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Giovanni Sartori and I collaborated to create COCTA (The Committee for Conceptual and Terminological Analysis). Our priorities were different but we agreed on the far-reaching importance of conceptual and terminological problems. My own efforts to characterize the cross-pressured complex of forces found in countries torn between their own traditions and new patterns imposed by the outside world led me to propose prismatic as a metaphor that could summarize these pressures and suggest emergent phenomena produced by these confrontations -- see Chapter 3 . Although some CAG members found merit in this proposal, others objected and accused me of playing word games. I was surprised because when I proposed catalytic group to represent ad hoc political action committees designed to promote a particular legislative action, I did not attract any opposition -- but perhaps that was because of indifference to the role played by such groups rather than to the novelty of the term. These experiences persuaded me that while it is appropriate for anyone who finds it useful to define and use a new concept to propose a new term to represent it, it may be difficult to gain acceptance for such neologisms.
In 1967 I met Giovanni Sartori at the Stanford Center and discovered that he shared my concern about conceptual and terminological problems, though he approached them from a different perspective. Although he has on a few occasions coined new terms (novitism, for example, to represent a preoccupation with novelty for its own sake) his main concern was with the corruption of established terms by the continuous addition of new meanings. The notable study by Kroeber and Kluckholn on culture had reported more than a hundred definitions of this word by different scholars, mainly anthropologists, but also psychologists and others [citation ??]. The Committee on Comparative Politics had but recently added to this list by focusing attention on political culture [citation Pye's book in CCP series].
I saw these two apparently different problems as symptoms of a single basic cause, the resistance of social scientists to neologisms. Whereas in the natural sciences, medicine, biology, etc. there is widespread acceptance of the notion that newly discovered phenomena or newly invented concepts should be given distinctive names that would readily distinguish them from other concepts, social scientists are reluctant to do this. I have speculated about the reasons elsewhere, making a distinction between crypticand delphic languages, in which the former relies heavily on unfamiliar but precise terms and the latter on familiar but ambiguous words [1986b]. In general, social scientists rely on delphic practices, whereas natural sciences goes for the criptic. The consequences for social science are highly dysfunctional. When a new concept comes to mind, social scientists sometimes coin a descriptive phrase, which is a good solution, but they often re-define an established word, stipulating that it should be used to represent a new concept -- this is surely damaging. Sometimes they even argue that the word has a "real" or "deep" meaning that has been obscured, and the new definition identifies it.
Such words as ideology and power come to mind: both of these words have many meanings endthat can easily cause ambiguity and confusion. An innovator can claim to have discovered the basic meaning -- offering a definition that is supposedly not a new concept but a representation of the "essential" meaning of the word. There is a literature on contested concepts that provides many examples [Connally 1974] Unfortunately, this phrase is misleading: the contests arise over multiple meanings of words with partisans arguing that it ought to mean this rather than that. Each of these meanings is a separate concept and those who want to use a word for any one concept may well challenge those who use it to mean something else.
The Semantics of Concepts
There is a sub-field of Linguistics that looks into the meanings of words -- especially the problems of polysemy, i.e., the multiplication of the meanings of words. This sub-field is called Semantics.[Lyons, Semantics, ??] I believe that it has a great deal to offer social scientists who could clarify their thinking by looking into this field. A key semantic question involves the definition of a concept. Consider, first, a basic triangle, whose three points, A, B, and C, can be identified with key features of a concept.
NOTE: I prepared figures to insert in the text for illustrative purposes, but have failed to code them properly. Readers who want to see my four figures can get a copy by FAX from the author by sending him a request by e-mail. Eventually, I hope to succeed but for now I am bamboozled!
The semantic ordering of these elements starts with A for the sign(word, term, phrase, symbol) used to represent a concept. Semantics puts the sign first because its focus is on how to understand what signs refer to.
The B in the triangle refers to intension (connotation, definition, description), a text that identifies the necessary characteristics of a concept. In dictionaries one will typically find an entry word (A) followed by a set of sense definitions (B) for each of the word's meanings.
The C in the triangle is called the extension (denotation, object, referent), i.e., whatever in the real world can be understood as having been identified by a concept. Thus if the sign is bureaucrat, its intension might be "any appointed official employed by a government.," and its extension could be all the John Does and Jane Smiths who are on the payroll of the U.S. (or any other government). In a bureaucratic polity such officials are, by definition, members of the ruling class, but in all representative governments, the bureaucrats are subject to political control and work primarily to implement policies, i.e., as administrators.
