Social Representation in a Saussurian Dynamic Perspective

  • Sven Hroar Klempe Department of Psychology, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway
Keywords: change, stability, semiology, social representation, folk psychology, arbitrary sign


This paper highlights the Swiss linguistic Ferdinand de Saussure’s explanation of the contradictory mixture of changes and stability, which is a salient trait of language. As long as this is what characterizes social representations as well, there are some fundamental similarities between Ferdinand de Saussure and Serge Moscovici. This paper points out in what sense, but also how they are different. Yet the fundamental question about uniting stability with changes is a core issue in cultural psychology. By pointing at the historical connections between Wundt and de Saussure, the conclusion is that social representations can achieve a deeper understanding by means of semiology and folk psychology, and find its basis in cultural psychology.

Author Biography

Sven Hroar Klempe, Department of Psychology, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway

SVEN HROAR KLEMPE is associate Professor in Psychology at the Department of Psychology, NTNU, Trondheim, and has a background as a former full Professor in Musicology, Ass. Prof. in Media Studies, a teacher, journalist and music critic. His educational background is diverse and primarily from Norway, but he attended courses and seminars with Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault at Collége de France, Paris during the winter/spring 1979. His research is cross disciplinary with an emphasis on theory of science, communication and the history of psychology.