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Title: Conformation and individuation in social representation : the case of the UK National Lottery
Author: Devine-Wright, Hannah
ISNI:       0000 0001 3423 0056
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1998
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The primary objective of this thesis was to elaborate upon the theory of social representations (TSR). A systematic, multi-methodological empirical approach facilitated an investigation of the relationship between conformation, individuation and social representation. Conformation referred to the form adopted by a social representation, at a given point in time; individuation concerned the relationship between acceptance of a social representation and individual factors; social representation was operationally defined as an active system of transformation of social knowledge, constrained by socio-cultural affordances, that originated in and facilitated communication between people about unfamiliar phenomena. The resulting social representation was seen to provide a network of shared meaning that linked symbolic and unconscious realms with the experience of particular objects, events or people. A series of three, field-based qualitative studies informed the development of a fourth quantitative study. In the first study, salient aspects and common terminology associated with the UK National Lottery were explored using focus groups. Societal level communication was investigated in the second study using media content analysis of three national newspapers. The third study used semi-structured interviews about day dreaming to explore the content and function of relatively ignored, unconscious processes in social representation. Issues of conformation and individuation were addressed in detail within the final study using a questionnaire and a variety of analytic procedures. The substantive target for this research was the UK National Lottery (NL). Launched in November 1994, the clearly defined starting point permitted an investigation of the genesis and development of opinions about a novel social entity. A systematic combination of qualitative and quantitative methods and appropriate forms of analysis established conformation and individuation in the NL social representation. Position relative to dimensions underlying the social representation was related to action, in the form of degree of participation in lottery-related activities (including unconscious elaboration during day dreaming), and levels of global and lottery-specific self-esteem. The findings were discussed in relation to conceptualising TSR, using multi-levels of analysis and the influence of individual factors on social representation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sociology