This paper is dedicated to scientific and literary heritage of Galina M. Andreeva. The methodology of social cognition, for more than half a century developed by Galina M. Andreeva as a tool of social analysis, is discussed. The problem of social cognition, first indicated by V. Turner, Z. Bauman and M. Mamardashvili, is analysed in terms of mentalization, interpersonal interaction and mass consciousness. Based on G. Andreeva’s theoretical research, the correlation between micro-processes of individual cognition construction and macro-processes of society in communication, dialogue and discourse is proved.
The issue of finding the correct definition of a group, mass or public consciousness epistemological status is taken as a result of an old trend toward anthropomorphizing the collective cognition subject. This impedes the correlation between personality and society in psychology, meaning “agency” and “structure” in sociology. G.Andreeva discusses the last one, connecting cognitive psychology, social constructionism and activity theory.
Theoretical assumptions of social cognition as the process of world image construction are formulated as follows: 1) presumption of general knowledge; 2) active constructive nature; 3) categorization and classification as the basic process; 4) the relationship between discourse and cognition; 5) emotionality; 6) critical orientation; 7) prospective for the clinical analysis of sociocultural realities.
With respect to the abovementioned facts, it can be said that the ideas of scientific school founded by Galina М. Andreeva allow to innovatively define social psychology as a modern social and cultural epistemology.
The phenomenon of xenophobia is analysed comprehensively. Its distribution at different historical stages of human development is traced. Considerable attention is paid to the psychological component of the xenophobic consciousness.