Open Pages: Womanist and Mujerista Psychology

APA Books Open Pages is an ongoing series in which we share interesting tidbits from current & upcoming books. Find the full list by browsing the Open Pages tag. Here, we check out the introduction of Womanist and Mujerista Psychologies: Voices of Fire, Acts of Courage to find out what, briefly, these lesser-known terms mean:

“The term womanist was coined by Walker (1983): ‘a Black feminist or feminist of color committed to the survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female. Not a separatist, except periodically for health’ (p. xi). In other words, in addition to centralizing survival and wholeness of women and men, a womanist does not create a hierarchy between the rights against racism and sexism but sees both of these fights as necessary and central. Womanism is a sociopolitical framework that centralizes race, gender, class, and sexuality as central markers of women’s lived experiences (Brown-Douglas, 1993). It moves beyond the compartmentalizing of Black women’s experience as is often seen in feminism and multiculturalism and moves toward an integrated perspective and analysis.” (pp. 5-6).

“As a construct, mujerismo (from the Spanish word mujer, meaning woman) emerged when Latina feminist theologians baptized themselves as mujeristas (Isasi-Diaz, 1994). Mujerismo is Latina womanism (Comas-Diaz, 2008; Meija et al., 2013; Ojeda, 2014). Indeed, the conceptual and political translation of womanist into Spanish is mujerista…like womanists, mujeristas embrace an interdisciplinary perspective. They endorse inclusion as an essential ingredient for the movement’s continual development. In this way, diverse voices are not only welcomed but also sought after.” (pp. 7-8).

 

Bryant-Davis, T., & Comas-Diaz, L. (2016). Womanist and Mujerista Psychologies: Voices of Fire, Acts of Courage. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

What Is Lexical Uncertainty?

Timothy McAdooby Timothy McAdoo

“The usefulness of language derives in no small measure from the fact that it permits reference to a nonlinguistic world—to objects and events, to properties and relations, to all of the distinct phenomena of which perception informs us” (Lockhead & Pomerantz, 1991).

Psychology is a diverse, interdisciplinary field of research with a unique and rich vocabulary. In 2007, APA Books published the APA Dictionary of Psychology to help practitioners, researchers, students, and the public understand this science. (This dictionary, now in its second edition, includes almost 26,000 carefully vetted terms.)

The launch of the APA Books Blog provides a new opportunity to discuss and disseminate the lexicon of psychology, and thus we launch a regular feature—What Is… Wednesdays! Here, we will define and explore psychological terms, occasionally noting APA Books that interested readers may want to consult.

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So, what of lexical uncertainty? The APA Dictionary of Psychology offers two descriptions: (a) “In logic, the type of uncertainty that arises from inherent imprecision of human language, and in particular from the attempt to describe and evaluate real-world situations using imprecise and often subjective linguistic categories” and (b) “in psycholinguistics, any uncertainty about the meaning of particular words experienced by or observable in language users.”

For more about lexical uncertainty, On the Consequences of Meaning Selection: Perspectives on Resolving Lexical Ambiguity is a great place to begin. The research in this book sheds light on how we decipher and comprehend ambiguous words.

References

Gorfein, D. S. (Ed.). (2002). On the consequences of meaning selection: Perspectives on resolving lexical ambiguity. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pubs/books/4318997.aspx

Lockhead, G. L., & Pomerantz, J. R. (1991). The perception of structure. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pubs/books/4318101.aspx>

VandenBos, G. R. (Ed.). (2007). APA dictionary of psychology. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pubs/books/4311007.aspx

The first two titles above are available through the PsycBOOKS database. (Students: Note that your library may provide you free access. Check your library’s resources and consult your librarian if you need help!)