The three parts of the triangle are different and we need to be clear about them in our discourse. I equate the notion of a concept with B, the intension. Think of it as a text that identifies the necessary characteristics of a concept. Some people think of the sign (A) as a concept, but I believe it is more precisely called a term -- terms representconcepts (as described in B) but they are not themselves concepts.
As for C, the referents of a concept are not part of it -- they are what the concept identifies. Actually, the extension of a concept may not exist -- thus, the concept of zero points to a non-entity. That does not make it insignificant. Indeed, it is a basic notion in mathematics and our banking and computing systems could not work without it. However, normally the extension of a concept is very real -- it includes all the objects we can find or hope to find in the world. Whenever we cluster any set of objects on the basis of shared characteristics and try to generalize about them, we are forming a concept.
The nominal or formal mode of analysis, as found in Semantics, goes from A (term) to B (text) to C (objects). Empirically, we can reverse this sequence, starting with the objects (C) that we want to study, we write a description (definition, text) that identifies their necessary characteristics (B), and then make sure that we have one or more signs (A) that conveniently and unambiguously represent the set of objects we want to think about. To illustrate, consider that Americans interested in Public Administration want to generalize about career civil servants -- how to train, recruit, discipline, motivate and monitor their activities. They might choose to use bureaucrat to refer to this class of persons.
However, others may prefer to think about all appointed officials as a class -- including military officers and patronage appointees, as well as career civil servants. They could also decide to use bureaucratto refer to this class of objects. If so, clearly the same word will be used to represent two different concepts. No harm will be done if each group of users makes clear by their intension ("definition") just which set of public employees they have in mind. But if they do not do so, someone using the word for the first concept will misunderstand someone using it for the second, etc. I put the word "definition" in quotation marks because it is normally not used for just the text in B. Rather, it involves a relation between A and B, as when we define words or, less often, a relation between C and B, as when we define an object (e.g., drug addiction) as a disease rather than a crime. Concept descriptions (B alone) are not definitions in either of these senses.
I think the best way to deal with the ambiguity caused by a word with several meanings is
to invent a new term for each of its useful meanings. No doubt, in context, such words can
be used without ambiguity, but whenever the intended meaning is not clear, the
unambiguous synonym can be used to overcome possible confusion. To illustrate, consider
the word bureaucracymentioned above [a book discussing its many meanings is Albrow
Bureaucracy] -- see also my article [1979a]. The original meaning of this word, as noted
above, was not just a body of officials, but such a body when it dominated a polity. When
the word was coined, it was seen as an addition to the Aristotelian set: monarchy,
aristocracy, anddemocracy. Soon thereafter, however, bureaucracy came to be used for a set
of officials -- sometimes just career civil servants, and sometimes a broader concept that
includes all public workers, including military officers -- regardless of their political role. In
contemporary usage, the word usually refers to officials as powerless implementers of
public policy, and it often carries derogatory connotations, but it ignores contexts in which
they are the primary holders of power.
I needed the original concept of bureaucracy in order to explain the working of polities like
Thailand, under the domination of appointed officials. I could have used bureaucracy to
designate this kind of polity, explaining that I used the word in its original sense rather
than for any of its later meanings. However, these later meanings are so strongly
entrenched that I knew I would encounter strong resistance if I did this and so I proposed a
neologism, bureaucratic polity. In this case, the concept is not new but it is simply one of the
existing ("contested") meanings of a well established word. This example also led me to
believe that neologisms may be needed not only to represent new concepts but also to
designate old concepts when the terms for them have become corrupted by added
At subsequent IPSA Congresses we were able to organize panels that focused largely on selected terms and their multiple meanings. Eventually, we decided to package some of these papers in a book, and Sartori took the lead to organize some fruitful meetings among the contributors. Our work eventually appeared as Sartori, ed. Social Science Concepts(Sage, 1984) My own contribution was a chapter on development, a word that had come to be used in our post-war literature for an astonishingly large number of concepts. Sartori wrote the introduction in which he set forth his understandings of the problem and his proposals for dealing with them. We had paved the way for this project by an earlier publication, The Tower of Babel,  In it, Henry Teune, Sartori and I presented three articles dealing with theoretical problems of concept definition and the use of terms. The attached bibliography lists these and other documents resulting from my work with COCTA.
