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Compassion And Social Representation Theory

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About in 1998-1999, there was a company, named Central Model Agency in Bratislava; they were approaching young “good-looking” people to become models. It was by pure choice of agent to choose someone who would look good on screen. If an approached individual has been accompanied by someone, who did not necessarily match the required criteria. The agent was able to tell them that they do not look good enough for modeling. It was almost 20 male agents who were models themselves. The story shows how men have failed to be compassionate. If they were more compassionate, they would try to think more about their targets. Then, they would realize that no person wanted to walk through a cloud of men desperate to reach targets and would try to thin out their number or put them aside.


As is widely understood, compassion is a capacity to feel what the others are feeling. For example, he or she also feels the pain when a person sees another person in pain. It is possible to see the very act of modeling itself as the act of compassion. When an individual feels what the other individual feels, he or she creates the other person’s model and attempts to integrate it into their mental procedures. As a result, this affects how the next individual would behave.

Compassion and Anthropology

Although the Bush article Shakespeare is not a purely scholarly article, it gives an insight into how compassion works and the model. The article’s prerequisite is easy. The article’s author, Bohannan (1966), who was an anthropologist studying Tiv, an African tribe, tried to say the tribe Hamlet’s tale. Bohannan had the feeling that Shakespearean tales were universal and could be understood by everyone. She was proved wrong, though, when she tried to say the tribe the tale. From the original, the version of Hamlet told to the tribesmen was totally skewered.

The storytelling was controlled by the culture of the elder and the tribe. This implied that Bohannan’s storytelling was well subject to scrutiny by her audience, unlike Western-style storytelling where the narrator almost has complete control over the tale. She was often interrupted and told how to interpret Hamlet correctly. The tribe was also much more forgiving, though. Although the elders are disrupted many times,

Also, the tribe insisted on the tales had ‘full’ information; this meant that details such as genealogy and how minor characters died were also essential. When Bohannan was unable to offer the information on certain components of the tales (because Shakespeare did not write those sections), the elders would immediately fill in the gap. An elder even took over her storytelling at one point and tried to fill in the subplots that Shakespeare didn’t bother with (Bohannan) coming up with.

Something could be agreed on by both cultures, though: Polonius was a fool.

Although anecdotal, this tale obviously shows how compassion works. Bohannan and the audience do not have each other’s right modeling, which derails the storytelling. As a consequence, the story becomes totally skewered. However, the tribe’s interruption has an interesting effect: the story becomes much richer. Whereas Shakespeare’s stories would not delve too much into minor details, the tribe would try to fill them up as much as possible.

Compassion Control

When individuals speak of compassion, they would mostly speak from the angle of ‘good vs. evil.’ This opinion, however, is somewhat disturbing because it’s hard to speak about what are good and bad. In the hindsight, an apparently excellent action may seem bad. By letting them go, somebody can rescue caged primates, and this may seem like a healthy action. However, if it turns out that the primates need human care and can not survive on their own in the wild, it can also be a poor action.

A fresh measure of compassion is therefore required. The writer proposes to use the skill idea that existed in the literature of Buddhism. Rather than attempting to view compassion from a normative point of perspective, it should be regarded in relation to something like a timeframe, hindsight or action outcome. Skillfulness cannot be officially spelled out, like Darwin’s fitness requirements and Vervaeke’s idea of relevance realization (Vervaeke, Lilicrap & Richards, 2012). One can say, however, that skill is aimed to generate activities suitable to circumstances such as how Darwin’s fitness requirements aim to create organisms capable of surviving the ever-changing world.

