From Words to Numbers: Narrative, Data, and Social Science

From Words to Numbers: Narrative, Data, and Social Science

by Roberto Franzosi
     
 

ISBN-10: 052154145X

ISBN-13: 9780521541459

Pub. Date: 02/29/2004

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

This book illustrates a set of tools - story grammars, relational data models, and network models - that can be profitably used for the collection, organization, and analysis of narrative data in sociohistorical research. A story grammar, or subject-action-object and their modifiers, is the linguistic tool the author uses to structure narrative for the purpose of…  See more details below

Overview

This book illustrates a set of tools - story grammars, relational data models, and network models - that can be profitably used for the collection, organization, and analysis of narrative data in sociohistorical research. A story grammar, or subject-action-object and their modifiers, is the linguistic tool the author uses to structure narrative for the purpose of collecting data on protest events. Relational database models make such complex data collection schemes practically feasible in a computer environment. Finally, network models are a statistical tool best suited to analyze this type of data. Driven by the metaphors of the journal (from...to) and the alchemy (words into numbers), the book leads the reader through a number of paths, from substantive to methodological issues, across time and disciplines: sociology, linguistics, literary criticism, history, statistics, computer science, philosophy, cognitive psychology, and political science. The book mitigates its quest for rigor in the social sciences with a subtle irony for that quest.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521541459
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
02/29/2004
Series:
Structural Analysis in the Social Sciences Series, #22
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
500
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

