Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Rod Watts - Chair

Second Advisor

Gabriel Kuperminc

Third Advisor

Roger Bakeman


This study applies qualitative methodology to the study of sociopolitical development (SPD) among community and labor organizers of color. Participant data (open-ended applications) were obtained from a long-standing training institution, span 18 years (n=200), and equally represent Black, Latino/a, and Asian individuals. This study sought to reveal important dimensions of SPD and to identify contributing life experiences. Three SPD themes emerged: (1) social analysis, (2) commitment, and (3) empowerment. An organizer thus exhibits multidimensional insight into social injustice, commitment to taking action, and genuine belief in his/her individual and collective abilities. Four experiential domains contributed to participants’ SPD: (a) family, (b) social identity, (c) social injustice and (d) sociopolitical work. Each theme and domain is described in a multidimensional way. The relationships between life experiences and SPD themes are furthermore examined, and located within existing psychological research. Finally, implications of these findings for practitioners are discussed.


Included in

Psychology Commons