The Lewin Center
P.O. Box 1151
Bethel, Maine 04217
Copyright © 2013-2015
The Lewin Center.
All Rights Reserved.
About Kurt Lewin
“Kurt Lewin is universally recognized as the founder of modern social psychology. He pioneered the use of theory, using experimentation to test hypothesis. He placed an everlasting significance on an entire discipline--group dynamics and action research.” (www.muskingum.edu/~psych/psycweb/history/lewin.htm - compiled by Julie Greathouse, May 1997)
The Lewin Center honors this pioneer, who set up a workshop to conduct a 'change' experiment, which laid the foundations for what is now known as “sensitivity training.” In 1947, this led to the establishment of the National Training Laboratory in Bethel, Maine www.bethelmaine.org. Carl Rogers believed that sensitivity training is "perhaps the most significant social invention of this century."
Lewin was born in the village of Moglino in the Prussian province of Posen in 1890. He completed his requirements for a Ph.D. in 1914, at the outset of WWI. Two years later, in 1916, his degree from the University of Berlin was conferred. Lewin immigrated to the United States in 1933, where he became a citizen in 1940.
While at the University of Berlin, Lewin "found many of the department's courses in the grand tradition of Wundtian psychology irrelevant and dull" (Hothersall, 1995, p.239). His thinking was changing to emphasize social psychological problems. He is well known for his term "life space" and work on group dynamics, as well as t-groups. Lewin's commitment to applying psychology to the problems of society led to the development of the M.I.T. Research Center for Group Dynamics. "He wanted to reach beyond the mere description of group life and to investigate the conditions and forces which bring about change or resist it" (Marrow, 1969, p.178). Lewin believed in the field approach. For change to take place, the total situation has to be taken into account. If isolated facts are used, a misrepresented picture could develop.
Lewin authored over 80 articles and eight books on a wide range of issues in psychology. Although no prestigious university offered him an appointment, and the American Psychological Association never selected him for any assignment or appointed him to any committee of any significance, his everlasting presence has left him in the ranks of Sigmund Freud and B.F. Skinner.” (Greathouse)
The Lewin Center - committed to social change, action and research
– was created in 2006 to:
- further the legacy of Kurt Lewin pre-eminent social psychologist and founder of the field of group dynamics;
- build on the almost 60 years of pioneering work of the NTL Institute ;
- pursue activities in social change and social justice through action research and other research methodologies;
- partner with universities and other research institutes throughout the United States and eventually world-wide;
- collaborate with and develop scholar-practitioners in the social sciences to increase the application of the research to the social issues of today's world.
The Lewin Center is a place where people gather to engage in experiential learning, action research,social discourse, social change events and social justice issues on global, national and community levels for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life for all.
- Experiential and lifelong learning
- Action and participatory research
- Diversity and inclusion
- Community building
- Social justice
- Social action/social change.