Title

Collective representations as a metaconstruct : an analysis based on methodological relationalism

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Culture and Psychology

Publication Date

9-1-1998

Volume

4

Issue

3

First Page

349

Last Page

368

Keywords

Collective representations, Collectivism, Individual representations, Individualism, Metaconstruct, Methodological relationalism

Abstract

The authors discern an emerging paradigmatic shift in psychology: from methodological individualism to methodological relationalism, which asserts that social behavior invariably takes place in relational contexts, regardless of socioeconomic or cultural variations. Informed by methodological relationalism, we revisit the debate over collective representations, regarded as a metaconstruct designating collective representations as members of a class of constructs. This class may be restricted to constructs designating shared meanings and reality (e.g. knowledge, beliefs and values) among a collectivity of individuals. The article is then devoted to a clarification of what is meant by 'shared meanings and reality' and 'collectivity'. A study of two particular collective representations, individualism and collectivism, follows. We present a method for obtaining variant estimates of three variables: (a) collective sharing, (b) representations of generalized others, and (c) collective nonconformity. Having outlined a procedure for approximating collective representations through a summation of individual representations, we pose a challenge to methodological holists to be more explicit in delineating the emergent properties of collective representations.

DOI

10.1177/1354067X9800400304

Print ISSN

1354067X

Publisher Statement

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Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Language

English

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