Introduction: The relation between Social Representation Theory and Positioning Theory

  • Luk van Langenhove Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Deborah Wise University of Newcastle, Australia
Keywords: positioning theory, social representation theory


This special issue of Papers on Social Representation is devoted to Positioning Theory (PT). For some readers, this might look odd: what does PT have to do with social representation theory (SRT)? This introduction will answer that question by first introducing PT, secondly by explaining how both theories relate to each other as they each focus upon one dimension of social situation: respectively the moral order in play and knowledge available. Most of the papers gathered here have been presented at the second PT conference that was held on 9‐12th July, 2017, at Linacre College, Oxford University, UK.

Author Biographies

Luk van Langenhove, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

LUK VAN LANGENHOVE, PhD, is Academic Commissioner for International institutes and Networks at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Between December 2017 and January 2019, he served as Academic Director at the Institute for European Studies (IES) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). He previously held the position of Director at the United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS) in Bruges. He currently also teaches at the VUB and has been teaching at the College of Europe, the University of Maastricht and Université Libre de Bruxelles. Since 2018 he is a honorary professorial fellow at Warwick University (

Deborah Wise, University of Newcastle, Australia

DEBORAH WISE, PhD, is an academic in communication at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Deborah’s research interests are in the area of public relations/strategic communication, and she has published in the areas of health, risk, and political communication. Her doctoral thesis applied positioning theory to analyse the strategic positioning of carbon mitigation policies by political leaders in Australia. Dr Wise has also held high-level strategic communication roles outside of academia, and she brings this experience to her research and teaching. Her current research applies positioning theory to examine inter-cultural communication within the context of higher education teaching and learning. (