Berry Street offers a Master Class of School Belonging.
Find out more about the Berry Street Education model below:
A searchable database of wise interventions. Psychologically “wise” interventions draw on the history and theoretical tradition of social psychology to address social problems and help people flourish. Their central feature is that they address what psychologists call “subjective construal”—or how people make sense of or interpret themselves, other people, or a social situation.
The Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley brings together researchers, organizers, stakeholders, communicators, and policymakers to identify and eliminate the barriers to an inclusive, just, and sustainable society in order to create transformative change. We are a diverse and vibrant hub generating work centered on realizing a world where all people belong, where belonging entails being respected at a level that includes the right to both contribute and make demands upon society and political and cultural institutions.
In the present moment, as we live through a global pandemic that is unprecedented in living memory, the topic of human connection and belonging could not be more apposite. Our current situation brings home the reality that we are all embedded in social systems that are much larger than ourselves. To sustain these systems, society dictates that we follow moral and legal codes that regulate how we behave as individuals within a wider collective world. We cannot all behave as if others do not exist, so it follows that there must be some form of understanding and cooperation that enables society to function without falling into irreparable chaos and conflict. In Western philosophy, these cooperative endeavours are frequently analysed in terms of the two ethical theories that Kant called ethical formalism and utilitarianism. The former relates having knowledge of what the good actually is to an appreciation of universal necessity. To put it briefly, one must understand that doing good is not a solitary individualistic pursuit but rather an activity that strives towards ends that are in the best of interests of humanity. Utilitarianism, on the other hand, is a form of consequentialism which holds that the end goal, the happiness of the greatest number of people, is more important than the process by which it is achieved. If the outcome can be regarded as being good, then, no matter the journey taken to get there, achieving it should be regarded as an encouraging and positive ethical outcome. The end, ultimately, justifies the means.
Although the importance of social relationships, cultural identity, and – especially for indigenous people – place have long been apparent in research across multiple disciplines (e.g., Baumeister & Leary, 1995; Cacioppo & Hawkley, 2003; Carter et al., 2018; Maslow, 1954; Rouchy, 2002; Vaillant, 2012), the year 2020 – with massive bushfires in Australia and elsewhere destroying ancient lands, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S., amongst other events – brought the importance of belonging to the forefront of public attention. Belonging can be defined as a subjective feeling that one is an integral part of their surrounding systems, including family, friends, school, work environments, communities, cultural groups, and physical places (Hagerty et al., 1992). Most people have a deep need to feel a sense of belonging, characterized as a positive but often fluid and ephemeral connection with other people, places, and/or experiences (Allen, 2020a).