POPREBEL Ethnography Code Review Thread

Hello to all, I will hopefully make it on time.

If needed, we can use my Zoom:

Zdeněk Sloboda is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Or in Zoom - Meeting ID: 457 123 1537, Passcode: 3xtFdY

Hi, is anybody there? (Except for me, ofc)

we are here:)

Yes. Sorry. I was a bit late! We are there

@rebelethno brief but efficient call today December 4, we drafted the following plan for the upcoming weeks of December and January:

  1. By Wednesday Dec. 9, the Czech and the Polish team will finish the current round of code “cleanup”, i.e. checking the comments received to their own codes and making any possible adjustments, when unclear about the solution, asterisk si left in place
  2. afterwards, @wojt will export the global list of codes into two shared sheets, maintaining the hyperlinks live, until the end of the next week
  3. these working sheet reflecting on the current state of coding will be used for
    a) testing the application feasibility of our hypothesised ontologically correct hierarchies
    b) testing the applicability of analytical categories proposed by @Jan and aptly named as the project grammar by him
  4. deliver another round of coding until mid-January 2021

The method proposed by point 3) will keep data present in the backend intact while providing feedback instigating further code adjustment, if necessary and simultaneously address a recurrent issue, emanating from our discussions. Distinct hierarchies and categories will be represented by individual lists in the sheet, allowing for easy distribution.

Will it be possible for us to hold another meeting until Christmas, Dec 18? We should discuss:

  • the hierarchies and categories we will operationalize (how to employ tulip the best in doing so?), divide tasks
  • remaining *codes
  • define a protocol of working around the sheets

Looking forward to seeing you again!


Hey guys, I finished my code review, at least what I thought was an easy and clear operation. As codes are shared, some new micro-hierarchies appeared in “my” codebook cerated by others, did not dismantle them yet. However I maintained my “healthcare” hierarchy for two reasons (hope I am not wrong in this): 1. again, it is tied to and might contain codes added by others; 2 it seems ontologically well constructed to me:).

How about the meeting next week on 18th?

Great news!
Let’s meet on the 18th, I’m perfectly fine with it.
There is one more thing, though.
We may do it at some later point in time, but there are still some unresolved asterisked Czech codes. Shall I just put them into the draft for hierarchies as they are and we will inspect them in our meeting?

Here are my ideas on coding activism.

It is a very important topic for us, as we want to learn about many ways people become active. We want to approach activism broadly to include its various forms al the way to participation in protest actions. So, I propose the following coding scheme for "activism.”

Let’s code three dimensions of activism.

  1. Area or domain (in which activism occurs). For example, housing, political parties, health care delivery, etc.
  2. Form of activism: institutional versus non-institutional. This a traditional distinction in the study of politics. A person can either engage in an institutional action via an existing institutional channel or via contentious action or protest activity.
  3. Scale or scope. I really want us to try to catch this. I propose four levels (2 and 3 can be merged to create a three-level scale):
    3.1. Local
    3.2. Regional
    3.3. National
    3.4. Transnational

I also want to emphasize the importance of the political “scale” Wojtek has already introduced in this threat. So, we propose a seven-point scale:

  1. Extreme right
  2. Radical right
  3. Center right (conservative)
  4. Center-liberal
  5. Center left (social-democratic)
  6. Radical left
  7. Extreme left

Why? The idea of dividing the right side of the scale into three “sectors” is taken from Cas Mudde’s recent book The Far Right Today. He divides far right into radical and extreme. I simply replicate this three-fold typology of the right in my analysis of the left. Extreme left are somehow similar to Soviet-style communists (or socialist). The radical left are socialist parties with programs are more radical than those of social democrats.

Now, these distinctions, however useful analytically I believe them to be, may be way too fine for our work. In most cases people will simply talk about “left” or “right.” So, I propose to code such self-identifications in vivo “left” or “right.” So, what’s the use of this seven-point scale? I propose we use only if we are certain that we can assign to a given such more precise assessment of the degree of “leftness” or “rightness.”

