The social and the cultural orders are dual – that is, they constitute each other. To understand either we need to account for both. Socio-semantic network analysis brings together the study of relations among actors (social networks), relations among elements of actors’ cultural structures (their semantic networks), and relations among these two orders of networks. In this introductory essay, we describe how the duality of the social and semantic networks that constitute each other, as well as other related dualities (including material / symbolic, micro / macro, computational / qualitative, in-presence contexts / online contexts, ‘Big’ data / ‘thick’ data), have evolved in recent decades to mold socio-semantic network analysis into its present form. In doing so, we delineate the current state of the art and the main features of socio-semantic network analysis as highlighted by the papers included in this Special Issue. These articles range from in-depth analysis of ‘thick’ data on small group interactions to automated analysis of ‘Big’ online data in contexts extending from Renaissance parliamentary discussions to cutting-edge global scientific fields of the 21 st century. We conclude by delineating current problems of and future prospects for socio-semantic network analysis.
Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Language and Linguistics
- Sociology and Political Science
- Linguistics and Language
- Literature and Literary Theory