Culture and Action Network

Measuring Meaning with Text

Texts provide rich records of semantic systems and social processes. A key objective for scholars in the Culture and Action Network is to develop tools to effectively draw meaning from text and to leverage textual data to answer longstanding questions in the sociology of culture.

Relevant Papers
Kozlowski, Austin C., Matt Taddy, and James A. Evans. 2019. “The Geometry of Culture: Analyzing the Meanings of Class through Word Embeddings.” American Sociological Review 84(5): 905-949.
Padgett, John F., Katalin Prajda, Benjamin Rohr, and Jonathan Schoots. Forthcoming. Political Discussion and Debate in Narrative Time: The Florentine Consulte e Pratiche, 1376-1378. Poetics.
Martin, John Levi, and Monica Lee. 2018. “A Formal Approach to Meaning.” Poetics 68:10-17.

The Organization of Perception

How do structures of sensation relate to the structures of meaning? The ways we perceive are culturally modulated, but the way objects are classified, systematized, and understood are constrained by their material sensory affordances. Drawing together recent advances in cognitive psychology with contemporary sociological theory, our research locates perception at the center of a new theory of meaning.

Relevant Papers
Lembo, Alessandra. Forthcoming  “He Heard, She Heard: Toward a Cultural Sociology of the Senses.” Sociological Forum
Lembo, Alessandra. 2017. “Three Chords & [Somebody’s] Truth: Trajectories of Experience and Taste Among Hard Country Fans.” Poetics 60:62-75.