From “Water boiling in a Peruvian town” to "Letting them die”: Culture, community intervention, and the metabolic balance between patience and zeal
Trickett, Edison J.
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The concept of culture has long been central to community psychology research and intervention. The purpose of this paper is to talk about the importance of interrogating the concept of culture for the development, implementation, and evaluation of community interventions. Following a brief discussion of the complexities of culture as a concept, two illustrative stories of failed community interventions are discussed as a means of highlighting the centrality of cultural and contextual understanding as prelude to community intervention. The paper concludes with a series of recommendations which, together, provide an ecological mind-set for taking culture seriously in community interventions. Central to this mind set are the importance of focusing on communities rather than programs and emphasizing the intervention goal of choice over change.