Social Representations of Medically Assisted Fecundation a Study on the Discursive Construction of “Media Texts”
Amelia Manuti, Giuseppe Mininni
DOI: 10.4236/psych.2010.15043   PDF    HTML     6,051 Downloads   11,346 Views   Citations


The present contribution moves from the theory of social representations (Moscovici, 1961) and focuses attention on the importance of social communication within negotiation processes of shared meanings. Actually, discursive psychology (Potter, & Wetherell, 1987; Billig, 1991) has showed that social representation have a narrative nature since they organize the cognitive schemata that people use to give sense to the world (Lazlo, 1997). In such a frame a crucial role is played by mass media, which do contribute to construct and convey the figurative nucleus of each representation (Mininni, 2004). By adopting this discursive perspective, the present contribution aims at investigating the social debate about assisted fecundation which in Italy has accompanied the campaign for the abrogation of Law 40. The corpus of data is made up of a sample of 46 media-texts collected within the weeks before the referendum. The data have been investigated by adopting diatextual analysis (Mininni, 1992; 2003; 2005).

Share and Cite:

Manuti, A. & Mininni, G. (2010). Social Representations of Medically Assisted Fecundation a Study on the Discursive Construction of “Media Texts”. Psychology, 1, 337-348. doi: 10.4236/psych.2010.15043.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Abric, J. (1984). A theoretical and experimental approach to the study of SR in a s situation of interaction. In R. Farr & S. Moscovici (Eds), Social Representations (pp.169-184). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
[2] Abric, J. (2001). A structural approach to social representations. In K. Deaux & G. Philogene (Eds), Representations of the social: Bridging theoretical traditions (pp.42-47). England: Blackwell.
[3] Allansdottir, A., Jovchelovitch, S., & Stathopoulou, A. (1993). Social Representations: The versatility of a concept. Papers on social representations, 2, 3-10.
[4] Billig, M. (1991). Ideologies and beliefs. London, England: Sage.
[5] Breakwell, G. (1993). Social Representations and Social Identity. Papers on Social Representations, 2, 1-20.
[6] Castro, P., & Gomes, I. (2005). Genetically modified organisms in the Portuguese press: Thematization and anchoring. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 35, 1-17.
[7] Cavazza, N. (2005). Atteggiamenti, rappresentazioni sociali e cambiamento: il ruolo della comunicazione, in G. Sarchielli e B. Zani (a cura di), Persone, gruppi e comunità. Scritti di psicologia sociale in onore di Augusto Palmonari (pp.163-182). Bologna, Emilia- Romagna: Il Mulino.
[8] Cialdini, R. (1984). Influence. The Psychology of Persuasion. New York, NY: William Morrow e Company.
[9] Cortini, M., & Manuti, A. (2002). Il marketing politico sul web: Strategie discorsive di autopresentazione dei partiti politici italiani. In (a cura di) G. Mininni. la parola spiazzata (pp.123-155). Napoli, Campania: Idelson Gnocchi.
[10] Crismore, A., Markannen, R., & Steffenson, M. (1993). Metadiscourse in persuasive writing: A study of texts written in American and Finnish university students. Written Communication, 10, 39-71.
[11] Doise, W. (1984). Social representations, intergroup experiments and levels of analysis. In R. Farr & S. Moscovici (Eds.), Social Representations (pp.255-268). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
[12] Duveen, G., & Lloyd, B. (1990). Social representations and the development of knowledge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[13] Duveen, G. (1998). The Psychosocial Production of Ideas: Social Representations and Psychologic. Culture & Psychology, 4, 455-472.
[14] Duveen, G. (2001). Representations, identities, resistance. In K. Deaux & G. Philogène (Eds.), Representations of the social: Bridging theoretical traditions. (pp. 257-270). Malden Blackwell Publishing.
[15] Duveen, G. (2007) Culture and social representations. In J.Valsiner & A. Rosa (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of socio-cultural psychology. (pp. 543-559). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
[16] Greimas, A., & Courtés, J. (1979). Dictionnaire raisonnée de Semio- tique. Paris: Dunot.
[17] Harré, R., & Gillett, G. (1994). The discursive mind. London, England: Sage.
[18] Horwarth, C., Foster, J., & Dorrer, N. (2004). Exploring the potential of the theory of social representations in community based health research and viceversa. Journal of Health Psychology, 9, 229-243.
[19] Houtilainen, A., & Tourila, H. (2005). Social representation of new food has a stable structure based on suspicion and trust. Food and Quality Preference, 16: 565-572.
[20] Jahoda, G. (1988). Critical notes and reflections on “social representations”. European Journal of Social Psychology, 18, 195-209.
[21] Jovchelovitch, S. (2002). Rethinking the diversity of knowledge. Cognitive polyphasia, belief and representation. Psychologie et Société, 5, 121-138.
[22] Lazlo, J. (1997). Narrative Organization of Social Representations, Papers on Social Representations, 6, 155-172.
[23] Lloyd, B., & Duveen, G. (1990). A semiotic analysis of the development of social representations of gender. In G.Duveen & B.Lloyd (Eds.), Social representations and the development of knowledge (pp. 27-46). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
[24] Liu, L. (2004). Sensitising concept, Themata and Shareness: a dialogical perspective of Social Representations. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 34, 249-264.
