In accordance with opinions and concerns expressed in formal and informal contacts with professors from several European universities (mainly French, but also Portuguese and British), we propose an open meeting to exchange viewpoints and assessments of current psychosocial models to understand behavior, and work collectively on possibilities and strategies for maintaining and further developing these perspectives.
Nowadays, the mainstream social psychology is mainly associated with the application of individual models and theories of psychology to social issues, and this is at the expense of substantially psychosocial theories and models. This process could be justified by the explanatory power of the models of the mainstream psychology, but we suspect it is not. Other factors are involved, which are completely outside the scope of ‘real’ knowledge and science, such as structural dynamics of the society (including universities), economics and political interest, to name but a few.
Beyond the debate, conflict or ‘fight’ (always asymmetric and unequal) between traditionally conflicting paradigms, also there is a constant contrast and (often) disqualification between paradigms that share some of the same concerns, or have close viewpoints.
As Prof. Frederic Munné has insisted throughout his large career analyzing and contributing to the ‘construction of social psychology as a theoretical science’, we must respect, work and / or take advantage of the wealth that is provided by the ‘Plurality Theory and Methodology’ – everywhere, but especially in social psychology.
The world is changing quickly (neoliberalism, Financialization of society, globalization, alter globalization, new technologies, sustainability, new protectionism,…) and it is unclear how social psychology fits there. In a ‘liquid’ (as Bauman used to says) and complex world, are we continuing to work on static and cumbersome structures and processes, looking for simplest causation relations? As scientists, are we rational or “rationalizing” (following Festinger)? Is the world going towards social cohesion and empowerment, or to ‘learned helplessness’ (forcing the contribution of Seligman)? Where is the person? Where is the community? How are we contributing –if we have to contribute -, to build new social values? What role do the mass media and ICTs play on that? What is behind the victory of Trump, the Brexit, different social movements of self-assertion (the “Arab spring”, the frustrated case of Greece, etc.), nationalisms of different kinds, the rejection of refugees, the use of corruption to judicialise the policy, the underlying struggle between multinationals and governments (democratic or not) to control society? Which is the image or the Social Representation of social psychology in this context?