Understanding political identity terms: a conceptual spaces approach

Vortragende(r) Heather Burnett
Institution(en) CNRS, Paris
Datum 12.07.2022
Uhrzeit 14:15 Uhr
Ort Hybrid (see below)

Authors: Heather Burnett, Lina Bendifallah, Julie Abbou and Igor Douven 


Although most social scientists agree that well chosen group identity terms can facilitate bringing people together around a set of ideas, beliefs or campaigns for social change, the meanings of those terms are often perceived to be vague and understood differently by different members of social movements. In this presentation, we argue that, although it is usually applied only in the perceptual domain, the Conceptual Spaces framework (Gärdenfors 2000, Douven et al. 2016) can be helpful for understanding the meanings of political identity terms as used by activists of different stripes. We give a case study looking at feminism in France, and we show how Conceptual Spaces can capture the different conceptualizations of terms like "intersectional", "materialist" and "queer", thus shedding light on how meaning can change depending on one's political and philosophical orientations.

The talk will be in hybrid format: in-person in Room 403 at the ZAS, and online via the following link: