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Dear Ryan and colleagues:

> > I think we are in the process of seeing the social construction of
> > meaning.
> One of the core issues in social science is the inability to
> pin anything down.  It causes a legitimacy problem.  We'd
> like to have authority based on learning and knowing but
> things related to groups keep changing--darn it!

In my opinion, this is the big challenge in the near future: how do we
measure meaning since it is so volatile. Perhaps, most of us would agree
that the meaning of words can be reconstructed from their respective
contexts at each moment of time. For example, in semantic maps. For example:

Loet Leydesdorff & Iina Hellsten,
<> Measuring the Meaning of
Words in Contexts: An automated analysis of controversies about 'Monarch
butterflies,' 'Frankenfoods,' and 'stem cells.' Scientometrics 67(2), 2006,
231-258. < <>

More interesting would be to model and then also to measure the non-linear
dynamics of meaning. Issues like codification come up.

With best wishes,



Loet Leydesdorff 
Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR)
Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam
Tel.: +31-20- 525 6598; fax: +31-20- 525 3681 
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