The Naturalized Nation: Anchoring, Objectification and Naturalized Social Representations of History

Eemeli Hakoköngäs, Inari Sakki

Abstract


This study focuses on the connection between social representations of history and collective memory from the perspective of elementary concepts of social representations theory: anchoring, objectification and naturalization. The aims of the study are to arrive at a conceptual clarity of this connection and demonstrate how to apply basic concepts of social representations theory to the study of collective memory. The study also focuses on the naturalized characteristics of Finnish history. The data consist of the covers of twenty Finnish history books between the years 1965 and 2014. All the covers are embellished with typography or visual images. The covers were analysed using a semiotic approach in which the interest is in the description (denotation), the associations (connotation) and the meaning system these construe (myth). The analysis shows how national history is concretized with visual images (objectification), how the meaning of representation is conveyed (anchoring) and how collective memory is maintained (naturalization), transmitted and shaped during the years. The results show how the stable collective memories and changing social representations of history are interacting. The most frequently used visual element was the colour blue, which alludes to the Finnish flag, a symbol of the nation that represents the core of Finnish history. The study suggests that it is possible to conceptualize collective memories as naturalized social representations of history. It shows how processes of anchoring and objectification serve as tools of collective memory and how the naturalized conceptions are subtly changed. In addition, the study develops the use of visual semiotic analysis in social representations research.

Keywords


social representations; collective memory; anchoring; objectification; naturalization; visual analysis

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https://doi.org/10.5964/jspp.v4i2.664




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ISSN: 2195-3325
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