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Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch

Sandra joined the Department of Social Psychology in 1995, having been previously a lecturer at the Institute of Psychology of PUC-RS, Brazil. A social and clinical psychologist by training, her research focuses on the social psychology of public spheres, community development, social representations theory and the socio-cultural context of knowledge development and transformation. Sandra has held visiting professorships in France, Brazil and Sweden and advised a wide range of Brazilian and international organisations including UNESCO and WHO. She continues to hold strong teaching and research links in her native Brazil and Latin America as a whole.

In 2012 Sandra was made a Fellow of the British Psychological Society in recognition for her expertise and contribution to the field of social and cultural psychology.

Alongside an extensive number of journal articles, her books include Social Representations and the Public Sphere: the symbolic construction of public spaces in Brazil (In Portuguese, Vozes, 2000); Textos em Representações Sociais (in Portuguese, Vozes, 1994, now in its 15th reprint); Knowledge in Context: Representations, community and culture (Routledge, 2007; Portuguese translation, Vozes, 2008) and Underground Sociabilities: identity, culture and resistance in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas (UNESCO, 2013, with J Priego-Hernandez; Portuguese edition, UNESCO, 2013). In preparation is ‘How Communities Think’, a monograph surveying the de-legitimisation of collective forms of thinking and the processes whereby communities share knowledge. Her overall research and intellectual project are firmly grounded on the idea of psychology as a societal and cultural science.

Recent and current research projects include:

Underground Sociabilities|

Communicating Bottom-up| Social Development: A dialogue between multiple stakeholders in the UK and Brazil

Kids Company: A diagnosis of the organisation and its interventions|

Cost Action IS 1205: Social and psychological dynamics of historical representations in the enlarged European Union|

Children and the Public Sphere|

She directs the MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology| and supervises doctoral students working in the field of social representations, community development, knowledge encounters and the social psychology of public spheres.

I was educated in Brazil and the UK. I trained as a clinical social psychologist at the Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (PUC-RS), where I received my BSc, License (Licenciatura) and MSc degrees in Psychology. I lectured there until coming to the LSE in the early 1990s to conduct research towards a PhD. In 1995 I was appointed a Lecturer in the Department of Social Psychology and since then the School became my intellectual home.

I have always been intrigued and fascinated by how social and cultural contexts shape the types of beings we are.
My professional career and life experience have been fundamentally shaped by transitions between two countries, the UK and Brazil. Having grown up and spent my formative years in Brazil, a country marked by sharp social disparities and an amazing combination of peoples and cultures, I wanted to understand better how these contextual elements shape the psychology of individuals and communities.  As many psychologists of my generation in Brazil, I was also deeply concerned with the uses of psychology in social settings and with how psychology can contribute to alleviating social inequalities.

Before coming to the UK to pursue my doctoral studies I taught at the Institute of Psychology of PUC-RS and worked as a clinical social psychologist on primary mental health care with deprived communities and towards the de-institutionalization of people with mental illness. Working and researching in psychiatric settings and deprived communities increased my appreciation of the limitations of a purely traditional clinical approach as the answer to the urgent needs of excluded populations. I became interested in social and cultural psychology, convinced of the need for developing academic work towards a new psychology, and never looked back.

I have served in the editorial boards of the European Journal of Social Psychology, Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, Mind, Culture and Activity, Psicologia e Sociedade, amongst others, and direct a book series on Contemporary Social Psychology for the Brazilian publishing house Vozes. I have held a professorial appointment at the Maison de Sciences de l'Homme and under the auspices of the Brazilian National Council for Science and Technology (CNPq), teach regularly in Brazil as a Visiting Professor. I have strong links with Brazil, both through my research and teaching, working closely with colleagues at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.  

As an LSE academic I continue to work towards the development of a societal and cultural psychology and am convinced that psychology must occupy a firm place among the social sciences. My two most recent projects on Underground Sociabilities| and the model of work of Kids Company| exemplify my efforts to put my research into the public sphere and work towards the development of societal psychology.

