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Capturing in words what a symbol symbolizes? Challenges for studying symbolic representation from a discursive approach

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Lombardo, Emanuela and Meier, Petra (2017) Capturing in words what a symbol symbolizes? Challenges for studying symbolic representation from a discursive approach. Politics, Groups, and Identities, 5 (3). pp. 482-487. ISSN 2156-5503

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Official URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21565503.2017.1321994



Abstract

Studying symbolic representation is not only relevant, but also challenging. Hanna Pitkin [1967. The Concept of Representation. CA: University of California Press, 97] already warned us that “[w]e can never exhaust, never quite capture in words, the totality of what a symbol symbolizes: suggests, evokes, implies.” We will discuss the opportunities and challenges we encountered in our study of symbolic representation from a discursive politics approach, where we took political discourse as the agent. A discursive approach has allowed us to study symbolic representation as a dimension of representation per se, and to unpack the relation between agent and principal in symbolic representation by revealing the activity of constructing meanings and ascribing them to the principal. Yet, a number of questions arise: what makes a symbol a symbol and what does this mean for a discursive approach to symbols? What makes symbolic representation different from substantive representation when the agent is of a discursive nature? And what methodological challenges does the broadening of the agent in symbolic representation to discourse include?.


Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Political representation; Symbolic representation; Discursive approach; Framing; Methodology
Subjects:Social sciences > Political science > Human rights
Social sciences > Political science > Political theories
ID Code:45200
Deposited On:25 Oct 2017 09:47
Last Modified:19 Dec 2018 12:15

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