Hi, @rebelethno.
So this is the file so far.

You can and shouyld edit it, but please keep it clean and tidy. Namely, I suggest a few rules for our Code Club:
  1. When you want to create a new suggested hierarchy, open a new tab (add a new sheet using the + symbol in the lower left corner of the page), name the category and place all the codes you think belong there by removing them (cutting them out, ctrl+x->ctrl+v) into the new sheet)
  2. Close the blank spaces left in the Every Single Code sheet by deleting blank rows
  3. Write comments when necessary and review other coders’ suggested hierarchies at regular intervals
  4. The sheets for hierarchies will without doubt proliferate, but I’ve been told that each google sheet document can hold up to 200 sheets, so, considering that we will be focusing only on hierarchies that are relevant to the project (at least in the beginning) it should be no problem.
  5. Removing the codes from the Every Single Code sheet will help us keep track of how well we’re doing, but may be a problem if somebody “steals” a code you wanted for your category in order to use it in theirs. If this happens, all disputes should be resolved peacefully, via comments in the documents or oral communication during our coding meetings, without resorting to any form of violence (review other prople’s hierarchy sheets).
  6. Any newly added codes should be introduced into the Every Single Code sheet by means of placing them at the top of the list (I left a few blank rows, you can always add a few by right-clicking on the row number), which should facilitate placing them into appropriate hierarchies afterwards.
  7. The sheet introduces Jan’s idea for our project’s grammar using colour markers (flashy, I know, but I wanted them to be distinct, visible, and in most cases easy to find in the colour menu, apart from dark cyan 1 maybe for Institutions). It’s a preliminary version of how it may be applied, so I’d welcome your input on how it works for you.
  8. When you place your cursors over a given code, five links should appear. They will take you to show/edit/annotations/merge/copy respectively. The most useful is show (the first link), but you can also try and visit other websites using this method.

I will keep working on it (creating suggestions for hierarchies, commenting and colour-coding Jan’s grammar). If you have any questions, suggestions, let me know.
See you on the 18th!

Thanks @Wojt for the spreadsheet. So we do the analytical grouping with colours and the ontological grouping on separate individual spreadsheets. I had this idea already during our last call on Friday. I am glad we had the same idea.

When solving the codes with asterisks, I should do the changes both in the google spreadsheet and the back-end, right?

About this Friday. I am ready to meet. If we could do it a bit earlier, e.g. 13:00 or 14:00 CET, I’d prefer that. But I am not sure whether it is convenient for @Jan and others. If not, 15:00 CET is fine too.

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Yeah, please do that.

That would be perfect for me, to be frank.
I’ll ask @Jan

Dear all, thank you for doing all of this, as I told Zdenek I am ready to meet. @SZdenek could you maybe generate a meeting link and post it here?

Hello all,

my Zoom is available, the question is whether @Richard and @Jan are ok with meeting one or two hours earlier (13:00 or 14:00 CET), or we keep the scheduled 15:00 CET.:man_shrugging:

Zdeněk Sloboda’s Personal Meeting Room -

Meeting ID: 457 123 1537

I can do either of those times. @Wojt, did you hear back from Jan? 13:00 CET is 7:00 in New Jersey, which might be too early for him.

@rebelethno … OK. I am going to be online on my zoom (above) at 14:00 CET, 13:00 UK, 8:00 NJ time. And we will see, who comes. :slight_smile:

Some brief notes on the last @rebelethno meeting before Christmas, Friday 18.12.:

