On Thematic Concepts and Methodological (Epistemological) Themata

  • Ivana Marková University of Stirling
Keywords: themata, dyadic oppositions, a thematic concept, a methodological or epistemological thema, self/other


The concept of themata is transdisciplinary, bridging the domains of science and the humanities.

Themata are basic elements of thought, usually taking the form of dyadic oppositions. They have

several uses, among which a thematic concept and a methodological (epistemological) thema

appear to be the most important ones in the theory of social representations. A thematic concept,

as used in social representations, refers to the content and transformation of a specific dyadic

opposition, for example, moral/immoral or man/woman. A methodological (epistemological)

thema is a guiding principle of the discipline, which organizes and directs the issues of study

along a specific perspective, for example, along analysis/synthesis or the Self/Other. While

acknowledging the importance of a thematic concept, this article will emphasize the

methodological or epistemological role of a thema. Specifically, it will focus on the Self/Other as

a basic epistemological thema of the dialogical approach in social representations.

Author Biography

Ivana Marková, University of Stirling

IVANA MARKOVÁ is Professor Emeritus in Psychology, University of Stirling, and Visiting

Professor in the Institute of Social Psychology at the London School of Economics. Current

research includes the theory of social representations, dialogicality, trust, responsibility, and the

relation between common sense and other forms of knowledge. The latest books include:

Dialogue in Focus Groups: Exploring Socially Shared knowledge (2007, with P. Linell, M.

Grossen, A. Salazar-Orvig); Trust and Distrust: Sociocultural Perspectives (2008, co-edited with

A. Gillespie); Trust and conflict: Representation, culture, dialogue (2012, co-edited with A.

Gillespie); Dialogical Approaches to Trust in Communication (2013, co-edited with P. Linell).