Alterity and the Transformation of Social Representations: A Sociocultural Account
SourceIntegrative Psychological and Behavioral Science
Google Scholar check
MetadataShow full item record
This article uses sociocultural theories of self-reflection to theorize how social representations are transformed. While there are several ways in which social representations change, we focus on one way that entails interactions with alterity, that is, other people, groups and representations. We use sociocultural psychology to explore how social representations can shift from being the medium of thought and action to becoming the object of thought and action. This process, we argue, entails alternative representations becoming the new medium of thought and action. Although this account relies upon the psychological process of self-reflection, it avoids psychological reductionism, because the psychological process is based on social and sociological processes. Self-reflection, however, is more of an exception than a rule, and the ways in which self-reflection is blocked are also examined. Future research, it is argued, should examine the ways in which self-reflection arises through the interaction of representations within situated contexts, thus forging a third way between psychological and sociological reductionism. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.