Reflections on Bauer and Gaskell's Towards a Paradigm for Research on Social Representations

  • Juliet H. Foster University of Cambridge


This commentary considers Bauer and Gaskell’s (1999) much-cited paper Towards a paradigm for research in social representations. It examines both the main theoretical contribution of the paper (the project in representation) and the methodological guidelines that the paper puts forward, considering the impact of both of these in the field of social representations. It argues that there is considerably more conceptual and empirical work to be done on the interesting concept of the project, and also focuses on the issue of the ‘disinterested research attitude’ which Bauer and Gaskell (1999) propose, suggesting that this is more controversial than the rest of their methodological discussion.

Author Biography

Juliet H. Foster, University of Cambridge

JULIET FOSTER is a Lecturer in Social Psychology at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Her research interests include social representations theory, especially issues surrounding genesis and change. Much of her work has also focused on social perspectives on mental health, although she has broader interests in the experience and understanding of health issues in general.