The Role of Social Representations and National Identities in the Development of Territorial Knowledge: A Study of Political Socialization in Argentina and England Journal Article uri icon



  • We studied schoolboys aged 7, 10, 12, and 17 years from England and Argentina in an attempt to explore the “social representations” attached to an “English” or “Argentine” national identity. In both countries, such social representations were characterized by geographical, demographical, and ideological dimensions, with differential emphasis placed on each dimension by the Argentines relative to their English counterparts. These differences were then reflected in the way English and Argentines perceived the Falklands/Malvinas conflict, as well as how they learned territorial concepts of their country. Our research was framed by social identity/social representation theory. The theory posits that individuals belong to many different social groups, and because they identify and categorize themselves in terms of a specific group, a ‘‘social identity” evolves. Beyond simple group membership, a social identity evokes a corresponding social representation that contains the beliefs, values, and “facts” about the group that are recognized by all those who identify with the group. When thinking in terms of a specific identity, the associated social representation serves to mediate and channel the content of what is learned, that is, the meaning of the identity. When individuals categorize themselves as members of a particular country, a “national identity” is formed. This national identity, in turn, evokes an associated social representation that gives meanings, values, and beliefs to the national identity. When thinking in terms of a national identity, the associated shared social representation mediates the way subsequent knowledge is acquired about one’s country. Our findings suggest the potential of socially oriented theoretical frameworks for future research on political socialization. In particular, they point to the critical role played by social identities and social representations in the acquisition of knowledge.

publication date

  • December 1, 1992

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • March 5, 2015 10:29 AM

Full Author List

  • Dougherty KC; Eisenhart M; Webley P

author count

  • 3

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-8312

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1935-1011

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 809

end page

  • 835


  • 29


  • 4