Interest in COCTA spread and before long we established a parallel group in the
International Sociological Association, under the same name. It became Research
Committee #35. The high point of our efforts came in August 1978 when we were able, with
modest financial help from the ISSC, to hold a week-end workshop in Skokloster, Sweden,
just before the opening of the ISA Congress in Uppsala. It was, indeed, an exciting
experience and broadened our perspective by bringing in, for the first time, specialists on
classification and terminology. We were able to discuss papers to be presented in Uppsala,
and broaden our own understanding of the fundamental problems. We recognized that in
addition to substantive concepts of the social sciences, there are important methodological
concepts and metaconcepts that apply to all social science disciplines. To a considerable
degree, sessions of the ISA/COCTA were devoted to the discussion of these metaconcepts.
UNESCO organized a conference at Valescure, France, in June 1974, which focused on how to expand UNESCO'S general information program (UNISIST) from the natural to the social sciences. In this context, the problems of terminology came up. An important contribution was made by Helmut Felber, representing INFOTERM, the international clearing house for Terminology located in Vienna. (I will write "Terminology" to represent the field of study, reserving "terminology" to refer to the vocabulary of any field) Felber argued persuasively that instead of starting with terms and looking into their meanings, one should start with concepts and ask how best to represent them.
For me, this was a key point, confirming my own opinion. Ever since then I have focused my own efforts on reversing the normal semantic paradigm in which the meanings of words are investigated. This explains my interest in finding suitable terms for the concepts that we need, starting with the question of what to call this approach. I felt unhappy with the established term, "Terminology." Because its root is term rather than concept, it lacks face validity. Moreover, despite what Felber said, I found that much of the work of Terminologists hinges on words and their definitions.
Because most of their work is in technical fields, especially engineering and natural science,
they have also given priority to the need for standardization, i.e., the effort to induce
everyone using a particular concept to represent it by one and only one term. I felt from the
start that, important as standardization might be in technology, it would not work in social
science where we need to be able to use different synonyms for the same concept, and we
can even use equivocal terms without ambiguity whenever the context clearly indicates
which of several possible meanings is intended. However, many of the techniques developed
by Terminology could be utilized in the social sciences, and so I urged COCTA members to
pay attention to the relevant methodologies promoted by Terminologists and to ignore their
call for standardization. Eventually, even some Terminologists came to accept the notion of
non-standardizing descriptive terminology as useful in certain fields -- see Riggs, Malkia and
Budin Descriptive Terminology .
From INTERCONCEPT to INTERCOCTA
As a follow-up to Valescure, UNESCO convened a meeting in
Paris, May 1977, to talk about social science terminology. As a result, I
was asked to form a small working group under the name, INTERCONCEPT, and
carry out a preliminary study focused on the meanings of
development. The group held two meetings, first at Hattenheim,
Germany in June 1978, and then again in Budapest, Hungary in August 1979.
My conclusions based on these discussions were presented at a COCTA panel
during the Moscow Congress of IPSA in 1979 that was later published in [1979b]. After further revision, this document became a
UNESCO Report , and terminated the INTERCONCEPT
My work in this project generated data that I later used in my chapter on the meanings of
development published in the Sartori volume  mentioned above. Unfortunately, this
was a restricted semantic analysis of the many senses attributed to this word, and I was not
able to supplement it onomantically with proposed terms for each important concept in the
compilation. Perhaps that could be excused because there were just too many meanings
and many had no lasting import.
UNESCO accepted our report and terminated the project, on the premise that we had done all that was necessary and that decisions about any follow-up steps should be made by someone else. I was disappointed because I thought the report opened up an important line of work that needed to be pursued -- we had really only begun. However, we decided that perhaps we should try to continue the process as a private initiative under the sponsorship of ISSC/COCTA. Although we received no money from the ISSC for this purpose (except for the Skokloster meeting noted above) , we did benefit from their imprimatur, and we were able to secure independent funding for two important conferences.
The first was in Bielefeld, May 1981, and led to the publication of a book which I edited,
The CONTA Conference . Ingetraut Dahlberg, who had been a founding member of
the INTERCOCTA group, organizing our first meeting at Hattenheim, took the initiative
to raise money, mainly from foundations in Germany, to fund this conference. It covered a
wide spectrum of conceptual and terminological problems and led to a report by Eric de
Grolier, as rapporteur, in which various follow-up steps were recommended, including the
ambitious goal of producing an international encyclopedia of concepts.
