Communication, Social Representations and Prevention - Information Polarization on COVID-19 in Brazil
Since December 2019, the world has followed the advancement of a potentially lethal acute infectious disease, a subject that has been highlighted in the media and social networks. The COVID-19 pandemic is a new phenomenon that affects the population globally. Being at the interface between the individual and the social, it is an object of interest for studying from the perspective of social representations (SRs), whose theoretical contribution may help understand prevention or therapeutic practices in the healthcare field. The circulation of information via different communication channels shows an interaction between science and common sense in the construction of SRs. In turn, intergroup contexts play an important role in the way information is organized and signified as SRs, which are not always hegemonic. In the Brazilian context, the pandemic arrival was followed by disagreements between the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and the federal government's discourse on the pandemic, reflecting the polarization of opinions regarding prevention strategies. The representation of COVID-19 as a ‘health crisis’ or as an ‘economic crisis’ involves different forms of anchoring linked to identity processes, and may imply different degrees of adherence to prevention practices, reflecting the current political polarization scenario.