Browsing by Subject "social representations"

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  • Savonen, Jenni; Kataja, Kati; Sakki, Inari (2022)
    This article draws from a social representations approach (SRA) to present a qualitative inquiry of identity construction in interaction and as part of the social context. We argue that the concept of positioning, inherent to our understanding of SRA, provides a bridge between social representations and identities. Focusing on societally marginalised groups and with illustrative interview samples gathered from two different studies in Finland, this article aims to show how people who use hard drugs position themselves within dominating social representations of 'addict', 'junkie' and 'polydrug user'. Two ways of positioning are employed to negotiate with negative social representations: resistance and partial acceptance. 'Distancing from the worst' as a way of positioning characterises resistance and illustrates how a positive identity is constructed by describing the 'ingroup other' in negative ways, enabling justification of why the responded is not like that. In contrast, 'facing the inescapable' as a way of positioning illustrates partial acceptance that is engaged when people feel they cannot control their use or their lives more generally and cannot justify another position than that of a prototypical user. Our article advances the literature on the role of positioning within representational fields as enabling individuals to reject, challenge or accept the dominating social representations, while at the same time serving as a resource to cope with identity threats and maintain a positive identity.
  • Seitamaa, Aino (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Purpose. In the context of rapid digitalization and the need to develop students’ 21st century skills, acquiring a growth mindset is essential. A person with a growth mindset believes that, for example, intelligence and creativity are malleable and develop through persistent practice. The purpose of this investigation was to first, explore Finnish 7th grade students’ mindsets related to intelligence and giftedness. Secondly, this study investigated students’ mindsets relation to academic achievement in mathematics and mother tongue, as well as students’ educational aspirations. Thirdly, this investigation examined how the mindsets are related to students’ sociodigital competence beliefs and perceived digital school practices. Finally, findings of a mindset intervention conducted in a Finnish educational context, which targeted mindsets in intelligence, giftedness and creativity, are reported. Method. Data for Study A was collected with a questionnaire, which was answered by 1059 7th grade students in Helsinki. The questionnaire assessed students’ intelligence and giftedness mindsets, educational aspirations, sociodigital competence beliefs and perceived digital school practices. A TwoStep cluster analysis was used to locate natural intelligence and giftedness mindset groups from the data. Next, two-way ANOVA’s were utilized: identified mindset groups and gender were independent variables and academic achievement in mathematics and mother tongue, educational aspirations, as well as sociodigital competence beliefs and perceived digital school practices were dependent variables. In Study B 21 students answered a questionnaire on intelligence, giftedness and creativity mindsets before and after the intervention. Differences between pre- and post-test were analyzed using a paired samples t-test. Results and significance. The results indicated that 7th graders had a strong growth mindset in intelligence and giftedness, yet groups of fixed, mixed and growth mindsets were found. Moreover, a growth mindset in intelligence and giftedness was positively related to students’ academic achievement in both mathematics and mother tongue as well as their educational aspirations. Further, a fixed mindset in giftedness indicated higher technical sociodigital competence beliefs. Similarly, students with a fixed mindset in both intelligence and giftedness perceived there to be more sociodigital school practices. Study B found that only students’ creativity-related mindsets changed significantly. The investigation proposes that schools should more strongly support students’ growth mindsets and their creative and academic sociodigital competences as they are a relevant part of the 21st century skills.
  • Bouchat, Pierre; Licata, Laurent; Rosoux, Valerie; Allesch, Christian; Ammerer, Heinrich; Babinska, Maria; Bilewicz, Michal; Bobowik, Magdalena; Bovina, Inna; Bruckmuller, Susanne; Cabecinhas, Rosa; Chryssochoou, Xenia; Cserto, Istvan; Delouvee, Sylvain; Durante, Federica; Ernst-Vintila, Andreea; Flassbeck, Christine; Franc, Renata; Hilton, Denis; Keles, Serap; Kesteloot, Chantal; Kislioglu, Resit; Krenn, Alice; Macovei, Irina; Mari, Silvia; Medugorac, Vanja; Petrovic, Nebojsa; Polya, Tibor; Raudsepp, Maaris; Sa, Alberto; Sakki, Inari; Turjacanin, Vladimir; Turken, Salman; van Ypersele, Laurence; Vojak, Danijel; Volpato, Chiara; Warland, Genevieve; Klein, Olivier (2019)
    The present study examines current social representations associated with the origins of the Great War, a major event that has profoundly affected Europe. A survey conducted in 20 European countries (N = 1906 students in social sciences) shows a high consensus: The outbreak of the war is attributed to the warring nations' leaders while the responsibility of the populations is minimized. Building on the concept of social representation of history (Liu & Hilton, 2005), we suggest that the social representations of the Great War fulfill social psychological functions in contemporary Europe. We suggest that WWI may function as a charter for European integration. Their content also suggests a desire to distinguish a positively valued ingroup ("the people") from powerful elites, construed as an outgroup.