My own paper for this conference used the term, ana-semanticto refer to an orientation that reversed the conventional semantic one. Instead of going from A to B to C in the semantic triangle mentioned above, it would go in the opposite direction, i.e., from C to B to A. Starting with objects (C), we would ask what concepts exist or need to be invented to link the sets of objects that one wants to study as they relate to other objects. The next step would be to develop clear descriptions (B) of these concepts by identifying the necessary characteristics of the objects to be studied. Note these are not definitions in the normal sense of this word, as explained above. Rather, they are concept descriptions. In a recent COCTA memo I offer some simple examples to illustrate this procedure.
In the ana-semantic perspective, after one has produced a text (B) that identifies the
characteristics necessary to identify a particular group of objects, one would then ask what
word, phrase, or symbol (A) could most conveniently and unambiguously represent this
concept. Because I received some criticisms of the term, ana-semantic, I looked for a more
acceptable synonym and came up with onomantic. The criticisms came from scholars who
argued that Semantics is a broad field that actually includes what I called "ana-semantic."
Although I failed to find corroborative material, I thought there is no need to pick a fight
with any Semanticists who do indeed study the sequence from concept to term (intension to
sign) -- instead, we should all learn from them.
Moreover, after thinking of onomantics, I came to like this term better than ana-semantics. Etymologically, it builds on onoma-, a combining form that relates to naming -- everyone knows it in such words as synonym and antonym. Practically speaking, since it rhymes with semantics, it is easy to remember. Taxonomically, it contrasts with onomastics (the naming of objects) and is a sub-field of onomasiology(the study of all naming/designating processes). You will find a segment on my Web Page devoted to Onomantics in which I have posted various items that elaborate on and illustrate the onomantic mode of analysis. distinction enables us to discriminate between two kinds of signs: in the semantic mode, signs are signifiers, each being a word or phrase whose meanings can be defined.
By contrast, in the onomantic mode, signs are designators, i.e., words or phrases used to represent a previously described concept (B). To visualize this shift in perspective, one might sketch two triangles and use arrows to show the clockwise (semantic) movement from sign (signifier) to intension to extension in the first triangle, and in the second triangle, a counter-clockwise (onomantic) set of arrows to show the process going from extension to intension to sign (designator).
These two modes of analysis need to be seen as complementary, not contradictory, though each can be used alone. Only the Onomantic perspective is needed when new concepts are introduced. But it is often important to use both -- as in the Chinese yin/yang image, opposites may complement each other in a harmonious unity and both are needed in tandem. When semantic analysis reveals that more than one useful concept is signified by a single word, we also need the onomantic mode to help us think of unambiguous designators for each. My earliest expposition of the onomantic perspective can be found in the introduction to the Ethnicity Glossary which is available as the How and Why . In a much more technical recent work, I criticized the terminology used by Terminologists and suggested that a different set of designators based on strict onomantic principles would be useful both on its own merits and as a framework for clarifying some of the contradictions found in the established practices of this field -- see Onomantics and Terminology [1996-7].
Words often have senses that are irrelevant for us, in which case we can disregard them. Thus mouse in the vocabulary of computer science refers only to a kind of pointer, and the original meaning of a type of rodent is irrelevant. By contrast, a big problem for social scientists arises from the need to distinguish between two or more meanings of a word when each of them is a useful concept.
In my earlier example of bureaucracy, we need the original concept of a polity dominated by appointed officials, and we also need the later meaning of a set of officials. By coining a new term, bureaucratic polity, it becomes possible to distinguish between these different meanings of one word. I use equivocal to refer to the kind of ambiguity that arises when a term has two or more useful meanings within a single subject field. By linking the Semantic and Onomantic approaches, one can first identify the different useful concepts signified by one term, and then find additional terms that can be used unequivocally for each of these concepts.
Note that whereas in Semantics any term may signify more than one concept, this relation is reversed in Onomantics where any concept may be designated by more than one term. More schematically:
In fields where standardization is important, standardizers try to get users to accept only one of the synonyms for a concept. At an ASTM conference in Philadelphia I discussed the alternative paradigm needed by social scientists in which systematic relationships between concept are much more important than the standardization of terms: [1995c]. A fuller explanation of this position is presented in  and a segment on my Web Page devoted to Onomantics contains links to several papers that develop and illustrate the principles of onomantic analysis that I summarize below.
