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Andreas Schneider, Alden E. Roberts -Classification and the Relations of Meaning

Andreas Schneider, Alden E. Roberts -Classification and the Relations of Meaning

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Published by alexandra
Andreas Schneider, Alden E. Roberts, anthropology, linguistics.
Andreas Schneider, Alden E. Roberts, anthropology, linguistics.

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Published by: alexandra on Dec 05, 2011
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12/18/2013

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Andreas Schneider and Alden E. Roberts. 2005. “Classification and the Relations of Meaning.”
Quality & Quantity
38,5:547-557.
Classification and the Relations of Meaning
Andreas Schneider Alden E. RobertsTexas Tech University
 
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Classification and the Relations of MeaningAbstract
This paper intends to demonstrate the parallels between a qualitative methodology, componentanalysis, which is predominantly used in cognitive anthropology and linguistics, and thequantitative explorative method–cluster analysis. Social identities and their related structuralcategories serve as examples of the method. In the methodology and logic involved in thecategorization of meaning, abstraction is the key difference between connotative and structuralmeaning. Abstraction and the identification of higher order categories in cluster analysis arecompatible with the extraction of structural meaning from the semantic differential ratings of theaffective meanings of identities. The dichotomy of exclusion and inclusion is the most relevantrelation for the qualitative analysis of meaning and can be mathematically operationalized byEuclidean squared distance in k-means cluster analysis.
 
 
Classification and the Relations of Meaning
This paper intends to demonstrate the parallels between a qualitative methodology,component analysis, which is predominantly used in cognitive anthropology and linguistics, andthe quantitative explorative method–cluster analysis. Component analysis is a qualitativemethod that was developed by Ward Goodenough (1956, 1981), an anthropologist andethnolinguist. He subjected kinship terminology to component analysis. The method involveswhat Nida (1975) terms the vertical analysis of meaning. More inclusive meanings of categoriesare compared with less inclusive meanings. One of the problems faced by component analysis isthat meaning and relationships between meanings are multidimensional.The multidimensionality of component analysis can be demonstrated using an example of social identities. Identities are individual representations of social roles (Darendorf 1965, 1972;Strauss 1994; Stryker 1980; Turner 1962). According to Cooley’s (1922) concept of looking-glass self, people observe themselves in the eye of the other. Mead (1934) regarded thisreflexivity as a key to developing a self. Internal imaginary interaction between the societal“me” and individual “I” leads to the self-conscious ego called self. Mead distinguished betweensignificant others (those whose opinions are important to a person) and generalized others (the“average” person). The interaction of a person with others, and internal conversations with previous stages of oneself, lead to the development of the self.However, there are limits to the plasticity of the self. Building the self (Burke 1980;Stryker 1980; Stryker and Burke 2000) through social histories of interaction (Strauss 1994),

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