Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Panel #260
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior Analysis and Progressive Social Action: The Legacy of the Past and Strategies for the Future
Sunday, May 25, 2014
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
W190b (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: CSE/TPC; Domain: Theory
CE Instructor: Robin Rumph, Ph.D.
Chair: Joseph E. Morrow (Applied Behavior Consultants, Inc.)
RICHARD F. RAKOS (Cleveland State University)
MARK A. MATTAINI (Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago)

The behavior analytic emphasis on environmental determinism makes the approach a natural bedfellow of progressive social action, as the source of social and cultural problems are located in the environment rather than in people. Eliminating these problems requires modification of the controlling external environment rather than modification of presumably defective people. Progressive change may therefore include counter-control skill training of people to alter the problematic environment. The panelists will present several brief prompts for discussion, including (a) the historical linkage between behavior analysis and progressive social action, beginning with Watson and then Skinner, the emergence of behavior modification in the 1960s, and up through the present, (b) current and immediately realistic opportunities for further behavioral systems analytic work in the areas of structural and collective violence, sustainability, environmental justice, and grassroots activism in the context of economic systems that favor large corporations, and (c) possible strategies for incorporating progressive social action into a behavior analytic career.

Keyword(s): Social action



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