Catalan Language and Social Representations: Affective Experiences

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:51
Location: Hörsaal 24 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Santiago IZQUIERDO, author, Spain
Josep M. NADAL, author, Spain
Pilar MONREAL-BOSCH, author, Spain
The theory of social representations postulates that we construct social knowledge of situations, groups or objects that are significant, conflictive or relevant in the social reality. This knowledge is determinant in understanding where people stand in relation to object of representation, to know how the emotions attached to this object are socially modulated and which behaviours it influences. On a social level, language is an especially significant object; it is relevant to the social construction of reality and sometimes a source of conflict in intergroup relations. The relationship between groups and languages is fundamental to the development of identities, to relations between groups and to social cohesion in a territory. That is why studying the social representation of the Catalan language is important. Which social image has been created and, more specifically, which emotions or affective experiences are associated with Catalan? The data presented is related to this last objective: the emotions and affective experiences associated with a hypothetical situation of Catalan. Our sample consists of 364 university students from different parts of Catalonia. We use the free association of words with three different questions. The first is answered by the entire sample: write 12 words you associate with the Catalan language. The next two questions asks about feelings in two different ways. Question A asks students: in 12 words, write how you would feel if Catalan disappeared. Question B asks them: in 12 words, write how you would feel if they made Catalan disappear. One part of the sample answers question A and the other part answers question B. One hypothesis is that differences between the responses to the two questions will not differ; another is that affective experiences are organized into positive and negative feelings and into feelings that favour either an active or a passive response.