182 the alarm bells should be ringing the most

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Unformatted text preview: sed as 'a genuinely universal principle' (Moscovici, 1982, p. 12) we ought to beware, and when we are invited to see SRT as an approach to 'social cognition' that is 'different from, and complementary to, recent North American research (Moscovici, 1981, p. 182), the alarm bells should be ringing. The most important introductory volume on social representations in English (Farr & Moscovici, 1984) included, without any attempt to take editorial distance, the statement in the foreword that the approach seems 'more akin methodologically and theoretically to cognitive psychology' (Deutscher, 1984, p. xiv) and there were chapters on experiments which manipulated individual's 'representations' (Abric, 1984, Codol, 1984). The formalising of central structures of social representations enhances this trend, as does the separation of 'central systems' from 'peripheral systems' of representations (e.g., Abric, 1993) and attempts to connect social representations with cognitive development (e.g., Molinari & Emiliani, 1993) takes like risks. We let this tendency in SRT go unnoticed at our peril. Now, the various sources of error that Banchs lists dry up. One of the first presentations of Moscovici's theory in the English-speaking world, in Forgas (1981), and so one of the On M. A. Banchs 5 important components of the SRT text I was concerned with, explicitly looked to Durkheimian and Weberian sociology (with all the dualism that such a double borrowing carries) to warrant a new approach to 'social cognition'. I do not, as Banchs says in her point one, attribute to the theory of social representations one single source of theoretical inspiration: Durkheim's orthodox sociology ('Atribuirle a la teoría de las representaciones sociales una sola fuente teórica de inspiración: la sociología ortodoxa de Durkheim', p. 56). The dualism that the double-debt to Durkheim and Weber in this early manifestation of the SRT text here invites then supports the dicotomization of the interior and the exterior (contra Banchs' point two), and individual-social dualism (contra Banchs' point three). The social is treated as separate from individuals, with social representations seen as things to be collected (contra Banchs' point four) and used by individuals (contra Banchs' point five and six). Banchs' point seven, eight and nine present a quite different Moscovici (and not in his own words here either) to the one in the SRT text I deconstructed. Banchs' point ten, eleven and twelve do usefully convey, in Moscovici's own words now, an approach to social representations that is instructive to all social psychologists working with language, and discourse. This useful resumé is a corrective to the problems I was concerned with, and should be read alongside my critique, not against it. Banchs' points thirteen and fourteen also give voice to Moscovici in a helpful way, though it is possible to find other translations of Moscovici in the SRT text that give licence to the interpretation I wanted to draw attention to. Moscovici does say, in that early English text, for example that individuals and groups 'think autonomously, constantly producing and communication r...
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This note was uploaded on 12/13/2012 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 107 taught by Professor Neascu during the Spring '12 term at UMass (Amherst).

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