Problems of semantic reconstruction of a theoretical text in sociology

The article analyzes the reasons for the ambiguity of the reader's understanding of the text of sociological theory, including: violation of the identity of the wordings of theoretical concepts, the absence of an explicit indication of the context for theoretical statements, implicit presentation of semantic connections between individual statements. The analysis is based on the tradition of semantic reconstruction of non-numerical evidence of informants, carried out by a sociologist in a qualitative study, and is carried out on the example of Arnason's article, which considers the problem of the controversy of theoretical concepts in the study of civilizations. The nature of the ambiguity of the semantic interaction between the author and the reader of sociological theory is explained based on the concept of dual knowledge by Polanyi. We argue the necessity of the structural presentation by the author of the semantic connections of the theory at the stage of its creation. Today, such connections are put implicitly in text by its author under creation and remain tacit to the reader when reading it. The article proposes analytical coding as a tool for the structural expression of sociological theory under its creation. This approach combines in a single instrumental procedure the coding techniques of qualitative research and the functionality of ontological methods for knowledge management. Thus, the social scientist gains conceptualization functionalities that are not available when applying the traditional textual presentation of the theory. Among them there are: management of ambiguous sociological definitions; tracking the contextual dependencies of verbal statements; checking the coherence of natural language statements evolved during theorizing; organization of teamwork of researchers from different subject areas.

For citation: Kanygin G.V., Poltinnikova M.S., Koretskaya V.S. Problems of semantic reconstruction of a theoretical text in sociology. St. Petersburg Sociology Today. 2021. N. 16. P. 44-63. DOI:10.25990/socinstras.pss-16.9ccw-h915

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