List of tablesxiii
List of figuresxv
Acknowledgmentsxvii
Before
The Ant and the Cicada1
"It Takes Two to Tango": In Search of the Actor3
The Lemon and the Grapefruit4
Of Journeys and Alchemies5
"The Law of Genre"8
"Methodological Pestilence"11
An Antiquarian in a Modern World14
Breaking the Law18
Of Prefaces and Introductions: Guidebook for the Journey20
Part IFrom Words to Numbers: A Journey
Prologue27
Chapter 1"In the Beginning Was the Word"29
"In the Beginning Was the Word"29
Content Analysis: "Objective, Systematic, and Quantitative"32
From Event Counts to Event Characteristics35
Turning to Linguistics for Help40
Syntax Grammar41
Semantic Text Grammar43
Psychologists' Story Grammars45
A Story Grammar for Sociohistorical Research47
Examples of Coding52
Running into Problems with Story Grammars54
Narrative Discourse55
What Have We Gained?59
Chapter 2Ars Memoriae62
The Artificial Art of Memory: The Old and the New62
Database Design for a Story Grammar66
Computer-Assisted Content Analysis69
Basic Features of the Software70
Some Lessons from Cognitive Psychology72
Reliability versus Efficiency73
On Sampling: More on Reliability versus Efficiency73
And More Lessons from Linguistics: Text Schemata74
Data Verification76
Navigating a Relational Database79
Toy Examples and "Real" Data: The Test of Large Data Sets81
From the "Red Years" to the "Black Years" (Italy, 1919-1922)82
Simple Counts Tell Complex Stories82
Stitching the Thread89
Further Advantages of Story Grammars91
Scientists' Bitter Fate92
Chapter 3"Everything Is Number"98
"Friends of Friends": Grammars and Network Models98
Mobilization and Countermobilization Processes (1919-1922): Shifting Networks of Interaction100
"Everything Is Number"109
Of Thin Threads and Other Threads113
And Yet, What Do We Know?118
In the Linguists' Tool Bag: Theta Theory122
Of Beauty (and Science)124
Journeys131
"A March it Was"131
Pilgrims on the Road132
Voyages of Discovery138
Ways of Seeing142
Silence and Emphasis147
"Journeys ... Magic Caskets Full of Dreamlike Promises"154
Part IILooking Back: What's in the Numbers?
Prologue157
Chapter 4The Word and the World161
Founding Fathers and Disciplinary Mottos161
The "Science of Sociology"161
"Wie es eigentlich gewesen"164
The Newspaper "Black Box"167
Why, Then, Newspapers? Social Scientists' Line of Defense171
Opening the Box: Behind the Surface of Our 1919-1922 Data173
Silence and Emphasis Revisited175
How to Go about Validating Data: A Decalogue of Rules177
Further Rules: Selecting the Newspaper(s)180
Barking up the Wrong Tree: Reliability versus Validity180
Data: "Given" or Constructed?183
Content and Form187
Chapter 5"A Worlde of Wordes"193
Back to the Linguist's World193
Stories194
An Oxford Story194
A Children's Story195
The Moral of the Stories: "Where Is Anna Giulia?"196
"The Body and its Shadow": Play, Aesthetics, and Language Games199
The Language of Science202
Poetry and Science207
Heart and Mind211
Dialoghi Italiani214
Confessions of an Ass216
Content Analysis Myths (Back to Silence and Emphasis)219
Debunking the Myths: What Is Meaning?222
True Believers226
Modern Alchemists: What We Do with the Numbers229
What's to Be Done? Alchemists' Recommendations to the Novice232
Chapter 6Journeys' Ends237
Sta Viator237
From Words to Numbers238
From Thin Explanations to "Thick Descriptions"?238
From Variables to Actors240
From Synchronic to Diachronic Time242
From Statistical Causality to Narrative Sequences243
From Structures to Events245
Unexpected Crossings247
Sociology Meets History248
The Centrality of the Verb (Linguistics and Sociology)252
Sociology as the Study of Social Relations255
Georg Simmel (1858-1918): "The Stranger in the Academy"256
Von Wiese's "Specificum Sociologicum"260
Simmel's Cash Among the Heirs263
"Fatti Maschi, Parole Femmine"264
The Feminist Critique266
Memorabilia270
Tales of Measurement274
Tales of Horror274
Tales of Pressure276
Social Science Tales279
Wars of Words282
What Have We Lost?285
"Garcon, l'addition!" Counting What?287
Classification and the Numbers288
Classification in Practice: The Secret of Secrets293
The Words (and the Worlds) of Science and Metaphor295
Tales of Time and Space298
Faust and His World: What Was in the Beginning?301
And After
"So Long as We Get Somewhere"309
Poupinel and His World: In the Beginning Was Meaning312
On the Road, Again315
"Know Thyself": Notes on Reflexive Sociology318
Origin and Originality: Limits to Innovation324
"Murmure Againste Me"328
Farewell to the Reader332
Appendix339
Notes343
References399
Index445
List of Tables
1.1.Rough number of published studies based on content analysis (five-year intervals, 1921-1950)
2.1.A relational database representation of a story grammar
2.2.The skeleton triplets of the Romeo lockout lockout article in relational format
2.3.Frequency distribution of articles, disputes, and triplets in the 1919-1922 database
2.4.Frequency distribution of actors (subjects and objects) in 1919 (number of disputes)
2.5.Frequency distribution of most common actors (number of disputes)
2.6.Frequency distribution of actions in 1919 (number of disputes)
2.7.Frequency distribution of most common actions (number of disputes)
2.8.Frequency distribution of most common demands (number of disputes)
2.9.Frequency distribution of the most common actions performed by workers (number of disputes)
2.10.Frequency distribution of the actor "Fascists" (number of disputes)
2.11.Frequency distribution of the actions performed by Fascists (number of disputes)
2.12.Frequency distribution of the actors with whom Fascists "clash" (number of disputes)
3.1.Factor analysis of eighteen types of collective actions in the 1919-1922 database
3.2.Factor analysis of eighteen types of collective actions in the 1919-1922 database (rotated factor matrix)
3.3.Least-squares estimates of a regression model of fascist violence
4.1.Distribution of disputes from Il Lavoro by location of occurrence
List of Figures
2.1.Van Dijk's schema of news discourse75
2.2.Plot of the yearly number of strikers (1879-1922)83
2.3.Plot of the monthly number of strikers (1919-1922)83
3.1.Network graphs for the relations of conflict and facilitation for the Romeo Factory Lockout article from Il Lavoro101
3.2.Network graphs for the sphere of action of communication102
3.3.Network graphs for the sphere of action of request103
3.4.Network graphs for the sphere of action of conflict104
3.5.Network graphs for the sphere of action of violence105
3.6.Network graphs for the sphere of action of control107
3.7.Network graphs for the sphere of action of facilitation108
4.1.Plots of the monthly number of triplets with workers or Fascists as subjects or objects175

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