Social Representations as Cognitive-Emotional Processes: An Integrative Approach Proposal
One of the main focuses of the theory of Social Representations (SRs) consists of examining its sensitivity to context immediacy. Arising from everyday life, emotions could be particularly relevant to this aim as they could constitute modalities through which SRs can emerge, be reinforced, or be transformed. The inherently unstable nature of reality requires a signaling system of this variability. The general assumption is that emotions provide, at an individual level, a signaling function of the relevance of SRs in the social integration of reality. Triggering this signal function, the role of tension lies at the heart of the process. With the emotion-driven tension, we approach SRs as cognitive-emotional processes of construction, conservation, and transformation of social knowledge. We, therefore, situate the study of the relationships between SRs and emotions in a conceptual approach to the dynamics of stability and change.
Considering SRs as dynamic objects of social change, this article proposes to conceptualize SRs as cognitive-emotional processes by promoting an integrative model grounded on a socio-constructivist as well as a discursive perspective. In this model, emotions are addressed as individual dispositions at the service of the sociogenesis of SRs. Occurring from individual experience, they contribute through their sharing to the construction of social knowledge. Implications of this conceptual proposal for SR theory are discussed.