Compassion is not the only modeling system used. Other mechanisms also exist. There’s also an empathy that’s a capacity to feel the way others do. When somebody models a destination, empathy shines on the target and compassion is then used to build the model. Also at stake is mindfulness, a notion suggested by Langer (1989). Caution is a capacity to be open about options (Langer, 1989) It is helpful for modeling regulation. In some cases, the target may have more than one possible models and awareness allows the source to alternate between the models. An instance would be an off-duty scotlandyard officer in a late shop hanging around. In this situation, he or she is working with a civilian mindset. Where, he or she is modeling individuals as strangers around him or her. If one of those individuals turns out to be a thief, however, the scotlandyard can move to the modeling of the stranger and apprehend the thief. Mindfulness also cuts down insignificant models, as its job is to ensure that only an adequate number of decisions can be made. Mindfullness in res

Overall, not only is skill the measure of compassion, but it is also a measure of other psychological behavior such as awareness and realization of significance. His vague nature therefore derives from the reality that it is an emerging method itself. Since there is no single skill-consuming method, it must come from different sources.

To connect this with compassion, you first need to learn about compassion for yourself. Self-compassion is about displaying kindness to one-self to better address the adverse elements of one’s self (Neff & Lamb, 2009). In another phrase, in order to communicate with the self, it is an effort to model the self.

A narcissistic person’s self-compassion would be unskilled. His or her self-modeling is great and brittle. A narcissist would then depend on other people’s designs to preserve the model to deal with the fragility of his or her modeling. Since a narcissist lacks empathy, however, he or she often lacks compassion to communicate meaningfully with other individuals and gain skillful models from others. So their fragile self-model can not be saved because it needs other people’s significant models to keep it. A skilled self-expertcompassion would not rely on the other people’s help and would use mindfulness to balance alternative models of self.

Social representation theory

Historical Origin of the Concept

There is a connection between the concept of social representations and the concept of ‘collective representations’ by Durkheim, which refers to common ways of conceiving, thinking and evaluating social reality (Nemedi, 1995).

However, this notion by Durkheim is too static in relation to how we should understand modern society, according to Moscovici (2000). He argues that it does not capture the dynamics of and changeable personality, nor the variability and plurality of social cognitions of the era we now life in. Therefore, he indicates the fresh notion of ‘social representation’ to include all this. As stated by Markova (2003: 121), social representations can even be regarded as evolving through communication as ‘thought in motion.’

Moscovici researched the spread in French culture of psychoanalytic thinking by the press and the conversion into common sensory social depictions (Moscovici 2007/1961). Such health and unhealthy depictions are typical places where science expertise has an significant part to play. Climate change is a modern problem of great importance where we can observe how science, politics, mass media and everyday knowledge meet and new social representations arise.

Individuals also contribute to the creation of social representations in the interplay between social structure and individual, according to Moscovici (2000). In contemporary so-cities the person has some autonomy and they can be modified simultaneously by assimilating social representations. Individuals are ‘free’ from traditionally binding social structures such as family, social class, and religion that were previously guided by thought and behavior (Beck & Beck-Gernsheim 2001; Giddens 1994). There is a higher degree of decision about alternative ways of living and how to get there.

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As put by Moscovici:

Individuals are faced by the organizations to which they belong with a wide range of specific expertise. Each person has to create his or her choice in a truly open representation market. (Moscovici 1984a: 963)

The theory of social representations by offering the person some space prevents social determinism and opens up procedures of conversion. But the person is still predominantly integrated in social constructions and created.

Moscovici seeks to emphasize how depictions emerge through social interaction and communication between people and organizations with the epithet ‘social.’ ‘Social’ also indicates that representations ‘ content is social. Historical, cultural and economic contexts, conditions and methods are reflected in distinct ways.

Perhaps the clearest way to overview problems with the theory of social representations is to list a set of basic concepts with discursive psychology disagreements and to indicate the arguments for discursive psychological approach.

1. Action

One of the main distinctions between the theory of social representation and discursive psychology is the way they characterize action and the comparative significance they attach to it. In Diskursive Psychology, action is conceptualized in terms of the vast array of practical, technical, and interpersonal activities individuals undertake while living their relationships, doing their employment, and participating in diverse cultural fields. Action (practices, doing things–the exact word is not intended to hold weight here) is essential to the life of people, and therefore central to understanding those lifes. Wagner was not the first to notice that no elaborate account of action is provided by Social Representation Theory (cf. Wagner, 1998). This inability to theorize action is at the core of a spectrum of issues; it contributes in specific to methodological blind spots, promotes drift towards cognitive reductionism, and places important constraints on the theory of the key idea of representation.

