Special Issue "Understanding Social Problems: Unraveling the Role of Social Representations"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2024 | Viewed by 579

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Lilian Negura
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N, Canada
Interests: social representations of social problems; social construction of drugs; power relations in social intervention; professional distress of social workers, immigration
Dr. Nathalie Plante
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Social Work, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, QC H3C 3J7, Canada
Interests: epistemic and representational implications of the construction of social problems; judiciarization of intervention practices with families and children; social representations of the family and childhood; intervention of child protection services; theoretical issues related to intersectorial cooperation in the intervention with families in a context of vulnerability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

In recent years, several situations have generated important debates in our contemporary societies, creating the need to find solutions. These challenges include, for example, climate change, economic inequality, migration and refugees, discrimination and social justice, technology and privacy, and public health. These problems are constructed, shaped, and addressed in the public space through social representations.

This Special Issue of Social Sciences titled "Understanding Social Problems: Unraveling the Role of Social Representations" focuses on the role of social representations in the construction of social problems as social reality in contemporary societies.

Three research areas are given priority in this Special Issue. First, the focus is on understanding how social problems are constructed as objects of representation, including the influence of media, political discourses, social interactions, structural constraints, and lived experiences on social representations. Authors are invited to submit their contributions to the understanding of these dynamics in the genesis of social problems as social representations.

The second line of analysis concerns the mobilization of social representations by groups and social actors to advance their point of view on social problems. Social representations participate in the power relations between different social groups, and social actors use these representations to defend their positions within the public agenda. Thus, we invite researchers to submit papers analyzing the psychosocial, political, and institutional processes that shape the public agenda and that determine which issues are put forward and how.

Finally, authors are invited to explore the role of social representations in social and public interventions. There are different ways to approach this issue. Examining social representations can lead to a better understanding of how people think and act, allowing for more effective interventions to help people cope with social problems. For others, social representations can be used to empower communities by giving them a voice in the social transformation process produced by the collective definition of social problems. From another perspective, social representations can also be studied through their projective role with respect to the solutions implemented to respond to the targeted problems and the public policies and laws on which they are based.

Contributors from different disciplinary backgrounds who address any of the topics presented above are invited to submit research-based papers and/or conceptual analysis.

Proposals in the form of a tentative title and a 250 words summary will be considered. However, in order to facilitate issue planning, we would appreciate if the authors submit their proposals before the manuscript. We will notify them of the decision within 30 days, without any commitment to publication. Manuscripts may be submitted at any time, but no later than 31 May 2024. The final decision on publication will be made following a rigorous peer-review process. More information regarding manuscript submission and the peer-review process is available in the following section.

Prof. Dr. Lilian Negura
Dr. Nathalie Plante
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 250 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • social problems
  • social representations
  • communication
  • social change
  • power relations
  • social construction
  • social intervention
  • public policies

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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