Research objectives and content
Over recent years, growing - even if still relatively limited - attention has been focused on the paradoxical and contradictory nature of Social Representations expressed and generated through mass communication (for a review, see Moscovici 1996).
On the basis of several researches that show that the image can constitute an independent communication system with regard to the verbal system, and one capable of carrying with greater facility stereotypic and stigmatising dimensions of Social Representations (de Rosa, 1987,1990; Gilman, 1988; de Rosa & Schurmans, 1994; Shoeneman et al. 1994), the objective of this research is to verify two hypotheses.
The first hypothesis is that the verbal and iconic parts of the messages transmitted through the press
frequently express diversified and contradictory dimension of Social Representation of the AIDS victim and of the mentally ill.
The second hypothesis is that, through the visual communication employed by the press, stereotypic
and stigmatising dimensions of Social Representation towards the AIDS victim and the mentally ill are expressed, which, on the contrary, when the rationalising filter of verbal language intervenes. are not expressed with the same probability.
The verification of these hypotheses will be based on the content analysis of the visual-verbal texts
found in daily newspapers and magazines and having as their object the AIDS victim and the mentally ill.
To verify these hypotheses, a reasoned selection of textual and iconographic materials will be analysed,
including not only Italian newspapers and magazines, but also, in keeping with the cross-national nature of this research, English and French ones.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The chose of the two host research institutes (London School of Economics and Ecole des Hautes
Etudes en Sciences Sociales) is motivated by the high degree of theoretical-methodological specialisation of the researchers operating in the respective Department of Social Psychology.
The implementation of the TMR project which I am submitting for the approval of DGXII will form:
- an important opportunity for acquiring, through the research, the theoretical and methodological
skills needed for carrying out my European PhD research on Social Representations and Communication;
- an opportunity to collect materials necessary for conducting the cross-national study (England.
France and Italy) object of my European doctoral thesis.