Bakker, J.I. 2023. “Blumer, Weber, Peirce, and the Big Tent of Semiotic Sociology: Notes on Interactionism, Interpretivism, and Semiotics.”
Chapter in Fontdevila, Jorge and Andrea Cossu eds, Interpretive Sociology and the Semiotic Imagination
. Bristol University Press, 2023. Project MUSE muse.jhu.edu/book/112239.
This chapter proposes to refine the symbolic interactionist project by incorporating Peircean semiotics and neo- Weberian interpretation. Symbolic interactionism appears to have forgotten key sources of its American pragmatist roots. Peirce’s indirect influence on Mead and Blumer, for instance, is often undertheorized but should be made central to the foundational narratives of symbolic interactionism. This calls for more sophisticated understandings of meaning- making that incorporate Peirce’s semiotic triadic model and classifications of signs where symbols are just one kind of signs among others. Here, I take on these matters and expand on my pragmatic sociology (Bakker, 2011a) to introduce the emergent project of a semiotic sociology. In stepwise fashion, I lay foundations of a metaparadigmatic synthesis— a “big tent”— based on five key arguments that build upon each other, including Blumer as its anchor point, American symbolic interactionism, global interactionism, neo- Weberian interpretive analysis for cross- historical comparison, and Peircean semiotics as the culminating paradigm that pulls it all together. The Cold War is over (Menand, 2021).
Leicht, Kevin T. 2022. “Inequality and the Status Window: Inequality, Conflict, and the Salience of Status Differences in Conflicts over Resources.” RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences
8(6): 103-121. DOI: 10.7758/RSF.2022.8.6.06.
The study of the relationship between social status and inequality has a distinguished history. Inequality scholars outside this tradition have paid more attention to social status in response to a set of seemingly persistent paradoxes that defy easy explanation. I add to the tradition by developing the concept of status windows and status windows overlap to partially account for differences in the relationship between social status and inequality processes in low- and high-inequality environments. These concepts are tied to the functioning of social status in creating and maintaining inequality and to the characteristics of social networks that develop in (especially) high-inequality environments. I examine how the concepts of status windows and status window overlap can help explain some paradoxes in responses to heightened social inequality and recommend that research focus on understandings of status windows and status windows overlap to understand why social inequality continues unabated in some places.
Luft, Aliza. 2019. “Dehumanization and the Normalization of Violence: It’s Not What You Think.” Items: Insights from the Social Sciences blog.
Aliza Luft tackles a question essential for social science and for human rights work—how, and how much, does dehumanizing propaganda spread by planners of genocide affect the “foot soldiers” of mass killings? Drawing on her own research on Rwanda as well as the Holocaust and other cases, Luft argues that the effects of pronouncements that describe potential victims as nonhuman or animals needs to be considered alongside other potential factors that motivate ordinary people to kill, and that the impact of such language is rarely straightforward. Luft concludes that “dehumanizing discourse can pave the way for violence to occur, but violence does not require it.”