2. Representation

In both Social Representation Theory and Discursive Psychology, representation is a significant concept. In every view, however, it has almost the reverse function. Representations in Social Representation Theory are mainly cognitive phenomena (although sometimes they are regarded as cultural artifacts) that allow individuals to make sense of the globe. To allow intra-group communication and provide a technical definition of the limits of social groups, the collective nature of this sense making is taken. Representations of discursive psychology are discursive objects that individuals build in speech and texts. Analysis has not focused on the role of depictions in making sense (although in theory this is not excluded), but on how representations are built as strong and factual, and how they are used in and oriented towards behavior (assigning blame, inviting, etc.). Representations are handled exactly as they are manufactured, conducted and built for their role in operations. Discursive psychologists therefore treat the exercise of knowledge as the key to understanding depictions (Potter, 1996).

3. Communication

In Social Representation Theory, facilitating intra-group communication is one of the main roles of social representations. The communication metaphor is dismissed in Diskursive Psychology as insufficient to address the complexities of action and interaction. We doubt that scientists in Social Representation Theory would be very successful if they tried to create sense of a conversational interaction transcript, say, if they tried to discern’ messages’ and locations where they are’ transmitted’ from speaker to speaker. Indeed, scientists in the theory of social representation merely prevented this issue by ignoring interaction and dismissing discussion as’ babble’ (Moscovici, 1985). Conversation thus has the anomalous stance of being at the core of Social Representation Theory as the engine for the generation and refinement of depictions and yet being a subject that has received no analytical attention and where the appropriate literature has been ignored in conversation analysis (Hutchby & Wooffitt, 1998; Sacks, 1992).

4. Cognition

The retention of key components of perceptual-cognitivism was one of the characteristics of Social Representation Theory, which attracted mainstream social cognition scientists. Perceptual cognitivism treats people as perceivers of incoming perceptual information processed in different ways (Edwards & Potter, 1992). Most of the depictions in Social Representation Theory are regarded as cognitive constructions or grids that make sense of data, especially about unfamiliar social objects. Diskursive Psychology rejects perceptual-cognitivism in favor of a systematic reformulation of cognition as a feature of the practices of respondents, where it is built, defined and directed as individuals conduct tasks. Thus, cognition is shifted from an explanatory resource to a research subject. This promotes the study of procedures and prevents a series of confusions resulting from the cognitive assessment of speech and texts (Edwards, 1997; Potter, 1998a). To paraphrase it, click the Quill It button on the right.

5. Construction

Characterizing both the theory of social representation and discursive psychology as constructionist is now widespread. Social representations are not merely handled as instruments for individuals to interpret (or misunderstand) their social worlds–they are building the nature and value of those worlds. Where social representation theory and discursive psychology vary significantly, however, is in this construction’s nature and breadth. While it is mainly a perceptual-cognitive method in Social Representation Theory (involving the anchoring and objectification processes), building in Diskursive Psychology is performed in speech and texts are created and rhetorically undermined as particular versions of the globe. Therefore, in Diskursive Psychology, building is more analytically tractable because a set of components can be used to study how representations are built, developed and undermined. Write down anything you want. To paraphrase it, click the Quill It button on the right.

6. Epistemology

The theory of social representation was created as a theory of understanding, including a consideration of distinctions between the consensual and reified universes (about common sense versus science understanding). Diskursive Psychology has not created a theory of understanding as such; rather, it has created a relativistic and reflective attitude to understanding where what counts, as knowledge in distinct social and cultural environments is part of what is at stake in discourse activities. The broad range of latest and not so latest work in the sociology of science understanding, which makes the difference between the reified and consensual universe problematic (e.g. Ashmore, 1989; Knorr Cetina, 1998; Latour, 1987), is particularly striking here. On another level, while discursive psychologists have been concerned with the reflective relationship between their own categories, claims and textual forms, and those of their participants (Ashmore, et al. 1995; Edwards, 1997; Mulkay, 1985), theorists of social representations have not been concerned with the status of their own representational practices. Problems resulting from this inattention were identified in a number of Social Representation Theory Discursive Psychology Discussions (e.g. Potter, 1996 ; McKinlay, et al., 1993).

