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Unformatted text preview: difference here is that SRT once again puts other people, 'everyday talk' under the
microscope and discovers formal properties of their speech whereas the deconstruction we
are advocating is one which turns back upon the professionals who do the categorising.
(iv) Banchs (pp. 67-68) discovers that at one point in my text I say that 'the
'representations' are imagined to operate inside the individual's head' (Parker, 1989, p. 99), 4 I. Parker but that at another point I say that 'Even if social representations are not seen as 'deposited
in the brain of each individual' (Saussure, 1974, p. 24) as semiology argued, it appears that
the key to enlightenment is that the should be (ibid., p. 104). The issue here revolves around
the sentimental prescriptive part of SRT which attempts to do that work of locating
representations in the head, and to glue the person into a 'consensual universe', when they
may otherwise be experienced as outside the head, when the person is seen as participating
in a 'reified universe'.
The pervasive problem that I want to draw attention to is that the SRT 'text' - the
translations, empirical examples and elaborations of the framework - which is operating in
Britain, and which then becomes effective further afield, is one which gives sustenance to
mainstream cognitivist approaches in social psychology. My deconstruction of SRT homed
in on the way certain statements by Moscovici warranted a certain reading of the framework,
and the danger that his work would become part of the internal reaction to innovative ideas
in the crisis debates in the discipline rather than a progressive response which would work
with them. I say, then, for this reason, and these among the quotes Banchs' selects that
'supporters' of the theory look to sociology (Parker, 1989, p. 91), that there is a 'licence for
individualism' in Moscovici's work that can 'only too easily read as an invitation to continue
the incorporation of sociology' (ibid., p. 96), and that 'some of Moscovici's own statements
warrant this retreat, and the fault lies not simply in the vagueness of the theory which
permits different interpretations, but in the inconsistency, and even occasional
mischaracterization of the research' (ibid., p. 99).
I am careful to distinguish between some empirical examples of social representations
research, and the use that is made of it. When I cite Herzlich's (1973) study of health and
illness, for example, I claim only that it 'slides into' a distributive view of social
representations. Jodelet's (1992) work on madness is another case in point that operates as
an example of social representations research only insofar as its progressive qualitative
approach and collective framework is ignored. the issue here is how the research is absorbed
by a dominant view of what SRT is, and how it should be interpreted.
SRT, the SRT which we have to contend with here, does warrant a separation between
the social and the individual, and the reproduction of cognitivist notions in social
psychology. Whenever a certain psychological process is adverti...
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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