A Conceptual Glossary (Nomenclator)
To fill in the historical background, we began to flesh out the onomantic approach at a conference that I organized on behalf of ISSC/COCTA in May 1983 that took place in Caracas with funding by a UNESCO participation grant to the Venezuelan UNESCO Commission. The focus of our discussion was on how to move ahead concretely in conceptual analysis and it was decided that, instead of investigating all the meanings of a selected word, as we had hitherto done, we should select a subject field and ask what concepts are used and needed for work in this field. The field of ethnicity was selected, and I agreed to proceed with the preparation of a conceptual glossary (nomenclator) for the field that would inquire into the feasibility of an Onomantic approach by contrast with the Semantic (signifier-based) alphabetical format of virtually all existing glossaries.
The project was not designed to be a comprehensive review of the literature. Instead, we began with COCTA papers that had been presented earlier -- e.g., by Robert Jackson at the Moscow IPSA Congress and John Ayoade at the Bielefeld conference. We also wanted to represent Russian, African and other perspectives not much considered in the established literature. The process took a long time but led, eventually, to the preparation of a Conceptual Glossary for Ethnicity which was published in 1985 on behalf of the ISSC at the University of Hawaii Press.
Each concept record in this glossary has this Onomantic structure:
In addition, each record provides links to related records. Note that we speak of concept records instead of entries in order to make a clear distinction between the alphabetized entries, headed by words to be defined, as found in dictionaries, and concept records which start with a symbol that places them in a system of related concepts, as seen in Roget's Thesaurus.
The classification scheme designed for the project appears in an annex. Because notations are used to head each record, all concepts are located in a theoretical framework that automatically associates them with each other. The use of entry words in dictionaries means that the only immediate links between key words are orthographic, they hinge on how a word happens to be spelled. Readers familiar with Roget's Thesaurus will recall that all the synonymies in that book are ordered according to a logical classification scheme. This means that words for related concepts appear near each other, not widely scattered by their spelling.
An alphabetical index enables users of the Thesaurus to find any word whose synonyms
they may be hunting for. Similarly, in the ethnicity glossary, there is an alphabetical index
that enables readers to look up any term found in this collection. The sources are also listed
in a bibliography that serves as a supplementary index, guiding users to all the entries
based on a particular text -- our goal was to support the understanding of theoretical and
research contexts in which any given concept was used.
In addition to these macro-level indexing tools, each record contains micro-level links to related concepts. Broader concepts are identified by key words used in a concept description whenever they are defined in another record. We called these entailed terms and inserted code symbols that would enable a user to go directly to their definitions. The reverse relation involves narrower concepts, i.e., those making use of any concept as part of their definitions. A separate line below the terms for each concept identifies these chained entries.
Links at the entailed terms in each concept description permit users to jump to broader concepts, and links in the appended list of chained records enable one to jump to narrower concepts. A hierarchy that goes from narrower to broader concepts is what Sartori had in mind when he talked about a ladder of abstraction. A common source of ambiguity arises from our tendency to use the same word for concepts at higher or lower levels of abstraction -- e.g., bread to mean food, or foodto mean bread. At the definitional level, this involves deleting or adding characteristics to the related concept description.
Among the terms offered for each concept are some that have more than one meaning in the glossary. We called these equivocal terms (ET) and marked them as such. A cross reference follows every equivocal term so that readers can easily see what other meanings that word or phrase can have.
Whenever an established term for a concept has only one meaning in this glossary, it is
marked as an unequivocal term (UT) -- obviously no cross-references are needed in these
cases. Whenever we could not find any unequivocal term for a concept, we offered a
suggested term(ST) that could be used by anyone wishing to adopt it. It was not intended as
a recommendation but only as an example of what could be used -- I believe only authors
writing about a subject who see the need for a new term have the right to recommend one.
This exercise did show, however, that it is pretty easy to think of unequivocal terms for
almost any concept. Scholars can do that when they are proposing new concepts -- but it is
important for them to know that the concepts they have in mind are, indeed, new.
Conventional dictionaries can never provide such information since they retrieve words,
not concepts. Relevant proof of conceptual innovation can only come from systematic
glossaries in which concepts are arranged in a logical way, not by key words.