  1. the collaborative procedure for working with the spreadsheet created by @Wojt will follow his recommendations stated above, until mid-January, the team will:
    a) respond to and add comments to the pre-existing hierarchies exported to the individual sheets
    b) distribute the codes listed in the first sheet across the hierarchies, adding comments throughout the process; creation of new hierarchies is possible, the tabs are sorted in alphabetical order from left to right
    c) use the colour codes based on @Jan’s project grammar to tag the individual codes
  2. @Jan agreed to provide a working definition/delimitation of the analytical categories, add them to the wiki dedicated to this topic, the team will implement them and discuss those definitions further
  3. code discussion (systematic):
    a) antagonistic codes (eg. communism and anti-communism) will be kept in the codebook as a “pair”, on the same hierarchical level
    b) coexistence or hierarchization of country/national codes clusters such as Russia, Russians, ‘Russians’, will be subjected to further discussion after the next round of coding
  4. @Jirka_Kocian will elaborate a brief reflection on the differences between the coding models applied in the POPREBEL and DEMOS projects until mid-February; results and working paper of the DEMOS coding can be found here

The team will meet up again on January 15, 2021, the usual time. Pleasant Holidays and happy new year to everyone!

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Hi, @rebelethno !
Notes for organizing our thoughts and codes for our meeting tomorr…err…today.
Jan: first draft 11 January 2021
Discussed with Wojt on a few occasions.

  1. Culture is a massive (and internally incoherent with occasional contradictions) regulatory system (vide: Russian semiotics, Lotman, Uspenskiy et al). It is thus also an information system, providing answers to four questions. Such answers are often provided in the form of more or less coherent stories/narratives. The questions they answer are:
    1.1. What is it? (meaning)
    1.2. Is it good or bad? (value)
    1.3. How should I feel about it? (emotional cue)
    1.4. What should I do? (script or norm)

  2. Types of stories:
    2.1. Everyday stories: close to praxis, common sense, habits (often unreflectively accepted, fragmented, embedded in proverbs, everyday figures of speech, etc.)
    2.2. Myths and ideologies: explicit and elaborate, comprehensive, more coherent and explicitly structured than common sense (that does constitute its own cultural system, as per Clifford Geertz).

  3. Ideology: definitions:
    3.1. Basic positions (after Paul Ricoeur):
    3.1.1. Marx: ideology as distortion (for Marx ideological “delusion” is the reason that people do not fight)
    3.1.2. Weber: ideology as legitimation
    3.1.3. Geertz: ideology as integration
    3.2. Ideologies (in political science) are usefully defined as stories (systems of ideas or configurations of political concepts) that: (1) strive to develop explicit, elaborate, comprehensive, and coherent depictions of the world, (2) justify a specific configuration of power, and (3) provide blueprints (scripts, norms) for sustaining or changing the political system and/or changing the world.
    3.3. For example: M. Freeden (tradition of British analytical philosophy, thus focus on language): “ideologies are configurations of political concepts such as liberty, democracy, justice, and nationhood in which particular interpretations of each constituent concept have been selected out of an indeterminate range of meanings they may signify” (1998:749).

  4. Ideologies are fully-fledged (“thick”) or partial (“thin”). Thick ideologies provide comprehensive answers to all four questions. Populism is a thin ideology.

  5. Typologies of ideologies: a triangle versus a line (liberal conservative, prevalent in the US):
    5.1. Liberalism (dominant value: liberty)
    5.2. Socialism or social-democracy (equality)
    5.3. Conservatism (tradition, community, hierarchy)

So, for coding (my proposals):

  1. Values. Let’s not use this term in the following sense: “Peace is a value.” Instead, “peace,” that needs to be first defined (meaning), becomes a value in the following sentence: “Peace is a good thing we need to strive for.” In other words, something becomes a value through the process of (explicit and positive or negative) (e)valuation. In this approach, if someone says: “They have peace over there,” we cannot say/code that for them “peace” is a value. If, however, they say “I want peace” it is a value, however implicitly declared. Why? Because it is hard to imagine that some “wants” something that they consider to be “bad.”
  2. Ideology. Let’s code – as much as it is possible – specific ideologies (liberalism, socialism, etc.).
  3. Emotions. Let’s use, as much as we can, the typology of emotions proposed by Plutchik (see my note from July 3, 2020), but let’s try to reduce it several simple and basic types. Perhaps 5?
  4. Institutions. Let’s follow the definitional tradition that seems to be dominant in today’s social science. Institutions are rules of the game, usually supported by some sanctions. Let me quote myself:

Concrete coding ideas:

  1. We may want to distinguish “actors” and “institutions,” simply because some actors are institutionalized, and some are not. For example, “government” (institutionalized) and “demonstrators” or “movement” (not). The point is to catch separately institutionalize and non-institutionalized dimension of politics.

