Decline of collective national identities, imaginaries and social representation

  • Alfredo Guerrero Tapia Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Keywords: social representations, identity, imaginaries, emotions, globalization, civilization crisis


The main thesis this work puts forth and argues for is that currently we witness fracturing and declining processes that are due, mainly, to the emergence and propagation of individualism, the normalisation of merchandise and services, and the standardization of ideologies and culture. Emotions play an essential role in the fracturing and deteriorating processes of nationalist identities and imaginaries. These processes are discussed by retrieving the approaches of Dominique Moïsi’s work The Geopolitics of Emotion and Tzvetan Todorov’s The Fear of Barbarians as guiding lines. Concomitantly, new identities emerge as a product of globalization and a civilizing crisis. Certain features of these causal phenomena are discussed and analysed, considering them the original sources that produce the contents of social representations, “multiple identities”, and recently created imaginaries. The thesis is brought forth that the knowledge of common sense has been altered in its two basic processes: anchorage and objectification. This is due to new forms of communication spreading worldwide and the new contents that are produced in social relations within groups, such as individualism and mercantile mediations in subjectivities, as well as the cultural standardization that accompanies the production and consumption of new merchandise in international exchange. The conclusion is that there is need to revisit the theory of social representations by bringing up the problems of its basic processes and its relation to imaginaries and collective identities. 

Author Biography

Alfredo Guerrero Tapia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

ALFREDO GUERRERO TAPIA has been acquainted with the Theory of Social Representations since the 1980s. After ten years, he met Professor Denise Jodelet, with whom he trained and co-edited the book “Develando la Cultura. Estudios en Representaciones Sociales” [Revealing Culture. Studies on Social Representations] (2000). Under the auspices of the Maison des Sciences de L’Homme and the Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale in Paris, he took part in the international research group that developed the study on Latin American imaginaries and social representations. This research was reported in the book “Imaginarios sociales y Representaciones Sociales” [Social imaginaries and Social Representations] (2007). Professor Guerrero Tapia is a founding member of the Mexican Centre for the Studies of Social Representations and of the Mexican National Network of Researchers on Social Representations, which bring together Mexican researchers. He is currently developing research projects focused on social representations, imaginaries and archetypes of violence.