The Construction of Citizenship. An Approach from the Social Representations of Participation and Social Memory.

  • Maria Estela Ortega Rubí Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León. México
Keywords: social representation, social memory, citizenship, participation


Postmodern social problems include: multiple identities marked by a strategic political system and market rationality; the depoliticization of citizenship, stressing the political prestige and selflessness for the common good; and the political, economic and social crisis of the nation states. These are some of the lines of inquiry that lead us to investigate the meaning of citizen participation and active policy through social representations and social memory. When looking at the construction of citizenship, these approaches are conducive to a view of participation as an essential tool for strengthening practical civic and political culture. This research focused its analysis on the social representations of the participation of young people, and how they guide their styles and participative practices. It highlights their attitudes, motivations, and expectations. This psychosocial analysis aims to situate the context of the construction of citizenship, and the process of societal change, that is, of what we have called ‘the paradigm from the individual to the social’. We are dealing with social representations (Castorina, Barreiro & Toscano, 2005; Moscovici, 1961) of participative and non-participative subject participation, and discussions of social memory (Jodelet, 1993). The hypothesis is that the participating subjects do not integrate a reference to historical thought in their social representations. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 40 participating subjects and distributed a questionnaire to 300 subjects from the population of Monterrey and its metropolitan area. The interviews were analyzed using content analysis, and descriptive statistics were used to present the questionnaire findings. The results confirm the hypothesis and show that historical thought is not present in the social representations of citizen participation (Carretero & Voss, 2004). This provides scope for critical reflection. It is concluded that historical thought is not a necessary element for the formation of a shared identity or for the construction of citizenship, in the case of the population studied.

Author Biography

Maria Estela Ortega Rubí, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León. México

PhD in Social Psychology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences (EHESS), Paris, France in the year 2000, under the direction of Serge Moscovici. DEA in Social Psychology under the direction of Serge Moscovici by the École des Hautes Études en Sciences (EHESS). Paris France. Degree in Social Psychology from the Autonomous Metropolitan University-Iztapalapa, México. Since 2001, she is a full-time exclusive professor-researcher at the Autonomous University of Nuevo León, México attached to the Social Research Institute. Since 2002-2018, she has been a member of the National System of Researchers. Since 2010 she has been the General Coordinator of the National Network of Researchers in Social Representations-RENIRS-CEMERS, Mexico ( Since 2014 she is a member of the International Scientific Committee of the Réseau Mondial (World Network) Serge Moscovici. Fondation Maison des Sciences de L'Homme, Paris, France From 1997-2005 she was a member of the international research group (LEPS) of the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme - Paris, France. Email: ,