Finally, let me warn readers again that although we covered many aspects of ethnicity, our demo-glossary is neither complete nor authoritative. Rather, it is designed merely as an illustrative model to show what could be done in any field of specialization to compile a nomenclator of interdependent concepts needed in that field. To distinguish this type of conceptual glossary from the virtually universal format of alphabetized entry terms used in the design of glossaries, I felt it would be useful to coin another term for it, and I proposed nomenclator. However, since conceptual glossary can also be used without ambiguity for the same concept, I regard this term as a convenient but unnecessary synonym. 1984
I first presented the logical arguments for the design of a nomenclator at the IPSA Congress in Moscow in 1979 -- the paper was published later that year as: "A New Paradigm for Social Science Terminology." International Classification. 6:3, pp. 150-158. Subsequently, after publishing the Ethnicity Glossary in 1985, I offered a more elaborate and tested analysis of the logical basis for the design of a nomenclator in a report to UNESCO [1986a] that was published as: Help for Social Scientists: A new kind of reference process. Reports and papers in the Social Sciences. No. 57. I also prepared a detailed manual with instructions on how to compile such a nomenclator. UNESCO published it in  as: The INTERCOCTA Manual: Towards an International Encyclopaedia of Social Science Terms. Reports and papers in the social sciences. No. 58. To make the fundamental problems and solutions available for dealing with social science concepts and terms more widely available, I wrote several follow-up articles: clarifying the linkages between lexicography and terminology in , to show how the same concepts are often designated by different terms in separate disciplines , and an overview of the problems of social science terminology in [1993b].
The Ethnicity Glossary itself was prepared on a computer program and published in 1985 -- well before hypertext technology had been perfected. I still have copies and, so long as the supply lasts, I am willing to send the book to anyone who asks for a copy. When Matti Malkia came from Finland to spend a year with me in 1991/2, he brought not only a personal interest in terminology but also a mastery of computer technology that I lacked. He was able to transcribe all the material in our glossary into a computerized hypertext form that could easily be copied to anyone's PC . I will mail a copy on a diskette to anyone wishing to examine it, and Matti is also now able to provide a copy through the INTERNET [1995b]. According to Malkia:
"The current online version is based on the Hytelnet shell program. It can be used at telnet://18.104.22.168. Users must log in with username "cocta" and password "anonymous". A WWW gateway to this system is available from URL: INTERCOCTA Glossary
"In the near future, a new HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) based version of the Ethnicity glossary will be completed and made available to all WWW-browsers. Enhancements could be achieved by using Hyper-G, the new hypertext markup language developed at the Graz University of Technology in Austria. It is similar to HTML, but more structured, and it offers several technical advantages in comparison with HTML, especially in the construction of glossaries." To get more information, readers should go to Malkia's Home Page
Incidentally, working on concepts of ethnicity led me to become interested in the field and I began to do research and write papers on the modern ethnic problems of diversity and ethnic nationalism. However, here is not the place to talk about this -- rather, I take it up below in Chapter 5
Onomantics and the Future
Although the field of Onomantics has not yet gained much recognition, I believe it holds great promise, and provides a technique needed by all social scientists who want to write more clearly about whatever problems they choose to analyze. COCTA will continue in both IPSA and ISA to provide a focus for research on conceptual and terminological problems. This will, I hope, include guidance on the use of both Semantic and Onomantic methods to help scholars clarify the concepts and terms they need to use. However, in addition to its own sessions at world congresses, COCTA should be able to help all interested members of these associations clarify and enhance their own ability to use key concepts clearly and effectively. My own thoughts on how this can be done are recorded in a report on the past and future of COCTA, including the INTERCOCTA project, that can be found at: Review
Readers will also find on my Home Page a segment named "COCTA" on which relevant
documents are posted. I am also managing an e-mail list (COCTA-L) for persons anywhere
in the world interested in these problems -- it is closely tied to the Web Page and
encourages discussion of key problems. Meanwhile, Matti Malkia has taken over the
leadership of ISSC/COCTA and the INTERCOCTA project -- a full statement of his plans
can be found at Future Plans Anticipating the termination of ISSC sponsorship of COCTA,
we are now planning to organize INTERCOCTA as an autonomous entity with links not
only to IPSA/COCTA and ISA/COCTA, but also to any counterpart and supporting
groups in other associations who may want to work with us.
Two recent developments will, I think, enhance the process described in this report. First, Matti Malkia was able, through the Finnish UNESCO Commission to secure support for a seminar held in Tampere, December 15-17, 1995. At this seminar which did much to advance our thinking about how to do terminology work in the social sciences, Matti gave a paper on the bottom up approach which I found extremely important, and my own recent terminological work has been based on this premise, as illustrated by my paper Turmoil among Nations. Concept records drawn from this paper are displayed in a classified array, with links to the individual records. See also [1995a].
I also agreed with Malkia's conclusion that the top down approach followed in the design of
our Ethnicity Glossary (where a reference tool for a whole subject field was compiled in the
way that lexicographers write a dictionary) is premature. Such a tool will become
appropriate only after a preparatory process in which interested scholars work together to
develop the concepts and terms of their field.