My research is both theoretical and applied. It focuses on the interrelations between knowledge and social and cultural contexts. My approach to the study of knowledge in context is based on the theory of social representations and socio-cultural theories of mind and action. Central to my thinking have been the influences of Piaget, Vygotsky, Freud, Moscovici, Freire and Habermas. My empirical projects, both present and past, have been informed and at the same time helped to form this approach. My research interests focus on:

  • the context and development of social representations
  • the social psychology of communities and public spheres
  • participation, citizenship and social change
  • intercultural dialogue and communication as tools for human development

Click on the books below to read or know more:

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Projects

Past projects that you can read involve The Health Beliefs of the Chinese Community in England| and Kids Company: A diagnosis of the organisation and its interventions|.

Current projects include:

1) Underground sociabilities: identity, culture and resistance in marginalised communities

Funded by Itaú Social Foundation| in Brazil, this project investigated how grassroots cultural groups in Brazilian favelas use art and local knowledge as resources to fight off marginalisation and establish a dialogue with the mainstream societal order that excludes them. We explored forms of sociability that remain invisible and underground in relation to mainstream societies, with a focus on how alternative routes of integration and socialisation are developed by communities living in conditions of extreme social exclusion and deprivation. The project involved a collaborative partnership between LSE, AfroReggae|CUFA|Itaú Cultural,  |Itaú Social|UNESCO| as well as the institutional support of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro|

Click here| to visit the project’s website.

2) Communicating Bottom-up Social Development: A dialogue between multiple stakeholders in the UK and Brazil

The main objective of this Knowledge Exchange project is to develop further a platform for dialogue between multiple stakeholders in the UK and Brazil based on LSE research about social development in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. Central to it is what Brazil and the UK can teach each other in terms of ground level efforts that establish new dialogues between bottom-up initiatives, the third sector, the state and the private sector.

During the Underground Sociabilities| project we have amassed new evidence about what makes bottom up initiatives effective, and how these can make a contribution to re-drawing urban frontiers and establishing new conversations between the state, community action and the private sector. Funded by the LSE HEIF5| Fund, the objectives of the project seek to capitalise on these developments and produce further tangible outputs and policy building.

Visit the project’s blog Favelas@LSE.

3) Children and the public sphere

This project is researching how young children, in different countries, represent community and public worlds. It is mapping how different social and cultural milieus and different age groups shape the trajectory from subjective to inter-subjective and external worlds that characterise the development of children. We have constructed an international data base of children's drawings and verbal constructions about the public sphere. Data collection has taken place in Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Romania, Lebanon and Palestine, with plans to start gathering drawings soon in India, China and Turkey.

Click here| to read ‘Constructing public worlds: culture and socio-economic context in the development of children's representations of the public sphere’. 

4) Cost Action IS 1205: Social and psychological dynamics of historical representations in the enlarged European Union

This is a pan-European project involving collaboration between social psychologists and historians. It explores how historical representations and constructions of the past shape the formation of identities and the dynamic of inter-group relations both within and across national borders. Funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology|, the project is allowing scholars to meet and network in order to expand existing knowledge regarding the psychological processes involved in the development and maintenance of lay representations of history.

Click here| to visit Cost Action IS 1205 website, and here| to read my paper on history and social representations.

PhD students

I supervise PhD students in a variety of fields of research in social and cultural psychology, including social representations, community, social change, health, the social psychology of public spheres, the socio-cognitive development of knowledge, children's representations, dialogue and perspective-taking. I expect my PhD students to engage with my research interests and to become active members of our research environment.  

My PhD students present and past:

Natalia Concha (The psychosocial transitioning of the maternal self, in progress).

Vlad Glaveanu| (Creativity and culture: towards a cultural psychology of creativity in folk art).

Shira Keshet (Social representations of multiculturalism in Israel, in progress).

Ingrid LeDuc (Social representation of human rights: the case of the 'patrona' and 'muchacha’ relationship in Mexico).

Anabella M. Nuila Hernández (Representations of reproductive health: a study about a Mayan community in the western highlands of Guatemala).

