Without anchor: themata and blood donation

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Moloney, G, Gamble, M, Hayman, J & Smith, G 2015, 'Without anchor: themata and blood donation', Papers on Social Representations, vol. 24, pp. 1-21.

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This paper explores themata as a means of elucidating what is understood about social issues, in particular, blood donation. We conceptualised themata as dialectical antinomies (Marková 2000; 2003), and looked to the figurative kernel of the representation to identify what the underlying thema/themata might be. In so doing, we posed the question of whether each of the antimonies in a thema gives rise to a separate homogeneous representation or whether it is as a pair that antimonies generate a, potentially, heterogeneous representational field. One thousand and eighty participants wrote the first five words that sprung to mind when they thought about ‘blood donation’. Multi-Dimensional Scaling and Hierarchal Cluster Analysis revealed a figurative kernel comprised of both negative and positive aspects of blood donation. Further analysis suggested this was articulated through the thema of Self/Other. We discuss the methodology employed, and the implications of understanding themata for communications by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service.

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