Conceptual construal and social construction

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This chapter focuses on what happens when “emerged” concepts acquire a role in the social process: where concepts go, rather than where they come from. Conceptual construal is seen as the mind-internal end of a process that also involves social ‘construction’. The relationship is discussed in relation to an evolutionary approach to language change (Croft 2000), and the discussion emphasizes the role of causal power as criterial for the distinction between conceptual and social constructions. The framework is contrasted with analysis in terms of ‘discourses’ and analysis in terms of ‘framing’ and is illustrated by an analysis of the so-called ‘cartoon crisis’, a salient example of how social processes involving contested concepts raise interesting conceptual as well as social-constructional issues.


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