The Social Representation of Family in the Qatari Society
Keywords:Social Representations, Family, Qatar, Free Association, Central Representations, Peripheral Representations
The study aimed to explore the nature of representations that Qataris hold for the family in general, and what is central and peripheral, as well as figuring out the sources of those representations. The study adopted a mixed approach; a questionnaire was used to collect qualitative data through the free association technique, as well as quantitative data through closed-ended questions and five-points Likert scale. Qualitative data were analyzed using thematic analysis and statistical analysis as well as the four-quadrant model, which reveals central and peripheral perceptions according to the Abric Theory of social representations. The study concluded that Qataris’ central representations are multiple, on top of which is love, security, and stability. As for the central representations of the family, they tend towards its structure and basic elements and on top of it (mother, brothers, and father) among all Qataris, regardless of their gender. However, females place emotional values in their central representations of the family. Among the most important results that emerged is that religion is the main source that shaped Qataris' representations of the family, while the last sources of forming their representations of the family were the international and local institutions alike. The study recommends the need to pay attention to the perceptions and meanings that individuals hold towards the family because these perceptions will necessarily reflect on its reality.