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Critically discuss the value of social representations theory to the social sciences in particulary to the science of history - Essay Example

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This essay deals with critical discussion on social representation theory and the role of social representation theory in analysis and structure of social reality as concerned with communication bringing out both psychological and social aspects of concepts and ideas…
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Critically discuss the value of social representations theory to the social sciences in particulary to the science of history
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Download file to see previous pages The use of social representation theory by social and political scientists is also studied to understand the limitations of such theories and I discuss how this could be used constructively in different social contexts and situations.
Social representation is important in communication as communication helps people to interact and social representation provides the common ground of understanding of concepts or ideas. Ideas outside the common understanding or which don't have particular meaning may be difficult to grasp and social representations theory actually provide the meaning of concepts within particular social groups. It aids in understanding of concepts and thus facilitates communication. Social representation has been described as a system of values, ideas and practices that enables individuals to orient themselves in a material and social world and also enable communication among members of a particular community as social representation provides a code for social exchange and classifies various aspects of the world and individual group history (Moscovici, 1973).
The meanings of words are concepts that have been established through social and the interpretations of meanings and ideas tend to depend on negotiation largely as related to the social environment. Although these meanings of concepts become fixed and definite, social representation is largely contextual and depends on a social background or environment. Thus certain concepts tend to have cultural connotations so some concepts understood by certain individuals of a community may not be clear to people of other communities. The development of social representations could be psychological and also social as along with provide social context to ideas, social representation theory helps individuals in terms of psychological growth.
Howarth (2006) discusses Moscovici (1972) to answer what is the aim of social research and the social representation perspective and whether these theories support or criticize social order and how social theories consolidate or transform social order. The influence of social representation theory on social order or reality or the relation between social representation theory and social order is thus obvious in this discussion. Howarth provides an overview of social representations perspective and suggests that there may be certain underdeveloped issues within the social representation theory and its application that will need addressing. There are certain issues within the analysis of social representation theory for example that which deals with the relationship between psychological processes and social practices, legitimization of different knowledge systems, and resistance or change in construction of self identity (Howarth, 2006) that may not have been discussed in detail by social theorists. The role of representations in reality and idealization is also equally important in deconstruction or analysis of social theories. Thus social theories seem to be dependent on several factors related to representation and construction, knowledge systems and psychological aspects of identity.
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