Paula Castro Social Psychology Department

Download 536 b.
Hajmi536 b.

Social Representations Theory contributions for the study of the environmental ideas of the public

  • Paula Castro

  • Social Psychology Department


  • Lisbon

Late ‘70s: emergence of a field of studies

  • Analysing - “environmental concern”, “environmental ideas of the public”, “environmental beliefs and attitudes”, "environmental cognition", now also a part of the “environmental psychology of sustainable development” (Bonnes & Bonaito, 2002).

  • literature - “two major streams (Dietz, Stern & Guagnano, 1999, pg. 451):

  • studies focused on sociodemographic factors

  • studies of values, beliefs and other social psychological constructs”.

  • a multidisciplinary field - sociology, anthropology, political science,

  • and of course psychology and social psychology.

  • a field where research largely relies upon concepts such as beliefs, attitudes, representations, values, norms, worldviews or rationalities

  • BUT social Psychology could be more visible

Objectives of the presentation

    • To Identify some lacunae in the field
    • To defend that social psychology - namely through Social Representations Theory - can help researchers deal with the lacunae identified.

Social Representations Theory

  • dynamics of the circulation of beliefs through conversation and communication and of their articulation in representations

  • dynamics of the formation and change of representations,

  • the dialectics between new and old ideas (Moscovici, 1984; Castro, 2002a).

  • to devise analytical tools for understanding beliefs and representations on the making, as their circulation puts them at the disposal of individuals and groups

Lack of conceptual integration 1. contrasting definitions for the same concepts

Lack of conceptual integration How can SRT Help?

  • social representations since the beginning conceptualised as comprising both actions, beliefs and attitudes,

  • Attitudes - defined as global evaluations towards an object (Moscovici, 1961/1976, ps. 66 and 69).

  • SRT has motivated a number of reflections about the status of these concepts, and an heritage of reflections has accumulated (see Jaspars & Fraser, 1984; Doise, 1989; Billig, 1993; Gaskell, 2001; Jodelet, 2002).

  • These converge in 3 main ideas:

  • 1- social representations as a concept more inclusive then attitudes or beliefs.

  • 2- SR conceived as capable of responding to the context and the positioning of the person speaking,

  • 3- and thus of accommodating the work of the individuals and groups when these, by passing SR along in conversations and interactions, actively transform and enrich (or impoverish) them.

Lack of conceptual integration implications from SRT

  • to avoid treating attitudes and beliefs as equivalent concepts,

  • to go beyond the study of beliefs and attitudes - the structure of their organisation in a constellation that we can call a social representation also has to be examined (Doise, Clemence & Cioldi, 1993).

  • with the theory, the human capacity for conciliating seemingly contradictory beliefs in a Representation has to be considered

  • ex: Moscovici, 1961, Gervais & Jovchelovitch 1998, Wagner et al, 2002

  • Castro & Lima (2001) - used the NEP scale in Portugal, but instead of assuming – with the HEP-NEP Model - that each individual had to answer either in the ecological or in the anthropocentric direction, considering these as mutually exclusive, assumed that all four combinations were possible.

Lack of conceptual integration implications from SRT

  • although the general mean showed a clear advantage for the ecological ideas (mean=3,91, SD=0.46, 5 point Likert scale), as compared to the anthropocentric ones (mean=2.91, SD=0.56), the four groups were found,

  • those in simultaneous agreement with the ecological and the anthropocentric ideas were rather numerous.

  • instead of assuming a smooth substitution of old ideas for new ecological ones, based on SRT it seems more relevant to assume the following:

  • old and new ideas tend to co-exist and to interact.

  • Their interaction assumes different formats, opening up different possibilities for thinking and arguing.

  • How the interaction of old and new ideas is enacted in discourse should be examined

Need for new research questions: communication and language

  • How to go beyond the mere study of objective insertions, or socio-demographic correlates of representations

  • How to further advance in the study of communication and language

  • My Hypothesis in La Psychanalyse was that there are different systems of communication and conversation at the interpersonal levels, just as there is diffusion, propagation and propaganda at the 'mass level'; and that their rules or logic shape these social representations in specific ways" (Moscovici & Markova, 2000, pg. 402, my emphasis).

  • Focus groups with transcripts analysed through the communicative modalities characteristics

Need for new research questions: communication and language

New research questions: different discursive forms for talking about nature (Castro, 2002)

  • The Conciliation discourse - Propagation - incitements to moderation, focus mainly on attitude change, aiming at producing a norm by the conciliation of old and new ideas, depicting the protection of nature as both a desirable end to be achieved and as an end already partially achieved.

  • The Action discourse - Propaganda - focus on behaviour and behaviour modification and vigilance, aiming at the production of new behaviour, through the depiction of a dichotomised reality, rejecting anthropocentric ideas and considering the protection of nature as a desirable end not yet achieved.

  • The Diffusion discourses - allowing different ideas and preoccupations – both ecological and anthropocentric – to emerge, and offering no articulated proposal for accepting, rejecting or conciliating them, just the awareness of their existence as unsolved, perhaps even unsolvable, matters.

New research questions: Linking Cultural Theory with SRT

New research questions: Linking Cultural Theory with SRT

  • Propaganda - focus on behaviour and behaviour modification

  • linked to POLEMIC representations with identity value (Moscovici, 1988; Castro, 2003)

  • Hyp.:

  • those subscribing to the “behavioural Solution” will estimate ecological beliefs and behaviours as lower in the population, as compared to those subscribing all other solutions

New research questions: Linking Cultural Theory with SRT


  • Theory with priority over method - NEP scale but no HEP-NEP assumptions

  • Social representations - different from attitudes and beliefs

  • Social representations - look at the various ways people have for articulating seemingly contradictory beliefs

  • Focus groups discourses - good potential dialogue with Cultural theory and Dake’s Myths of Nature

  • Going beyond objective inclusion - more attention to language and communication

  • going beyond objective inclusion - more attention to the consequences of representations - consensus projection for the population

Do'stlaringiz bilan baham:

Ma'lumotlar bazasi mualliflik huquqi bilan himoyalangan © 2017
ma'muriyatiga murojaat qiling