ABSTRACT

This chapter presents theoretical arguments to emphasize the importance of nothingness to social representation (SR) theory, as a conceptual tool for clarifying the intervention of social power in the very process of SR construction. It considers nothingness in the collective construction of SR potentially allows for repositioning the individual's subjectivity within this process, a pending problem of SR theory. The chapter argues that this tendency results in a failure to take into account collective repressed meanings, although their status as absent plays a structuring role in the meaning-making process. SR theory denies the possibility of any knowledge where reality appears directly to individuals. The polemic SR expresses different social positions, generally contradictory, about a same representational object. In dialogical situations where SR are constructed the dominant information can prevail, constraining the meaning-making processes. In dialogical relations between people and social groups the social asymmetries of the speakers may lead to relations of domination, some representations may fail to be recognized.