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Theory and Method for the Analysis of Social Representations

Chapter
Part of the Culture in Policy Making: The Symbolic Universes of Social Action book series (CPMSUSA)

Abstract

Since its earliest conceptualization, Social Representations Theory has cast light on the mechanisms through which media communication contributes to shaping social thinking and transforming the various objects of knowledge that characterize the flow of everyday life unfamiliar ideas and concepts. The present chapter intends to enlarge the understanding of the role of the media in the genesis, diffusion, and transformation of the social representations of complex issues that are relevant in the social arena. More specifically, it aims to shed light on the dynamic structures that connect the representational forms produced by media discourses so as to generate coherent, meaningful patterns of thoughts and cognitions. This main aim is pursued at a twofold level, both in theory and method. At the first level, a theoretical bridge connects the notion of social representations and the concept of symbolic universes. To be more precise, social representations are described as concrete “instantiations” of abstract, generalized symbolic universes while media discourses are presented as (one of) the communicative contexts in which important issues are represented in recursive patterns of meaning-making, e.g. social representations. At the same time, we contribute to the literature on the methodology of studying social representations by applying a combination of text mining techniques and multiple correspondence analysis to link textual and survey data.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SalentoLecceItaly
  2. 2.“La Sapienza” University of RomeRomeItaly
  3. 3.University of TrentoTrentoItaly
  4. 4.University of LeicesterLeicesterUK
  5. 5.T-LABRoccaseccaItaly

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