The sustainability social representation: A triangulation approach study

Crescentini, Alberto and Jabes, Davide and Milani, Laura and Russo, Vincenzo (2011) The sustainability social representation: A triangulation approach study. In: Abstract Volume Sustainable Consumption Towards Action and Impact, November 6th–8th 2011, Hamburg.

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The theoretical frame refers to the Social Representations Theory (Moscovici, 2000). It underlines the role of the communication processes in shaping the consumer attitudes, values and behavior. It is clear in the education sphere, especially when the targets are children and adolescents. This work aims at analyzing how mass media communication channels and communication systems refer to the sustainability concept. We work using a triangulation approach (Erzberger, 2003). The three different sources allow us to control bias in the recording phase and to carry out a mutual comparison in terms of process and content. We rely on both triangulation of sources and methods, using a mixed methodological approach. We used different information sources to increase the research validity and to improve both the process strength and the scientific rigor. Our data come from print media, blogs, tweets and Italian television channels. Two major Italian daily newspapers were analyzed for the print media; eight of the most widely read blogs in the Italian language were analyzed for the web. As for tweets concern, were analyzed more than 300 tweets broadcasted communications. Finally, the six hyperprotected television networks with the highest share for the 4-14 years old were analyzed for the television. We used different tools to carry out data analyses. Daily newspaper and tweets data were analyzed through quantitative content analysis. Television and blog data were analyzed through qualitative content analysis. The findings show that mass media (daily newspapers and television) and communication system (tweets and blogs) play a relevant role both in the knowledge spread and in the sustainability social representations. It is clear, even if mass media and communication system have diverse targets and cover sustainability in different way and with different contents. This research can be helpful because provides shared methodology and tools to investigate such a complex and constantly re-defining concept. A limitation is the absence of largely shared and approved sampling methods that could be applied to different type of medium such as television and web. Future studies might consider the international context and the nutrition sphere within the sustainability concept. Keywords: sustainability; triangulation; mass media; communication References: Moscovici, S. (2000). Social Representations: Explorations in Social Psychology. Cambridge: Polity Press. | Erzberger, C. & Kelle, U. (2003). Making inferences in mixed methods : the rules of integration. In A. Tashakkori & C. Teddlie (Eds.), Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social Behavioral Research (pp. 457-488). Thousand Oaks, London, New Dehli : Sage Publications.

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