Communication, Social Representations and Prevention

The Information Polarization on COVID-19 in Brazil

  • Ana Maria Justo Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC)
  • Andréa Barbará da Silva Bousfield Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC)
  • Andréia Isabel Giacomozzi Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC)
  • Brigido Vizeu Camargo Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC)
Keywords: Communication, Social Representations, Prevention, Polarization, Covid-19

Abstract

Since December 2019, the world has followed the advance of a potentially lethal acute infectious disease, a subject that has been highlighted in the media and social networks. The COVID-19 pandemic is a new phenomenon that affects the population globally, at the interface between individual and social, which is why it is an object of interest for study from the perspective of social representations (SRs), whose theoretical contribution may help understand prevention or therapeutic practices in the healthcare field. The circulation of information via different communication channels shows an interaction between science and common sense in the construction of SRs. In turn, intergroup contexts play an important role in the way information is organized and signified as SRs, which are not always hegemonic. In the Brazilian context, the pandemic arrival was followed by disagreements between the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and the federal government's discourse on the pandemic, reflecting on the polarization of opinions regarding prevention strategies. The representation of COVID-19 as a “health crisis” or as an “economic crisis” involves different forms of anchoring linked to identity processes, and may imply different degrees of adherence to prevention practices, reflecting the current political polarization scenario.

Author Biographies

Andréa Barbará da Silva Bousfield, Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC)

Ph.D. Professor at the Postgraduate Program of Psychology (PPGP) and at the Department of Psychology of the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) - Florianópolis, Brazil; Coordinador of the Laboratory of Social Psychology of Communication and Cognition (LACCOS). Lines of research: social and environmental risks, chronic diseases and social representations. Visiting Professor at University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL), 2017 and Università degli Studi di Padova (UNIPD), 2018.

Andréia Isabel Giacomozzi, Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC)

Ph.D.  Professor at the Postgraduate Program of  Psychology  (PPGP)  and  at  the  Department  of  Psychology of the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) - Florianópolis, Brazil; member  of  the  Laboratory  of  Social  Psychology  of Communication and Cognition (LACCOS). Her fields of teaching and research are Social Psychology, Social Representations and Group Processes and Intergroup Relations. Her research interests have regarded and still regard the following fields: social psychology of interpersonal relations, mainly in political polarization; violence; and health prevention behaviors; Visiting Professor at Università degli Studi di Padova (UNIPD), 2019.

Brigido Vizeu Camargo, Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC)

Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France.  Retired Full Professor and researcher of the Social Psychology of the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) - Florianópolis, Brasil. He participates in the postgraduate programs in psychology of the   Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina. Lines of research: diffusion of the theory of social representations; social representations, new ideologies and societal problems.

Published
2020-11-04
Section
Special issue