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Galina Andreeva, A. Leontiev

Methodological Problems in the Study of the Psychological Aspects of Social Change

2018. Vol. 15. No. 4. P. 646–654 [issue contents]
The paper introduces the concept of social change in the context of social psychology. There are three levels of social change. (1). Radical transformations of the type of social relations and the economic formation through social revolutions. (2) System-level changes of specific domains of social practice such as education, mass communication, etc.. (3) Changes affecting vital activities of small groups or separate individuals. The psychological aspect of social change (especially of the two upper levels), is limited by the study of the individuals’ perception of these changes, which sets the limits of competence for psychology in studying macro changes. However, the third level of social change makes the field of both social and, incidentally, general psychology. The specifics of the psychological study of social change at different levels is associated with different layers of methodology ranging from a general philosophical basis to special methods of research; the contribution of different layers of methodology varies across the levels of social change. The issue of resistance to change also requires different treatment depending on the level of analysis. Also discussed are the possibilities and limitations of an experimental research strategy. Lack of recognition of a broader social context is stated as a weakness of contemporary social psychology that needs to be corrected. Focusing on changes would bring social psychology closer to life problems, because the human situation in general is always a social and a changing one. Facing the challenge of change, an individual is involved with an inner conversation or an inner struggle to adapt to the change while maintaining personal self-esteem.
Citation: Andreeva G., Leontiev A. (2018) Metodicheskie problemy issledovaniya psikhologicheskikh aspektov sotsial'nykh izmeneniy [Methodological Problems in the Study of the Psychological Aspects of Social Change]. Psychology. Journal of Higher School of Economics, vol. 15, no 4, pp. 646-654 (in Russian)
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