Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment – A Development Strategy to Liberate Everyone
Reviewed By: Deborah Jay-Lewin
Educating me to be accountable as a White, Jewish, Heterosexual Middle-Class able-bodied, healthy woman. – Deborah Jay-Lewin – Findhorn, Scotland
Author: Leticia Nieto
Language availability: English
Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment, by Leticia Nieto PsyD., and co-authors, brings a long-awaited breakthrough to the fields of liberation and cultural studies. Nieto offers a powerful analysis of the psychological dynamics of oppression and privilege, and shows readers how to develop the skills that can promote social justice for themselves and those around them. A key metaphor in Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment is the rank system. It can be used to analyze hidden and unconscious influences of oppression on people’s behavior. Resisting oppression requires that everyone – both those who benefit and those who are restricted by these social arrangements – become more aware in everyday interactions. This consciousness develops through a series of specific skills that can be identified and encouraged in oneself and in others. A unique feature of Nieto’s approach is the practical nature of the skills model, which allows anyone to identify what skills they are using and expand their range. This framework is of special interest to educators, therapists, organizational leaders, activists, and anyone who wants to live in a more equitable society. The book provides exercises and tools to help people learn to see and name specific skills in films, fiction, and their own lives. It also uncovers the ways that the rank system shapes our inner lives, influencing our relationships, feelings, and perceptions. This flexible model admits the ambiguities and challenges of real life. More down to earth than academic theory, the book includes personal stories from people of diverse backgrounds, as well as exercises, visualizations, and poetry. The book reflects insights from its roots in developmental psychology, theater, and liberatory pedagogy. The book developed through collaboration over the past decade among Garth Johnson, Liz Goodwin, Margot Boyer, and Laurel Collier Smith.