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versión On-line ISSN 1668-7027


CASTORINA, José Antonio  y  BARREIRO, Alicia Viviana. Individuation process of social representations: History and reformulation of a problem. Interdisciplinaria [online]. 2010, vol.27, n.1, pp.63-75. ISSN 1668-7027.

The aim of this paper is to clarify the process by which individuals transform social representations while appropriating them and the way in which social representations influence on individual actions. Specifically, we will try to answer the following questions: Which are the characteristics of this process? Is it about active or passive internalization? Is it possible to study the concept of individuación (individuation) of social representations from a psychological point of view, regarding the concept itself and its formulation by social psychologies or is it necessary to reformulate it? Does the study of this process involve some kind of interdisciplinary activity? For this purpose, we shall raise the theoretical developments of two contemporary exponents of Psychology. On one hand, Duveen (2001) deals with the problem from the view of Social Psychology, appealing to Developmental Psychology as an instrument and he thinks of individuation amid interpersonal relationships. In this way he remarks that social representations do not act with regard to isolated individuals, but they rather act in pare interaction situations, resulting in the intervention of social and individual restrictions. However he is not able to specify the individuation process of social representations because he cannot adopt the child's point of view, in the way in which developmental psychology does. On the other hand, Valsiner (2003) deals with this problem from the perspective of developmental Cultural Psychology, focusing on the regulation of the flow of intrapersonal experience. His aim is to overcome the static version of social representations that have prevailed in empirical research. From his disciplinary perspective he considers social representations as social semiotic mediation artifacts, that enable individuals to pre-adapt to future events, making the experience of stability possible and integrating future anticipations of future and memories of the past. So, social representation constrains possibilities of action, enabling individual social representation to emerge. The author's main merit is the modification of Social Psychology standard version about the intra-subjective, because he analyzes the process by which an individual uses social representation to organize their experience. However, it is doubtful the use of certain typical concepts of the social representation theory that he uses and reformulates in terms of Developmental Psychology. The analysis of the arguments puts forward by both authors enable us to conclude that the problem of individuation leads to inevitable difficulties for those who deal with any of the mentioned disciplines. Despite researchers move in different problematic spaces, they share a common epistemic frame: the ontological assumption about a dialectic articulation between individual and society or between inter and intra subjective process. Therefore, we advocate for interdisciplinary activity, which is not only a rhetoric resource, but a base in a theoretical and methodological interchange at the moment of delimiting the object of study and to think of the research design. This resource will only be valid if it is focused from the perspective of conceptual discussion and empiric research based on a common epistemic framework. The problem of individuation refers to an object of study constituted by a system of interactions which components should be defined during the investigation itself. Now we face the challenge of studying complex systems. We consider that a dialogue between social and developmental psychologies has started and this should lead to the undertaking of joint investigations, which in time will become the right path for building a plausible explanation for this problem.

Palabras clave : Social representations; Individuation process; Developmental psychology; Cultural psychology.

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