Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology - Early View Articles, Pages ${blockparams.parentJournalIssue.pageRange}

Building reciprocity: From safety‐net to social transformation programmes

Abstract Topics of societal concern such as mental health and poverty reduction increasingly require action programmes that operate within broad psychosocial and social justice perspectives. Models of practice centred in individual needs, although important, are not powerful enough to bring about social change when they operate in isolation. In this article, we present the findings resulting from the observation of programmes engaged in collaborating with socio‐economically disadvantaged individuals, families, and communities. The programmes selected for study were nationally or internationally recognized for the quality and innovation of their methodologies or for having been subjected to scientific attention; some met both criteria. Altogether, 15 programmes were visited, in North and South America and Europe. Through a grounded theory methodology, the processes of data collection and analysis led to the development of a theoretical framework that identifies a continuum of programmes aimed at supporting the development of individuals, families, and communities and that has at its core the central process of building reciprocity. This article presents and describes the continuum of programmes and how each type relates to the process of building reciprocity and establishes links with other relevant and significant concepts in the framework. Finally, implications for further research are explored.

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