This is now feasible because of the INTERNET. It could not have been done prior to the establishment of the World Wide Web which, of course, is anchored in a universally available hypertext format. Readers of a Web Page anywhere in the world can use links on that page to jump to other pages where related information is available. We decided to use this technology for experimental purposes. Ultimately, I think, we shall be able to use the Web to enable specialists in any given field to identify, with hypertext links, the new concepts and terms of their field as they develop them. Ideally, they may also want to compile Nomenclators (conceptual glossaries) for the established terms of their field, giving them a frame of reference to determine whether or not proposed new concepts are really new. Actually, the use of hypertext links on the INTERNET should now enable us not only to link sites at which specific concepts are described and used, but also to integrate this information with bibliographic data, current research information, abstracts, and other relevant kinds of scholarly materials -- I discussed these possibilities in [1993a].
After some discussion of various bottom-up possibilities at IPSA/COCTA meetings in Seoul  we accepted a proposal by Henry Teune to focus a survey project on the meanings of globalization. We saw this word as an increasingly important term used by social scientists to discuss a wide range of interdependent phenomena that are now occurring on a planetary basis. The INTERNET itself is both a reflection of globalization and an important contributor to the process. Although the study of globalization is not yet formally recognized as a subject field, it has already become the subject of many books, articles, seminars and even graduate programs. Unlike the earlier COCTA projects to identify the many meanings of a key work, the globalization project will undertake to apply the onomantic mode to identifying unequivocal terms that can also be used to disambiguate the use of globalization whenever, in context, the word's intended meaning is not clear.
As an increasingly popular buzzword, globalization has come to have a wide range of meanings. We decided to tap into this process to see whether or not we could help scholars interested in globalization develop a coherent set of concepts to enable them to specify more precisely what they want to talk about, i.e., to identify the objects of their concern in conceptually relevant ways. Bear in mind that any word like globalization that can have a wide range of meanings and can, in fact, be used in context to refer precisely to any of them. As such it is a shelter term -- see my essay on this notion at: shelter
To support precise communication, however, having a separate and unequivocal term for each of the meanings of a shelter term will permit discourse on the subject to be more precise and meaningful.
After the Seoul Congress, Teune and I launched the Concepts of Globalizationproject
through a questionnaire to members of the International Sociological Association. The
results were presented and discussed at a roundtable chaired by Henry Teune during the
ISA Montreal Congress in July 1998. I had planned to attend but a bout of pneumonia
striking just before the meeting date made that impossible. Information about our findings
so far can be found on my Home Page  starting from: Globalization Notes . We now
plan to extend the project to members of the International Studies Association and IPSA,
compiling the results in a single conceptual glossary on the Web that anyone interested in
this subject can consult and contribute to, on an interactive basis. I shall talk more about
this project below in Chapter 7 . That is because any deep conceptual inquiry is sure to
have substantive consequences. I had already realized this because my work on concepts of
ethnicity led to research into ethnic problems, especially the modern rise of ethnic
nationalism, which is the theme I shall develop next, in Chapter 5 .
BIBLIOGRAPHY: To be added
Links to Home Pages containing information relevant to Conceptual and Terminological problems can be found at Sites
Onomantics segment on Riggs Home Page: Onomantics
The ISA/COCTA Home Page: ISA/COCTA
The IPSA/COCTA Home Page: IPSA/COCTA
ISSC/COCTA and plans for INTERCOCTA, by Malkia: Plans
An essay on the past and future of COCTA by Riggs: Review
1995a. Turmoil among Nations The text . To see a classified set of concepts with links to interrelated records go to: concept classification. This project also illustrates the bottom-up approach
1995b. Mälkiä, Matti. INTERCOCTA Nomenclator for Ethnicity Research. Internet/On-line version. (Ed. by Fred W. Riggs; Hypertext version developed by Fred W. Riggs and Matti Mälkiä; Modified for Hytelnet runtime program by Matti Mälkiä). Hypertext system based on the Unix/Hytelnet runtime program; to be used with Unix-machines. To be used on-line at telnet kielo.uta.fi. Log in as user "intercocta" with password "anonymous".
1992. Riggs, Fred W. & Mälkiä, Matti (1992): INTERCOCTA Nomenclator for Ethnicity Research. Version 1.00 (1992-08-31). (Ed. by Fred W. Riggs; Hypertext version developed by Fred W. Riggs and Matti Mälkiä). Hyplus/HyperRez based hypertext system to be used in PC-machines. Distributed through the INTERCOCTA Network.
