PS410      Half Unit
Social Representations

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Sandra Jovchelovitch QUE.3.25


This course is available on the MSc in Culture and Society, MSc in Health, Community and Development, MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology, MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology and MSc in Social and Public Communication. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

To acquaint students with the theory of social representations and its multiple fields of application emphasising how it contributes to the understanding of the production, transformation and contestation of knowledge systems in the contemporary world.


This course provides students with extensive knowledge of the theory of social representations. This is a theory of both social knowledge (highlighting the construction, negotiation and contestation of different knowledge systems) and social change (highlighting the interplay between social and community identities and relations of power). The course covers 4 parts. 1: The theory of social representations and its history, covering the theory's ancestors (Durkheim, Weber, Piaget, Vygotsky, Lévy-Bruhl and Freud) and recent developments. 2: Classical studies in social representations - their methodology and findings, including representations of madness, psychoanalysis, health and illness, the environment and nature. 3: Fields of application, covering health, community, education, multiculture, and racism. 4: Criticisms and points of development, including critiques of the theory, the relationship between theory and method and the critical development of the theory.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

An essay plan of not more than 500 words is required.

Indicative reading

Key texts: S Moscovici, Social Representations, 2000; D Jodelet, Madness and Social Representations, Harvester/Wheatsheaf, 1991; S Jovchelovitch, Knowledge in Context: Representations, community and culture, Routledge, 2006; W Wagner and N Hayes, Everyday Discourse and Common Sense, Palgrave, 2005; I. Marková, Dialogicality and Social Representations, CUP, 2003; K Deaux & G Philogène, Representations of the Social: Bridging Theoretical Perspectives, Basil Blackwell, 2001.


Other texts: R M Farr & S Moscovici (Eds), Social Representations, Cambridge University Press, 1984; Howarth, C. (2006). "A social representation is not a quiet thing": Exploring the critical potential of social representations theory." British Journal of Social Psychology. I Marková & S Jovchelovitch (Guest Editors) Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, Special Issue on Psychoanalysis: its Image and its Public, 38(4) 2008; S Moscovici, The Age of the Crowd: A Historical Treatise on Mass Psychology, Cambridge University Press, 1985; I Marková & R M Farr (Eds), Representations of Health, Illness and Handicap, Harwood, 1994; H Joffe, Risk and 'The Other', CUP, 1999.


Coursework (100%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 26.7
Merit 65
Pass 8.3
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Social Psychology

Total students 2014/15: 15

Average class size 2014/15: 14

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Lecture capture used 2014/15: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills