From Social Perception and Social Representation to Social Imaginary in Social Psychology Theory and Research

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Social psychology, since its inception, has had to deal with the spectre of collective subjectivity. Is there such an entity? If it exists, how can we account for it? What would be the most suitable methods for its study? There have been several theoretical-referential frameworks that have attempted to answer these questions. Perhaps the most representative is social perception studies, the theory of social representations and the conceptual framework of the social imaginaries. The first is a common field, shared not only by psychology but by other humanities: social sciences, applied philosophy and cultural studies, among others. It is based on the epistemic assumption that there are significant differences between social reality and what people perceive or represent—and in turn, these representations tend to be more or less commonly reflective of particular topics in certain population groups. The theory and method of social representations, attributed to Serge Moscovici, has its antecedents in Émile Durkheim—in particular, his conception of collective representations. Perhaps, the most significant contribution of Moscovici and his followers has been the elaboration of an operational framework for the empirical study of such representations and their validation by statistical criteria. Finally, the social imaginary is a much broader concept. Although some authors also relate it to Durkheim, the core of this theory is the attempt to account, theoretically and methodologically, for a subjectivity that exceeds individuals and functions as an effect of such representations and their actual cause. In this sense, it stands as an anti-representation gamble. On the other hand, for social psychology, it appears that—at least since Bachelard—it is a function whose effects are cultural products (but which do not end in them). It is precisely from studying these emerging phenomena that the social imaginary is accessed as a function. Thus it has potential as a social transformer, as shown by the most recent research on the subject. This chapter then presents the current state of the discussion on these topics. It also considers the authors’ contributions to studies on social imaginary in social psychology, particularly the theory of the emerging social imaginaries.

Idioma originalInglés
Título de la publicación alojadaNew Waves in Social Psychology
EditorialSpringer International Publishing AG
Número de páginas28
ISBN (versión digital)9783030874063
ISBN (versión impresa)9783030874056
EstadoPublicada - 1 ene. 2022

Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus

  • Psicología General


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