1985. Riggs, Fred W. (1985; Ed.): Ethnicity. Intercocta
Glossary. Concepts and Terms Used in Ethnicity Research. Pilot Ed.
[Paris]: International Social Science Council, Standing Committee on
Conceptual and Terminological Analysis. International Conceptual
Encyclopedia for the Social Sciences, Vol. 1. Introduction: Why and How of
CHECK-LIST: Papers published or on file
CHECK-LIST: Papers published or on file
1997. Coming to Terms with Social Science: a conceptual essay IPSA/Seoul 1997.
1996. Riggs, Fred W. & Mälkiä, Matti & Budin, Gerhard: "Descriptive Terminology in the Social Sciences". In: Wright, Sue Ellen & Budin, Gerhard (Eds.) Handbook of Terminology Management. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1996. Copied to Descriptive Terminology
1996-7. "Onomantics and Terminology:"Knowledge Organization See the draft
1995c. "The Representation of Concept Systems." Standardizing and Harmonizing Terminology: Theory and Practice.Sue Ellen Wright and Richard A. Strehlow, eds. Philadelphia, PA: ASTM 1995.pp.63-74.
1993a. ISSIS: An Integrated Social Science Information System. Paper presented at the 13th World Congress of Sociology, July 18-23, 1994, Bielefeld, Germany, RC 35 (Committee on Conceptual and Terminological Analysis), Session 8 (INTERCOCTA Workshop).
1993b. "Social Science Terminology: Basic Problems and Proposed Solutions" Terminology: Applications in Interdisciplinary Communication. K. Soneveld, ed. Amsterdam: John Benjamins,.pp.195-220.
1990. "The Interdisciplinary Tower of Babel."International Social Science Journal. 126 (Nov.)577-592. Paper for the American Political Science Association conference, Washington, D.C., 1988.
1989. "Terminology and Lexicography: Their Complementarity." International Journal of Lexicography. 2:2. pp. 89-110.
1988. The INTERCOCTA Manual: Towards an International Encyclopaedia of Social Science Terms. Reports and papers in the social sciences. No. 58. Paris, UNESCO.
1987. "Indigenous Concepts: A Problem for Social and Information Science." International Social Science Journal. 114. pp. 607-617. Published also in French and Spanish editions.
1986a. Help for Social Scientists: A new kind of reference process. Reports and papers in the Social Sciences. No.57. Paris, UNESCO
1986b. "Lexical Lucidity: The Intelligiblility of Technical Communications." Wissenschaftssprache und Gesellschaft.Theo Bungarten, ed. Hamburg: Editioln Akademion. pp. 113-132.
1984. "Development" in Social Science Concepts: A Systematic Analysis. Giovanni Sartori, ed. (Sage: 1984). Other chapters examining key terms include Consensus by George Graham, Ethnicity by Robert Jackson, Integration by Henry Teune, Political Culture by Glenda Patrick, Power by Jan-Erik Lane and Hans Stenlund, and Revolution by Christoph Kotowski. The theoretical introduction is by Sartori.
1982. Editor: The CONTA Conference: Proceedings of the Conference on Conceptual and Terminological Analysis in the Social Sciences. Bielefeld, West Germany, May 24-27, 1981. Frankfurt: Indeks Verlag. 368 pages.
1981. INTERCONCEPT Report: A new paradigm for solving the terminology problems of the social sciences. Reports and papers in the social sciences, No. 47. Paris, UNESCO.
1979a. "Shifting Meanings of the Term 'Bureaucracy'." International Social Science Journal. 31:4. pp.563-584.
1979b. "A New Paradigm for Social Science Terminology." International Classification. 6:3, pp. 150-158. This paper was first presented at the IPSA Congress in Moscow earlier that year.
1975. Editor: Tower of Babel: On the Definition and Analysis of Concepts in the Social
Sciences. by Giovanni Sartori, Fred Riggs and Henry Teune. Pittsburgh, PA: International
Studies Association, Occasional Paper no.6. 107 pages. Chapter 2, "The Definition of
Concepts" (pp. 39-76), and the "Introduction" and "Conclusion" are by Riggs.
DOCUMENTS BY OTHERS MENTIONED IN THIS CHAPTER
NOTE: references to be completed later
Albrow, Martin Bureaucracy
Connally, William E. The Terms of Political Discourse. Heath, 1994.
Kroeber and Kluckholm. Culture
Lyons, John. Semantics.
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