The power of the image: the role of social representations

  • Cathy Nicholson London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Sarah H. Awad Aalborg University
Keywords: Social representations, Social imaginary, social image, graphic imagery, figurative nucleus, themata, photojournalism


The theory of social representations has offered a significant and nuanced theoretical framework to gather and interpret knowledge across a wide range of subjects and mediums in order to discuss how different social and material contexts are perceived for the purpose of providing a meaningful foundation to a given reality. The theory has been critiqued and expanded hugely to provide a rich source of intellectual enquiry within social psychology and beyond. However, one area that has received scant attention, is the significance of graphic imagery as a source of data from which to explore social representations within the public consciousness. As imagery in media and social media has become an extension of perceptions of a given social reality, this special issue aims to fill this gap to explore how the power of the image can reflect the diffusion of social representations across our often politicised social and cultural worlds.