Us or Them? Social Representations and Imaginaries of the Other in Venezuela

  • Mireya Lozada Universidad Central de Venezuela
Keywords: social polarisation, controversial representations, imaginaries of the Other, Bolivarian Revolution, Venezuela



Please address all correspondence to: Dr Mireya Lozada, Instituto de Psicologia, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela. (email


Papers on Social Representations

Volume 23, pages 21.1-21.16 (2014)

Peer Reviewed Online Journal

ISSN 1021-5573

© 2014 The Authors


Us or Them? Social Representations and Imaginaries of the Other in Venezuela


Universidad Central de Venezuela

Polarisation, which seems to have established itself and spread worldwide as a mechanism for power and social control, has become more acute in Latin America, a region of long standing socioeconomic and political conflicts. In Venezuela, in the context of the “Bolivarian revolution”, although political confrontation has encouraged social participation processes, it has also led to an acute social polarization and to controversial representations held in the imaginary of the enemy-Other, which generate rivalries and struggles between opposing groups, in a climate of emotional exacerbation, mistrust and collective fear. In this context, marked by polarisation and intergroup violence, there is a progressive fracture of symbolic practices, which hinders consensus, generating antagonistic relationships in a permanent struggle for positions of real or symbolic power. From the experience of research developed during the 2002-2013 period at the Universidad Central of Venezuela, and the experience derived from programs of mediation and psychosocial attention developed with different political groups, some lines of problematisation arise that I will set forth here. The article deals with the triad: polarisation, representation and social imaginaries, focusing on the controversial representations that emerge in a context marked by sociopolitical conflict.

Author Biography

Mireya Lozada, Universidad Central de Venezuela

MIREYA LOZADA. Doctor in Political Psychology at the Université de Toulouse, France. She is currently Director of the Institute of Psychology and coordinator of the Master’s programme in Social Psychology at the Universidad Central de Venezuela. In 2008 she won the Francisco De Venanzi Award for Lifetime Achievement as University Researcher. Since 1989 she is developing research projects on the theme: Democracy, public space and everyday life. She has participated in research groups of the Latin American Social Sciences Council (CLACSO), in the research group: Latin American Imaginaries which includes European and Latin American researchers, and she participates in the Ibero-Latin American Network of political psychology.