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New Noise

A Cultural Sociology of Digital Disruption


Simon Lindgren

This book is about online subcultures thriving in the border zones between pop cultural and political engagement. Combining classic theories of space, power and resistance with current case studies of digital piracy, online activism and remix culture, the book develops a cultural theory of social movements in the digital age.
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Chapter 3. Shapes, Relations, Structures


The text undergoes a process of deliberate reduction and abstraction […] where distance is however not an obstacle, but a specific form of knowledge: fewer elements, hence a sharper sense of their overall interconnection. Shapes, relations, structures. Forms. Models. (Moretti, 2005, p. 1)

The study of disruptive spaces in the rest of this book will include analyses of social relations and of discourse, keeping in mind that discourse is in many ways equal to social relations, and that social relations amount to discourse (Bourdieu, 1977a). Such ambiguity is a key reason why the analysis of practice is the most viable strategy for studying digital culture. The empirical studies in the subsequent chapters will be based on two general forms of data analysis: social network analysis and textual network analysis. Once again, this is keeping in mind that the social and the textual are irrevocably entangled.

I introduce in this book a specific methodological combination for text analysis that brings several different approaches together in a new technique for mapping semiotic processes in large datasets. I call it connected concept ← 37 | 38 → analysis (CCA). The method combines already existing techniques from the fields of discourse analysis, network analysis, and computational linguistics in a strategy that is especially well suited for dealing with large online text datasets while still retaining a qualitative sensibility. CCA is particularly relevant to the mapping of the symbolic—discursive and linguistic—aspects, which is key to the analyses in the following chapters. I will...

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