Collective representations

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From Emile Durkheim's sociology. It refers to a symbol having common-shared meaning (intellectual and emotional) to members of a social group or society. Collective representations are first and foremost, historical - that is, they reflect the history of a social group; the collective experiences of a group over time. Collective representations refer not only to symbols in the form of objects (such as the American flag), but also to the basic concepts that determine the way in which an individual views and relates to the world in which he lives. God is a collective representation, as are time and space, for example. The particular function that collective representations serve for society or social groups in expressing the collective sentiments or ideas that give the social group or society its unity and uniqueness is that of producing social cohesion or social solidarity. This is not surprising, for one of the central concerns of Durkheim's functional sociology was social solidarity or social order.


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