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The subjective camera (« SUBCAM »): a new technique for studying representations in context

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a new technique for studying representations in context

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Social representations are presently mostly studied using interviews, questionnaire surveys, word association. These techniques, and text analysis, are very efficient for the study of the content and structure of representations. But their use falls short to study the link between representation and action, and also communication processes, since they investigate out of context. Still analysing action in context and communication is necessary to study co-operation, e.g. in work settings. Naturalistic observation (action research, ethnography...), does not have these shortcomings. But it remains limited by the presence of the observer, which may introduce bias ; and, anyway, only provides an external view different from the subject’s own perspective. In the framework of a programme which studies the role of social representations in co-operation and co-construction in work processes, we needed to have a closer view at the « details » of the interaction of the agents with their context (colleagues, artefacts). This led us to design a new observation instrument, the « Subcam », which aims at capturing a detailed record of the action sequences as they were lived by the subject. This record can be used to elicit detailed explanation of motives and representations which undermined action. Paper given at the 4ème Conférence International sur les Représentations Sociales. Fourth International Conference on Social representations. Mexico, 8/1998. EDF-DER HN-51/98/017.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/33115/

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