A Study of the Scientist’s Image in the Context of S. Moscovici’s Theory of Social Representations

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The article describes the scientific and social aspects of the functioning of the scientific school created by S. Mosсoviсi, revealing various forms of this association: a research team, a scientific direction, an ‘invisible’ college. The authors focus on the possibility of studying social representations through the inclusion of new analytical methods in the diagnostic toolkit, in particular, iconographic documents and images of a social object, which indicates the current stage of the functioning of S. Mosсoviсi’s scientific school. The formation of social representations not only through verbal associations but also through drawings is explored by the authors through the example of how adolescents develop their social representations of a scientist. The purpose of this study is to highlight the categorical features of the image of a scientist in modern Russian adolescents, identified using the DAST drawing technique. The hypothesis of the research is the assumption that the system of social representations of a scientist among Russian adolescents contains both stable indicators of a person’s belonging to the professional scientific community and variable contextual elements of the scientist’s image, whereas the degree of expression and the ratio of stable and contextual elements reflect the characteristics of the scientist’s image in domestic respondents. The Draw-A-Scientist Test (DAST) technique was used as the main diagnostic tool aimed at identifying adolescent representations of a scientist based on iconographic associations.The obtained drawings were analyzed by the expert evaluation method, involving the procedures of correlation and factor analysis. The results of the study show that Russian adolescents generally have a stereotypical representation of a scientist associated with the use of general indicators of external appearance, which determine the professional affiliation of the character depicted. Differences were found in the frequency of using stable and contextual iconographic elements of drawings. It has been shown that it is possible to use the drawing technique as a diagnostic tool for identifying social representations of a scientist based on an analysis of the meaning of an object through its iconographic fixation.

About the authors

Elena A. Volodarskaya

S.I. Vavilov Institute for the History of Science and Technology of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Author for correspondence.
Email: eavolod@gmail.com
14 Baltiyskaya St, Moscow, 125315, Russian Federation

Doctor of Psychology, Associate Professor, Leading Researcher at the Center for Organization of Science and Science Studies


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