Social representations of urban and rural images

XIAO Tong1 WU Zhihui2

(1.Institute of Education, Tsinghua University)
(2.Research Institute of Education, Northeast Normal University)

【Abstract】Based on the word association test, this paper analyzed 11,052 words provided by 1842 college students, and hence tried to explore the social representations of urban and rural images. According to the results, the word association regarding urban and rural areas was characterized by family resemblance, status differences among members of the same category, and boundary ambiguity, and so on. From the pre-Qin period to modern times, the cultural connotations of urban and rural images had gradually lost, and the city and countryside had become the conceptions of simple administrative division. The rural areas which were alienated by economic value were adhered to labels of backwardness and poverty. The meaning system and the symbolic system which could construct individual and community life began to collapse. The subject perception covered by modernity in cities further pushed interpersonal connections to alienation.

【Keywords】 urban areas; rural areas; social representation; prototype category; college students;


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    [1]. (1) It is generally believed that the characteristic category and the prototype category refer to different phenomena. The characteristic category mainly elaborates scientific concepts, while the prototype category elaborates daily concepts. The characteristic category is a concept corresponding to the prototype category, which is mainly defined through sufficient and necessary characteristics. There are clear boundaries between categories. Members in the category have equal status and are generated on the basis of completely common characteristics. [^Back]

    [2]. (2) The concentration index refers to the approach and the difference degree of the associative words in the category. The closer the status of the associative words within the same attribute is, the closer the concentration index will be to 0. The central index refers to the position of the associative words in the category. The higher the overall status of the internally connected words of the same attribute is, the closer the central index will be to 1. The polarization index refers to whether the overall associative words tend to be positive or negative. When the index is negative, it indicates that the overall vocabulary tends to be negative. When the index is positive, it shows that the overall vocabulary tends to be positive. The larger the absolute value of the index is, the more obvious the trend will be. The induction index is used to measure the words’ breadth of the corresponding attribute core. Within the same attribute, the more the words are, which means that the more sensitive the subject is to this attribute, the greater the words’ breadth will be. [^Back]

    [3]. (3) Mutual haziness means that people recognize the other party as not only a subject actor, and they may know each other and catch the eyes of others. When they pass each other by shortly, they look forward, accompanied by an implicit attitude without hostility. [^Back]

    [4]. (4) Giddens regarded practical consciousness as a concept to describe the consciousness layer. From his perspective, human consciousness can be divided into three layers, namely, discourse consciousness, practical consciousness, and unconsciousness. The difference between practical consciousness and discourse consciousness is that the latter can be expressed orderly by the subject of the action, while the former is that they know how to act, and act on it accordingly. [^Back]


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This Article


CN: 11-3280/C

Vol , No. 06, Pages 70-79+93

November 2019


Article Outline



  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Research design
  • 3 The category prototype of urban and rural lexical items
  • 4 Prototype effect in urban and rural lexical categories
  • 5 Conclusions
  • Footnote