  • Justén, Selina (2005)
    In this study, the employees within Wärtsilä Service Business unit were interviewed in order to find out their images of a strategy and the corporate strategy. The aim was to find out whether the employees share a similar view of the corporate strategy and investigate the interpretative side of strategy in the theoretical framework of social representations. An intention was also to find out the lay theories of the participants on a strategy and the corporate strategy and compare them with the existing strategic management literature and with the official corporate strategy. In the spring 2005, a total of 16 participants were interviewed of whom seven were white-collar workers and nine blue-collar workers. The participants represented different hierarchical levels and educational backgrounds. The participants were between 27–60 years old and had worked in a company from 3 to 37 years. All the participants were male. Semi-structured thematic interviews were used to collect the data. The qualitative data was analysed by grounded theory method and the Atlas.ti –computer software was used as a tool for analyses. In large, the participants had similar images of a strategy, although there was not an absolute unanimity. They most often related a strategy to a plan, a goal or a frame of reference. Although, the participants had more polarised images about the corporate strategy than a strategy in general, their images were still somewhat congruent with each other. The participants emphasised their own strategies and work processes alongside the description of the official corporate strategy. The corporate strategy was most often related to humane factors.
  • Salapuro, Hanna-Mari (Helsingfors universitet, 2017)
    In this study Finnish history teacher's conceptions and experiences on national history teaching are explored. As representatives of educational institution, teachers are situated in intersection point of official history curriculum, academic research, family histories and common sense understandings of history. Another point of this study is to find out what kind of mainstream narrative of national history is mediated at schools which are its focal elements and what is possibly excluded. Which possibly sensitive or controversial elements are present in history teaching are also studied. Theoretical background of this study can be divided in two parts. First part consists of social psychological approaches to studying history-related issues, especially Serge Moscovici's Social Representations Theory. The theory explores how common sense knowledge is constructed in social interaction. The second part consists of previous studies on history science and history didactics. Turning points in Finnish history and previous studies on national collective memory are introduced. Also different approaches to history teaching and how Finnish school history is in relation to them is discussed. The empirical part of this study consists of Finnish history teachers' individual interviews (N=11). Participants are teachers both at high school and upper comprehensive level schools mostly situated in Helsinki capital region. They have varying experience in teaching history and other subjects. The interview scheme consists of both open questions and statements. All interviews were conducted in Finnish, recorded and transcribed. The analysis of the interview data is based on Charmaz' (2006) version of Grounded theory. Main results of the study show that teachers' representations of history teaching are mostly 'enlightened' and 'skill-oriented' which are in line with official curriculum. More 'traditional' or 'romantic' representations of school history were present, although marginal in this sample. The values and aims that guide teachers' work are manifested in seven different roles that were found in this study: 'initiator of interest in history', 'creator of historical understanding', 'developer of critical thinking', 'mediator of scientific knowledge, facts and truth', 'mediator of values and attitudes', 'civic educator' and 'independent actor'. History is seen as educational and challenging subject which ought to develop student's ability to critical thinking, multiperspectivity, tolerance and overall understanding of the world. Main history narrative found in this study consists of eight hegemonic representations. This narrative is named as 'Coming-of-age-story' or 'Cinderella story' The cores of history representations form a combination of elements on which national history curriculum could be based: birth, development, unity, heroism, victimhood, balancing and belonging. These are powerful narrative elements through which national identity could be constructed in school history. Alternative/ marginal narratives also take part in this representational process, making history polyphasic and dynamic. Most of the controversy and sensitivity in this study is related to Finland’s wars and conflicts, so called ‘darker sides’ of national history: civil war, the Winter War and the Continuation War, co-operation with Nazi-Germany, prison camps and finlandization. Notable is that teachers’ talk about history’s sensitivity or controversy is often attached to today’s issues such as multiculturalism, racism and minority groups' rights. History of conflictual group relations evokes emotions within classroom which requires intercultural competence and sensitivity from teachers, especially when teaching history in multicultural groups. This study shows that teachers perceive national history teaching both challenging and rewarding, effected by many outside factors and being under constant change. Teaching is regarded as a vocation, which often derives from teacher’s own keen interest in history. These findings could be utilized in further studies and developing of history teachers’ education, workload and national curriculum.
