Psy 423. Community Psychology: Toward a General Theory of Sustainable Community Development


Fall 2008

4 Units

Stevenson 3042

Tuesdays 1:00-4:40


Instructor: Art Warmoth <>

Office: Stevenson 3093

Office Hours: Wednesday 2-3:30 & by appointment

Phone:  664-2689 (Use e-mail for messages & appointments)


Teaching Assistants:  Jillian Schlottman <>,

Josh Weddle <>


Catalog Course Description: Community structure and processes in relation to human needs.  Organizing community action, and the role of the individual in social change.  Theories and strategies of organizing, building alliances, and affecting social change.


Supplementary Course Description:  The global shift from an industrial to a service economy requires a fundamental re-visioning of political and economic theory and systems.  This course will examine these revolutionary implications, with particular emphasis on their impact on communities and human/social services.  The central thesis of the course is that healthy communities are essential as a countervailing balance to globalization The course will also function as a learning community laboratory.  Students will be expected to actively participate in study-support groups.  Core themes will be:


Part A.  The Epistemological Foundations of Community Life

·      Intersubjectivity

·      Human systems & human needs

·      Community culture & multicultural society


*Core Reading: E. F. Schumacher. (1977). A Guide for the Perplexed. New York: Harper Perennial.


Part B.  Sustainable Community Economics (Complementary Economics)

·      The functions of money

·      The economics of the commons

·      The “triple bottom line” & five forms of capital


*Core Reading: Mark Anielski. (2007) The Economics of Happiness. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers (especially chapters 5 and 9).


Part C.  The Politics of Healthy Communities

·      First steps: Setting the stage & strategic investing

·      Building on strengths & working together

·      Practicing democracy & growing leaders


*Core Reading: Suzanne Morse. (2004). Smart Communities: How Citizens and Local Leaders Can Use Strategic Thinking to Build a Brighter Future. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


*Core readings are available at North Light Books in Cotati


Part D.  Applied Community Psychology


    Assignment:  Contracted Community Action Research Project


Links to additional information:

Learning Objectives & Readings

Graded Assignments & Grading Criteria

Calendar of Assignments

Reaction Paper Cover Sheet

Psychology Department & University Policies:


Psychology Department Academic Honesty Policy:  The Psychology Department is committed to a code of values which honors academic and personal integrity, honesty, and ethical standards. In line with the Psychology Department’s mission, the Department provides a policy on academic honesty to guide students and faculty in their 
behavior. The Department's policy is based on the University's policy of academic honesty and integrity. See the full Policy at #honesty.


Academic Accommodations: If you have a disabling condition that may substantially limit your ability to participate in this class, please contact the Disability Student Services office in Salazar 1049, phone 664-2677, for confidential assistance and accommodation authorization.

Sonoma State University Policies:

Disaster Evacuation: If you are a student with a disability and you think you might require assistance evacuating a building in the event of a disaster, you should inform the instructor about what kind of assistance you may require. You and the instructor should discuss your specific needs and the kinds of precautions that should be made in advance of such an event (e.g. assigning a buddy to guide you down a stairway). We encourage you to take advantage of these preventative measures as son as possible and to contact the Disabled Student Services office if other classroom accommodations are needed.