In a systemic approach at society level, social representations can be seen as folds of a large users' manual, "common-sense", descriptive and prescriptive for the use of the World in everyday life. In this respect, social representations allow, and guide, the co-operation of actors ("users" of the common reality) in their respective local goals. Although many studies focus on the existence of such representations, and describe them, there is few empirical work describing how, in real life situations, this "users' manual" is made available to users. Three recent studies suggest that artefacts (language, documents, but also material objects) act as media in the transmission of social representation (which is not new) but also as a concrete support for representation processing in everyday and professional life. This paper was given as an oral presentation at International workshop : Social Representations, the state of the art. London School of Economics. June 6-9 1996
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