Jacqueline Priego Hernández (Sexual and reproductive health among indigenous Mexican adolescents: a socio-representational perspective).

Alicia Renedo-Udaondo| (Social representations and homelessness: a study on the construction of expert knowledge).

Jane Roberts (Paediatric bipolar disorder in the US and UK: representations of an emerging and contested diagnosis, in progress).

Gordon Sammut |(The point of view: towards a social psychology of relativity).

Asi Sharabi (Behind the narrative bars; taking the perspective of the other in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: case study with Israeli children).

Mi Zhao (Citizenship as Social Representation: Forging Political Mindedness in Rural China, in progress).

Teaching

I direct the MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology| and convene its core course Contemporary Social and Cultural Psychology (PS400|). I also teach in all the core courses of our other three MSc programmes – Organisational and Social Psychology, Social and Public Communication and Health Community and Development. In the Lent Term I run two half-unit courses on Representations, Institutions and Communities (PS437|) and Social Representations (PS410|).   

I love teaching and consider a real privilege to have the opportunity of meeting the exceptional students who come to the LSE. I was quite thrilled when I received the LSE Teaching Prize for outstanding teaching performance. Teaching keeps my research and intellectual concerns alive and it is thanks to my students that I have managed to clarify a great deal of my ideas.

For a list of all my publications and full-text open access retrieval, visit my profile in LSE Research Online|

Bellow you will find a selection of my most recent work:

Books

Jovchelovitch, S. , & Priego-Hernandez, J. (2013). Underground Sociabilities: Identity, Culture and Resistance in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas|. Brasilia: UNESCO. ISBN 978-85-7652-180-8 (English); 978-85-7652-179-2 (Portuguese). Click here to read Portuguese version.| to read Portuguese version.

Moscovici, S., Jovchelovitch, S. & Wagoner, B. (2013). Development as Social Process: Contributions of Gerard Duveen|. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-63459-5.

Jovchelovitch, S. (2007). Knowledge in context: representations, community, and culture .| London: Routledge. ISBN 0415287340

Gervais, M-C.& Jovchelovitch, S. (1998). The health beliefs of the Chinese community in England: a qualitative research study |. Health Education Authority. London, England. ISBN 0752111817

Refereed Articles

Aveling, E.-L.  & Jovchelovitch, S. (2014). Partnerships as knowledge encounters: a psychosocial theory of partnerships for health and community development. Journal of Health Psychology, 19(1), 34-45. ISSN 1359-1053. Click here| to read.

Jovchelovitch, S.,  Priego-Hernández, J. & Glăveanu, V. P. (2013). Constructing public worlds: culture and socio-economic context in the development of children's representations of the public sphere. Culture & Psychology, 19(3), 323-347. ISSN 1354-067X. Click here to read. Click here| to read.

Howarth, C.,  Campbell, C., Cornish, F., Franks, B., Garcia-Lorenzo, L., Gillespie, A., Gleibs, I. H.,Goncalves-Portelinha, I., Jovchelovitch, S., Lahlou, S., Mannell, J. C., Reader, T. W. & Tennant, C. (2013). Insights from societal psychology: a contextual politics of societal change. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 1(1), 364-384. ISSN 2195-3325. Click here| to read.

Jovchelovitch, S.  (2012). Narrative, memory and social representations: a conversation between history and social psychology. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 46(4), 440-456. ISSN 1932-4502. Click here| to read.

Jovchelovitch, S.  (2010). From social cognition to the cognition of the social: remembering Gerard Duveen. Papers on Social Representations, 19, 3.1-3.10. ISSN 1021-5573. Click here| to read.

Jovchelovitch, S.  (2008). Rehabilitation of common sense: social representations, science and cognitive polyphasia. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 38(4), 431-449. ISSN 0021-8308. Click here| to read.

Renedo, A. &  Jovchelovitch, S. (2007)  Expert knowledge, cognitive polyphasia and health: a study on social representations of homelessness among professionals working in the voluntary sector in London. Journal of Health Psychology, 12(5), 779-790. ISSN 1461-7277. Click here| to read.

