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Becoming EcologicalAn Expedition Into Community Psychology$
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James G. Kelly

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195173796

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195173796.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 January 2022

Contexts and Community Leadership

Contexts and Community Leadership

Inquiry as an Ecological Expedition

(p.208) 12 Contexts and Community Leadership
Becoming Ecological

G. Kelly James

Oxford University Press

Ella Baker was, from the 1940s through the 1970s, an influential leader in the civil rights movement. During the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott of 1955–1956, she made some trenchant observations about leadership. Baker's appraisal is still a challenge to community organizations, community organizers, community foundations, and community psychologists who investigate the topic of community leadership. The psychological inquiries of white, well-educated males working in large corporations could benefit from Baker's observation that ordinary people are underutilized. Psychologists typically emphasize assessing individual traits of these formal leaders and do so with standardized questionnaires and surveys that are analyzed away from the actual settings where leadership is expressed. This type of research also has been carried out in a hierarchical relationship with the investigator as expert and the informant in a passive role. Therefore, the research literature on psychological studies of community leadership is not a major resource for guidance or hypotheses about understanding community leadership.

Keywords:   Ella Baker, leadership, community, civil rights, boycott, Alabama, large corporations

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