  • Padilla Royuela, Isabel (2010)
    Social representations of climate change were examined among university students in three focus groups. The study is based on two different data sets: focus group interviews and the free-word association task. Altogether, 12 Finnish and international interviewees participated in the focus groups discussions and in the free-word association task. Word association procedures are a common method used in social representations research. This technique produces unfiltered, relatively context-free and spontaneous utterances thus providing a unique means to access and asses subjected meanings. Through this technique contents of social representations of climate change were identified. More than fifteen associations were generally accepted contents of climate change by the participants. The most mentioned associations include: natural disasters, politics of climate change, global warming and high emissions of CO2, environmental pollution, and renewable energy, greenhouse effect, developed vs. developing countries, sea level rising, Al Gore and melting glaciers among others. Focus group discussions usually provide an insight into the formation and change of social representations, beliefs, knowledge and ideologies that circulate in societies. The resulting material of focus groups is source of richness of ideas and interactions. The textual material was analyzed based on themes and content. These analyses indicates that social representations of climate change are composed of eight central themes: knowledge about climate change causes, effects of climate change, personal views and perceptions of climate change, the way in which the mass media reports/portrays climate change, proposed solutions, appreciations of modern human beings, and other global concerns related to climate change. Each theme was made of several topics that emerged during the focus group discussions. The central finding of the study is that social representations of climate change seem to exist among university students of Helsinki region Universities. There is a shared understanding of climate change among the participants, and the term has entered everyday life and is part of many people’s daily conversation. Social representations make the unfamiliar familiar; it is from common experiences and memories that people draw the images, language, and gestures required to deal with the unfamiliarities that come along with uncertainties. People’s reliance on the familiar as the preferred reference point is a universal phenomenon.
  • Dsilva, Keshia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    There exists an extensive body of research on homosexuality, yet only a few studies address local meanings of homosexuality and still fewer attempt to understand the processes that construct these meanings and the values and beliefs of the people that share these meanings. Such studies would be particularly relevant in India as a developing and highly pluralistic country where the legal status of homosexuality has been in a state of flux. The unique history and religious diversity in India have shaped the way in which different communities come to understand homosexuality. Influences of both colonization and tradition are salient and constantly interacting, yet in many ways conflicting with each other. To explore these influences and intersections in relation to conceptions of homosexuality, the social representation theory was used as a methodological framework. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in Bangalore with six families from the urban middle class representing the major religions of Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. Out of these six families, two families from each of the three religions participated. For each family, one member belonged to the youngest generation (18+ years of age), one to the middle generation and one to the grandparents’ generation. As Bangalore is the second fastest growing metropolis in India, it provided a good background to explore potential influences of modernisation. The inter-generational and inter-religious approach helped to provide insights on how these categories, in addition to their national identity as Indians, entwine and frame these participants’ representations of homosexuality. Across religions and generations, three representations of homosexuality were identified: nature, nurture and culture. In the first, homosexuality was categorized in terms of what is ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’, in the second in terms of ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ and in the third, in terms of ‘deviant’ and ‘non-deviant’. Despite these convergent primary categorizations, participants’ ages, religions and gendered perceptions of what constitutes homosexuality intersected in diverse yet specific and patterned ways. My analysis sheds light on the functions served by these representations, local practices and customs, as well as social change in India with respect to meanings, understandings and practices of homosexuality.
  • Hakoköngäs, Juho Eemeli; Sakki, Inari (2019)
    This study investigates the role of advertising and visual rhetoric in political persuasion. Analysis of Finnish dairy product video advertisements from 2010–2016 focuses on those that exploit time as the main reference framework. A better understanding of how advertising is used as a tool of political persuasion is sought by exploring the following questions: How are advertisements used in political communication? How is time used as a means of persuasion in advertising? What role do visual rhetoric and social representations have in the process of persuasion? The analysis shows how advertisements objectify work as a tradition and anchor it as a Finnish value. The results show how advertisements employ enthymeme as a major rhetorical tool to assert that the tradition of Finnish employment is under threat but the consumption of Finnish dairy products and favouring a pro-agrarian policy would ensure that the tradition is transmitted to new generations. The contributions of the study are twofold: First, the combination of social representations theory and classic rhetoric provides a theoretical and analytical perspective for the analysis of visual rhetoric in political persuasion. Secondly, by exploring the advertisements as political communication, the study shows how commercials are used to advocate ideological and political projects, such as certain kind of agricultural policy – an angle largely overlooked in the previous research of social and political psychology.