Book Sections

Jovchelovitch, S. & Glăveanu, V. P. (2012). Motivation and Social Representations. In R.Harré and F. Mogadham (eds.), Psychology for the Third Millenium: Integrating Cultural and Neuroscience Perspectives (pp. 166-181). London: Sage. Click here| to read.

Jovchelovitch, S. (2011). Communicative Action and the Dialogical Imagination. In D. Hook, B. Franks and M.W. Bauer (eds.), Social Psychology of Communication (pp. 127-151). London: Palgrave. Click here| to read.

Jovchelovitch, S.  (2008). Trust and social representations: understanding the relations between self and other in the Brazilian public sphere. In I.  Marková and A. Gillespie (eds.), Trust and distrust: sociocultural perspectives (pp.125-120). Charlotte, NC, USA: Information Age Publishing. ISBN 9781593118426. Click here| to read.

Jovchelovitch, S. (2008). Living to tell the story: Narrative, history and representations in László's psychology of stories. In O. Vincze and S. Bigazzi (eds.), Élmény, Történet – A történetek élménye. (pp. 24-31).  Busdapest: Új Mandátum Könyvkiadó. Click here| to read.

Jovchelovitch, S.  (2007). Reflections on the diversity of knowledge: power and dialogue in representational fields. In:  T. Sugiman, K. Gergen, W. Wagner and Y. Yamada (eds.), Meaning in action: constructions, narratives, and representations (pp. 23-37). Tokyo: Springer. ISBN 9784431746799.

Research Reports

Jovchelovitch, S. & Concha, N. (2013). Kids Company: a diagnosis of the organisation and its interventions. London: The London School of Economics and Political Science. Click here| to read.

Press

Jovchelovitch, S. Life and Death in the Favelas of Brazil. LSE Connect, Summer 2012. Read here|.

Jovchelovitch, S. Class Psychology. NewStatesman. 1 Oct 2007. Read here|.

Radio

BBC Radio 4's Analysis: Doesn't Everyone?  22 June 2009. Read the note and access the programme transcript here|.

Video

Underground Sociabilities – Identity and Culture in Rio’s Favelas. Watch here|

Underground Sociabilities Seminar. London, 2 November 2012. Watch here|.

Miscellaneous

eDebate on Cultural Diversity in Cities. World Urban Forum. The right to the city: bridging the urban divide. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2-26 March 2010. Read report here|.

PORTUGUESE

Press

Novos horizontes para os PhDs. Nota por Adriana Fonseca. Valor Econômico. 13 Dezembro 2012. Leia aqui|.

Favelas do Rio no radar acadêmico do Velho Mundo. Nota por Emanuel Alencar. Extra/Globo. 12 Setembro 2012. Leia aqui|.

Sandra Jovchelovitch: ‘Há simetria entre o comportamento da população e o dos políticos no Brasil’. Entrevista realizada por Fernanda Mena. Barão em foco. 7 Dezembro 2010. Leia aqui|.

Video

Jovchelovitch, S. Conferência “Os contextos do saber: representações, communidade e cultura”. 3º Festival de Teatro de Rua de Porto Alegre. Abril 2011. Assista aqui|.

Jovchelovitch, S. Conferência “Representações sociais e espaço público: a construção simbólica dos espaços públicos no Brasil”. 2º Festival de Teatro de Rua de Porto Alegre. Abril 2010. Assista aqui|, ou visite FTRPA1 channel| no YouTube.

Jovchelovitch, S. Os Contextos do Saber/Knowledge in Context in Comportamento. Entrevista realizada por Tânia Carvalho. Radio Gaúcha, Brazil. 7 Abril 2008. Assista aqui|.

 

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sANDRAjOVCHLEOVITCH

Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch

Director of the Social and Cultural Psychology programme.

"My overall project, present in my teaching, research and applied work, is firmly grounded on the idea of psychology as a societal and cultural science"

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