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Estudos de Psicologia (Natal)

On-line version ISSN 1678-4669


WACHELKE, João Fernando Rech. The vacuum in the context of social representations: an explanatory hypothesis for the social representation of madness. Estud. psicol. (Natal) [online]. 2005, vol.10, n.2, pp.313-320. ISSN 1678-4669.

The present article suggests that cultural contents can be studied with the help of social representations theory. The results of some studies that have described the social representation of madness are described, emphasizing a recurrent characteristic: otherness, that is, madness is an object surrounded by insecurity and ambiguity, represented as something distant from those who represent it. Some authors say that it might be due to a structural flaw in the social representation of madness. A hypothesis to explain this phenomenon from a conflict between systems of scientific and cultural representations is proposed; such a conflict would cause a coverage problem concerning madness as an object, to which the name of representational is given. Limitations of the hypothesis are pointed out, and the need to carry out studies to verify its adequacy and generalizability is stressed.

Keywords : social representations; madness; cultural representations; scientific representations.

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