7. Method

Research on social representation theory has used a variety of distinct techniques of social science, including surveys, interviews, tests, and ethnography. The main point of conflict with Diskursive Psychology, however, is not the choice of a specific technique, but the inability in Social Representation Theory to conceptualize the actions being performed and oriented to when respondents develop depictions in their speech or texts in any of these techniques. In attempting to use social scientific techniques to achieve hypothetical underlying, yet shared, cognitive depictions, the action orientation of accounts, descriptions and versions is systematically ignored. This may be the reason why scientists in Social Representation Theory have shied away from critical job on methodology in sociology and anthropology, which challenges the use and representation of English (e.g. Atkinson, 1990; Cicourel, 1974). Most importantly, in it’s theorizing, the theory of social representation is overwhelmingly perceptual-cognitive; while it’s analytical components are overwhelmingly discursive.

These points are connected together around the perceptual-cognitivism of social representation theory with its sense-making account of depictions, which provide a code for communication and build mental versions of the globe, and can be investigated using a variety of techniques of social science. For the above reasons, the option of Diskursive Psychology requires a systematically contrastive stance. The reasons mentioned above can be fleshed out by considering the article on various concepts of insanity in Indian discourse by Wagner et al. (1999).

It’s not just the word itself, communication. When characterizing Social Representation Theory, Moscovici relies on the entire anthropology of communication terminology. Consider the following, where Moscovici offers reasons to look beyond’ linguistic forms’: the richness and originality of meanings, this is what we are actually trying to transmit to each other. But linguistic forms in this communication are not enough to clarify how to receive and then understand the transmitted message. Why? Because before transmitting it or receiving it, we conduct many more practical activities on it…. Too often a message’s communication does not coincide with correctly talking language communication. (1994: 164-5) This is illustrated by the difficulty in offering a clear definition of even the seemingly simple concept of’ conversational subject’ (Jefferson, 1993).

Recent commentators on the theory of social representation have suggested that the powerful constructionism and relativism of discursive psychology is self-refuting and does not allow for political engagement (Wagner, 1998; Moscovici & Markova, 1998). There is no room for these points to be addressed in complete here. It’s enough to say that we consider both of these allegations to be wrong. In our perspective, weak constructionism is less consistent with its islands of epistemic privilege; and political engagement is no more evident from realism or weak constructionism than powerful constructionism. See: Edwards et al. 1995; Potter, 1998b for advanced arguments to this impact.

Discursive psychologists do not criticize techniques of studies because they involve experimentation, manipulation or some other method. The critique is specifically directed against the (largely inexplicit) theory of discourse that is used in many research and analytic methods. For further discussion of this point, see Edwards, 1997; Potter, 1997.


Compassion is influenced here by Buddhism’s exercise of compassion. His definition is also significantly distinct in the sense that one may have heard compassion. This is due to the concept of ability that ignores the normative characteristics of good and evil. Instead, skill encourages individuals to look holistically at decision-making. Looking at an action alone as an individual action is inadequate.

The act of compassion is an attempt to create and incorporate the models of the world and the other people into mental processes. This is designed to assist one minimize the cost of thinking. One would need to get into the other people’s heads without compassion or modeling, an act that is only feasible for a psychic. Skillful compassion involves coordination of different systems: the brain’s organs need to be well aligned, the culture needs to promote open-minded and sympathetic thinking, and individuals need to be intelligent in order to prevent pitfalls that would make them unskilled.

Recently, Moscovici replied to Social Representation Theory’s Discursive Psychology criticisms by proposing that asking’ whether language or representation is the best model can have no more psychological significance than asking the question:’ Does a person walk with the assistance of his left arm or correct arm? (1998, 246). One would agree that making a language-representation opposition is misleading. The research of representation (either in speech or cognition) needs attention to located methods of discourse. Research on social representation theory continues to fail to do this, and as a result it continues to be faulty.


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