  2. Ideally, we would have a coding system in which a post (let’s assume for now that this is a unit of coding; below we introduce the term “thematic unit”) that contains a statement (sentence, several sentences, paragraph) on a specific “object” (say, “hospital”), as well as an evaluation (value) of that object (“bad hospital”) and an emotion (“I am angry because this hospital is so bad,” would be coded three times, with overlapping codes on INSTITUTION (or perhaps ORGANIZATION, given the comment above), VALUE, and EMOTION.

  3. We need a decision on how to code emotions. As suggested above, we may want to have a typology of basic emotions, say, 5-10, or simply go for a dichotomy: positive and negative. This should be discussed, and we need a consensus decision soon.

  4. The second issue, discussed already in the past months, and which we may want to “close” once and for all, is concerns the difference between “post” and what we will call a “thematic unit.” Imagine, please the following situation. A post is composed of two paragraphs. In the first paragraph, the author writes about a hospital and expresses negative evaluation as well as anger (emotion). In the second paragraph they write about railroads and they evaluate them positively and express happiness. As a result, our coding of the post as a whole generates:
    4.1. Two objects (coded as “institutions”): “hospital” and “railroad.”
    4.2. Both positive and negative value (evaluation).
    4.3. Two emotions: anger and happiness.

  5. As much as we understand, there are two ways of dealing with this undesirable situation:
    5.1. The system knows that codes superimposed on each other need to be treated differently than codes appearing in different parts of the post.
    5.2. The post is broken down into two “thematic units” and this operation two, separate coding clusters that make perfect sense.

  6. We may need to go over our coding completed so far and: (1) separate some posts into “thematic units” and (2) (possibly) recode. Given the number of posts already coded, this may be a prohibitively complex and time-consuming exercise. We may want to start, at least, with examining and splitting only those posts which deal with important topics. Below we are beginning to develop a list of such topics. They are chosen due to their centrality in the whole project.

  7. Central concepts for which we propose to create “thematic units:”
    7.1. Actors
    7.1.1. Churches
    7.1.2. Movements
    7.1.3. Governments
    7.1.4. Authorities (local, regional, central)
    7.1.5. The EU
    7.2. Ideology
    7.2.1. Populism
    7.2.2. Conservatism
    7.2.3. Neo-liberalism
    7.2.4. Liberalism
    7.2.5. Feminism
    7.2.6. Anti-communism
    7.2.7. Communism
    7.2.8. Anarchism
    7.2.9. Environemtalism
    7.3. Emotions
    7.3.1. Fear
    7.3.2. Anger
    7.3.3. Distrust
    7.3.4. Unhappiness
    7.3.5. Worry
    The rest is currently being discussed and your input is more than welcome.

We suggest that we go through the comments on the codes in the sandbox document, try to resolve what we can.
If we have enough time, which is doubtful, we can talk about some conceptual nuances and technical issues.
What say you?

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That’s what I call a massive contribution to the discussion:), let’s go with your flow, if @Amelia has a chance to pop by we should maybe also update her on where do we stand right now.

I really like this typology and I think the values explanation is nuanced and excellent. I would add just one category: we also need something along the lines of actions/interventions (the verbs, what people are DOING – e.g. “seeking new experiences” or “organising demonstrations”). I think adding that we will have good core set for coding.

Thanks so much for this great work! I’m looking forward to discussing the terms at the top (culture, stories, ideology) and the coding ideas today! I propose we use this as our agenda, agreeing with Jiri. I’d love it if first we go through this typology to make sure we are on the same page, then go through the codes in sandbox.

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