Practical applications of democracy

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Reviews the book, Practical applications of democracy by George B. de Huszar (1945). Although written primarily for the layman, this little book will interest social psychologists because it coincides with a current development in the social sciences. In the opening paragraph of his preface, Mr. Huszar states, “Democracy is something you do; not something you talk about. It is more than a form of government, or an attitude or opinion. It is participation.” Although not presented here, evidence which supports the theme of the book is accumulating from a variety of sources. The significance for psychologists of “Practical Applications of Democracy” would seem to be at least three-fold. First, the various deficiencies of the book are all related to problems needing more research. If small groups are such effective units of action, then certainly we need to know much more about the dynamics of such groups and about techniques of training effective democratic leaders. Secondly, perhaps the teaching of psychology should have something to do with the fulfilling of Mr. Huszar's implicit assumption that all members of problem-centered groups are equally ready for effective group experience. Has psychology yet reached the stage of development where we can teach for outcomes that improve the social living and the self-development of the students? There is an increasing number of psychologists who think so. Certainly any elementary psychology class can be a laboratory in human interrelations. Thirdly, perhaps some psychologists who read this book will organize problem-centered groups in their own communities (as well as in their professional societies and in their classrooms) and thus become democratic participants themselves. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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