The concept of otherness involves that of identity, with which it carries on a dialogical and dialectical relationship. “Je est un autre”: I am another, we might say, recalling the words of the French poet Arthur Rimbaud. This formula, however, can be understood only if set in a context of permanent becoming identity is not a bit of information, a monolith, but rather a process that presupposes and needs otherness. “There is no given I which does not, inevitably, refer to a You, a contact, a relationship”. The theory of social representations takes as its starting point the diversity among subjects, and “its aim is to discover how individuals and groups can construct a stable, predictable world based on such diversity”. To understand these phenomena better and to advance our reasoning further, it is certainly useful to go back to the definition of social representation formulated by Jodelet – in the wake of Émile Durkheim – according to whom it appears as a system of values, notions, and practices with a dual vocation. On the one hand, the vocation of installing an order that orientates subjects in their social and material environment, managing to “dominate” it, and on the other, the vocation of ensuring communication between the members of a community, offering them an unambiguous code for denominating, and classifying the component parts of their individual stories and the history of the world in which they are immersed.
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