Factors and Justification of Reconstructing Meaning of Political Texts under Conditions of Cognitive and Interpretative Uncertainty

Fidrya E.S.,

Vice-Rector for Social Communications, Associate Professor at the Institute for Humanities, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, EFidrya@kantiana.ru

elibrary_id: 492928 | RESEARCHER_ID: N-4325-2019

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2019.04.04
For citation:

Fidrya E.S. Factors and Justification of Reconstructing Meaning of Political Texts under Conditions of Cognitive and Interpretative Uncertainty. – Polis. Political Studies. 2019. No. 4. P. 40-56. (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2019.04.04

The study has been supported by a grant of the Russian Science Foundation (research project No. 18-18-00442 “Mechanisms of sense formation and textualization in social narrative and performative discourses and practices”)


In this article, political text is treated as a construct for expressing one’s viewpoint on the events of political landscape; creating a certain effect on different groups of society with an aim to encourage collective will and actions; as well as representing a collective interest. Types of structural and situational factors (including structural balance of social and political groups, cultural and symbolic space, participants of a communication, and their resources recognized by a society) and the way they influence the recipient’s interpretation of a text’s message are shown. Stuart Hall’s Model of Communication, possible ways of coding and decoding both text content and ideological principles of an author and audience are described and discussed. It is noted that, due to the fundamental features of social communication, both authors and recipients find themselves in a situation of constant cognitive and interpretative uncertainty. Whereas situational factors do not distort the meaning but contribute to its construction and further interpretation, the structure of participants, their resources, and the context of communication is accomplished. This article explores the process of text construction and its meaning’s further reconstruction as an active process, in which an agreement is reached between communicative participants on the meaning of their own piece of text and its cultural, social, structural, pragmatic and political contexts, produced by the subjects under the condition of uncertainty. The model reflects the process and factors of text production and perception of its meaning. It is revealed that the interpretation of the meaning of political texts, and the position of participants of communication, depends primarily on claims that they possess social and political capital as resources that ensure the encouragement of collective will and representation of interests. The role of dispositives (as a context of communication) that allows the regulation of cognitive uncertainty and which define appropriate ways of qualification is shown. The article also describes the model of the process of text construction and meaning reconstruction with cultural, social, structural, pragmatic and political context being taken into account as well as the role of political texts in communicative strategies of political actors. 

political text, uncertainty, political communication, justification of worth logics, political capital, dispositif.


Boltanski L., Thévenot L. 2006. On Justification: Economies of Worth. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 390 p.

Bourdieu P. 1991. Political Representation: Elements for a Theory of the Political Field. – Bourdieu P. Language and Symbolic Power. Ed. by John B. Thompson. Cambridge: Polity Press. P. 171-202.

Dequech D. 2003. Uncertainty and Economic Sociology: A Preliminary Discussion. – American Journal of Economics and Sociology. Vol. 62. No. 3. P. 509-532. https://doi.org/10.1111/1536-7150.00226

Gaman-Golutvina O. 2018. Political Elites in the USA under George W. Bush and Barack Obama: Structure and International Politics. – Historical Social Research. Vol. 43. No. 4. P. 141-163. https://doi.org/10.12759/hsr.43.2018.4.141-163

Hall S. 1980 [1973]. Encoding, Decoding. – Culture, Media, Language. Working Papers in Cultural Studies, 1972-1979. London: Routledge. P. 128-138. https://doi.org/10.1075/z.184.211hal

Keller R. 2012. Entering Discourses: A New Agenda for Qualitative Research and Sociology of Knowledge. – Qualitative Sociology Review. Vol. 8. No. 2. Р. 47-75. URL: http://www.qualitativesociolo­gyreview.org/ENG/Volume22/QSR_8_2_Keller.pdf (accessed 25.05.2019).

Ross S. 2011. The Encoding/Decoding Model Revisited. – International Communication Association Conference, Boston, 26-30/5.

Thévenot L. 2002. Conventions of Co-Ordination and the Framing of Uncertainty. – Intersubjectivity in Economics. Ed. by Fallbrook Edward. London: Routledge. P. 181-197.


Boltanski L., Thévenot L. 2013. De la justification: les économies de la grandeur. (Russ. ed.: Boltanski L., Thévenot L. Kritika i obosnovanie spravedlivosti: Ocherki sociologii gradov. Moscow: NLO).

Bourdieu P. 2004. Soziale Ungeichheiten. (Russ. ed.: Bourdieu P. Formy kapitala. – Zapadnaya ekonomi­cheskaya sociologiya: hrestomatiya sovremennoj klassiki. Ed. by V.V. Radaev. Moscow: ROSSPEN. P. 519-536).

Bourdieu P. 2005. Espace social: champs et pratiques. (Russ. ed.: Bourdieu P. Social’noe prostranstvo: polya i praktiki. Saint Petersburg: Aletheia; Moscow: Institut eksperimental’noj sociologii)

Bourdieu P. 2007. Sociologiede l’espace social. (Russ. ed.: Bourdieu P. Sociologiya social’nogo prostranstva. Saint Petersburg: Aletheia; Moscow: Institut eksperimental’noj sociologii).

Gaman-Golutvina O. 2016. Political Science as a Metadisciplinary Matrix. – International Trends. Vol. 14. No. 1. P. 86-94. https://doi.org/10.17994/IT.2016.

Geertz K. 2004. The Interpretation of Cultures. (Russ. ed.: Geertz K. Interpretaciya kul’tur. Moscow: ROSSPEN).

Radaev V.V. 2003. The Concept of Capital. Forms of Capital and Their Conversion. – Social Sciences and Contemporary World Journal. No. 2. P. 5-17. (In Russ.)

Fidrya Е.S. 2011. Social Practices and Devices of Uncertainty Socialization. – IKBFU’s Vestnik. Ser. The Humanities and Social Science. No. 6. P. 107-115. (In Russ.) 

Content No. 4, 2019

See also:

Semenenko I.S.,
«Homo politicus» facing alternative political developments: rethinking the individual dimension of politics. – Polis. Political Studies. 2012. No6

Nezhdanov D.V., Rusakova O.F.,
«Political market» as system-forming metaphor of modern political-science discourse. – Polis. Political Studies. 2011. No4

Shevchenko A.V.,
Stability of political system: homo communicativus vs homo politicus. – Polis. Political Studies. 2009. No5

Selezneva A.V., Rogozar-Kolpakova I.I., Filistovich Ye.S., Trofimova V.V., Dobrynina Ye.P., Streletz I.E.,
Russian political elite: analysis from the perspective of the human capital concept. – Polis. Political Studies. 2010. No4

Morozova E.V., Miroshnichenko I.V.,
«Investors of Political Capital»: Social Nets in the Political Space of a Region. – Polis. Political Studies. 2009. No2



Introducing an article

Polis. Political Studies
1 2010

Menshikov A.S.
How to theorize politics?

 The article text


   2020      2019      2018      2017      2016   
   2015      2014      2013      2012      2011   
   2010      2009      2008      2007      2006   
   2005      2004      2003      2002      2001   
   2000      1999      1998      1997      1996   
   1995      1994      1993      1992      1991