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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
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).
- Spring '12
- Social Psychology