[25] Lotman, J. (1985). La semiosfera. L’asimmetria ed il dialogo nelle strutture pensanti. Venezia: Marsilio.
[26] Manuti, A. (2005). The rhetoric of work flexibility: a diatextual frame of Italian political discourse. Journal of Language and Politics, 4, 371-396.
[27] Markova, I. (2000). Amédée or how to get rid of it: Social Representations from a dialogical perspective. Culture & Psychology, 6, 419-460.
[28] Markova, I. (2003). Dialogicity and social representations. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
[29] Mc Combs, M. E., Shaw, D.L., & Weaver, D. (1997). Communication and Democracy: Exploring the intellectual frontiers in agenda setting theory. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
[30] Mc Combs, M.E., & Shaw, D.L. (1972). The agenda setting function of mass media. Public Opinion Quarterly, 36, 176-187.
[31] Mininni, G. (1995). Discorsiva mente. Profilo di psicosemiotica. Napoli, Campania : Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane.
[32] Mininni, G. (2004). Psicologia e media. Bari, BA: Laterza.
[33] Mininni, G. (2003). Il discorso come forma di vita. Napoli, Campania: Guida.
[34] Mininni, G. (2005). Diatexts as a mirror of human complexity. World Futures, 61, 163-175.
[35] Moloney, G., Hall, R., & Walker, I., (2005). Social Representations and Themata: The construction and functioning of social knowledge about donation and transplantation. British Journal of Social Psychology. 44 , 415-441.
[36] Moloney, G., & Walker, I. (2000). Messiahs, Pariahs, Donors: The development of Social Representations of Organ Transplants. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour. 30, 203-227.
[37] Morgan, S., Harrison, T., Long, S., Afifi, W., Stephenson, M., & Reichert, T. (2005). Family discussions about organ donation: how the media influences opinions about donation decisions. Clinical Transplantation, 19, 674-682.
[38] Moscovici, S. (1961) La psychoanalyse, son image et son public. Paris: Presses Universitaire.
[39] Moscovici, S. (1973). Foreword. In C. Herzlich (Ed.), Health and Illness: A social analysis (pp. IX-XIV). London, England: Academic Press.
[40] Moscovici, S., (1981). On social representations. Perspectives on everyday understanding. In J. Forgas (Ed.), Social Cognition (pp. 181-209). London, England: Academic Press.
[41] Moscovici, S. (1984). The Phenomenon of Social Representation, In R.Farr, & S.Moscovici (Eds.), Social Representations. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
[42] Moscovici, S. (2001). Why a theory of Social Representations? In K. Deaux & G. Philogene (Eds.), Representations of the social: Bridging theoretical traditions (pp.8-35). Oxford, England: Blackwell.
[43] Moscovici, S., & Vignaux, G. (2000). The concept of Themata. In K. Duveen (Ed.) Social Representations. Explorations in Social Psychology (pp. 156-183). Cambridge, England: Polity Press.
[44] Mugny, G., & Carugati, F. (1989). Social representations of intelligence. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
[45] Potter, J., & Litton, I. (1985). Problems underlying the theory of social representations. British Journal of Social Psychology, 24, 81-90.
[46] Potter, J., & Wetherell, M. (1987) Discourse and Social Psychology. Beyond Attitudes and Behaviour. London, England: Sage.
[47] Potter, J., & Wetherell, M. (1999). Social Representations and Discursive Psychology: From cognition to action. Culture & Psychology, 5, 447-458.
[48] Raudsepp, M. (2005). Why is it so difficult to understand the theory of social representations? Culture & Psychology, 11 , 455-468.
[49] Rose, D., Efraim, D., Gervais, M., Joffe, H., Jovchelovitch, S., & Morant, N. (1995). Questioning consensus in social representation theory. Papers in social representations, 4, 150-176.
[50] Sen, R., & Wagner, W. (2009). Cultural mechanics of fundamentalism: Religion as ideology, divided identities and violence in post-Gandhi India. Culture & Psychology, 15, 299-326.
[51] Spaemann R. (1996). Personen. Versuche uber den Unbterschiede zwischen “etwas” und “jemand”, Stuttgart: Nachfolger GmbH (tr. it. di L. Allodi, Persone. Sulla differenza tra “qualcosa” e “qualcuno” ), Roma-Bari 2005: Laterza.
[52] Spink , M. (1993). Qualitative research on social representations: the delightful world of paradoxes. Papers on Social Representations, 2 , 48-54.
[53] Van Dijk, & T., A. (1998). Ideology. A multidisciplinary approach. London: Sage.
[54] Van Dijk, & T., A. (1993). Principles of Critical Discourse Analysis, Discourse & Society, 4 , 249-283.
[55] Van Dijk, & T., A. (1997). Discourse as Social Interaction, London: Sage.
[56] Voelklein, C., & Howarth C. (2005). A Review of Controversies about Social Representations Theory: A British Debate, Culture & Psychology, 11, 431-454.
[57] Volli, U. (2005). Laboratorio di semiotica, Roma-Bari: Laterza.
[58] Wagner, W. (1995). Description, explanation and method in Social Representation research, Papers on Social Representations, 4, 1-21.
[59] Wagner, W. (1998). Social representations and beyond: brute facts, symbolic coping and domesticated worlds. Culture & Psychology, 4, 297-329.
[60] Wagner, W., Duveen, G., Farr, R., Jovchelovitch, S., Lorenzi Cioldi, F., Markova, I., & Rose, D. (1999). Theory and Method of Social Representations. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 2, 95-125.
[61] Wagner, W., Duveen, G., Verma, J., & Themel, M. (2000). I have some faith and at the same time I don’t believe. Cognitive polyphasia and cultural change in India. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 10, 301-314.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.