; activism, on the other hand, is more likely to indict systems perceived as unjust, perhaps from the outside. How does one choose between--or balance--advocacy and activism? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each for trying to solve specific problems in different contexts? • How does one balance social science and research goals that presumably could provide valuable information in working with immigrant communities with advocacy and activism goals? Can we have one without the other, and if so, should we? • If we integrate these roles, do we run the risk of being perceived as less objective on one hand and less invested in communities (or complicit in injustice) on the other? • Is a theory of the problem sufficient for a theory of the solution? Is it possible to move from problems to solutions without the insight and influence that insiders can provide? Participants will share the (imperfect) ways they have balanced research, practice, advocacy and activism in their work.


All of the listed authors were chairs of this roundtable discussion.

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Psychology Commons