A Technique to Infer Symbolic and Socio-Symbolic Micro Patterns

Research outputpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The interplay between symbolic and social structures in groups is often analysed at the whole-network level of their semantic and socio-semantic networks, e.g. via comparison of graph distributions, multidimensional scaling, or QAP correlations. Meanwhile, the interplay between the symbolic and the social operates through the usage of signs (e.g. words) and their associations by interacting individuals. Hence, structural properties of the whole network can be explained by analysing specific instances of symbolic and socio-symbolic micro patterns – elementary configurations linking signs, and signs and individuals – occurring in practical contexts. This paper introduces a technique and a customisable pattern retriever tool (an R script) to (1) programme socio-symbolic patterns of theoretical importance, (2) use them as ‘search terms’ to query network data, (3) extract from the data instances of the patterns and text quotes corresponding to them, (4) store and represent these instances and quotes in a form convenient for their subsequent qualitative analysis – to uncover the contextual meanings of the patterns. We illustrate the proposed technique with an analysis of a mixed dataset on the interplay between expert and local symbolic structures in the context of social structures of two local groups engaged in flood risk management in 2019 England.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLecture Notes in Networks and Systems
Early online date20 Feb 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Feb 2021
EventNetworks in the Global World 2020 - St.Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg
Duration: 7 Jul 20209 Jul 2020

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