What do all those funny lines mean? Well, they are one way of visualizing ways of doing, talking, and think about the econolegal…

How can we visualise patterns of interaction? What do economic aspects of interactions look like? What do legal aspects of interactions sound like? This page explains my approach. My recent pieces will appear on my blog first.

There are two reasons to visualise. Firstly, most people do not enjoy wading through large volumes of text to access ideas. Even academics are pressed for time, and visual and acoustic approaches can make engagement quick and improve retention of information.

Secondly, even if you do enjoy lots of text, my research shows how we cannot challenge frames (mental models, or ways of doing, talking and thinking) from inside. We need to step outside of, or beyond, those frames. Visual and acoustic interpretations allow this.

There are so many ways of exploring what sort of society, and what sort of economic and legal aspects of interactions, we could achieve.

Visualising interactions…

Each red dot is a person here. The lines represent existing relations with another person. When these interactions take place, the line flashes blue.

Taking this a step further, what if we imagine that legal aspects of interactions are red, economic are yellow, and other social aspects are green? Zooming out and speeding up a pattern of interactions over space and time might look like this.

The red dots remain the same here. But if each interaction is represented by a line, scaling up and zooming out can result in interesting pictures. This is an easy way of showing that patterns of interaction are repeated and regular, despite the complexity and potential unpredictability of the context.

Patterns of social interaction

Zooming out and scaling up can let us visualise repeated patterns of interaction and the meta-patterns that appear as a result.

Visualising frames…

How can we visualise mainstream frames? Doctrinal legal, or neoclassical economic frames are usually inflexible, unyielding, and incapable of capturing the full flexibility and dynamism of real human interactions.

The straight lines interweaving here show the inflexibility of mainstream ways of doing, talking and thinking. ESL sets out to challenge this.

The pattern here is the same, but the lines are curved showing the flexiblity of the model to incorporate diverse voices and interests.

The pattern is also unpredictable in how it follows the lines, showing how an ESL lens can capture the unpredictable aspects of social interactions.

Z econo-socio-models metamorphosis

This image shows how we can start at the top with mainstream doctrinal and neoclassical approaches.

We can then move down and introduce some flexibility with a sociolegal or sociological lens.

Finally, an economic sociology of law at the bottom of the drawing show us the full range of voies and interests and the flexibility available. This reflects real world interactions more closely, and might allow us to understand how society works, and the role of legal and economic phenomena more closely.

The irregularity and messiness of social life

Eventually, we can visualise the messiness, flexibilty and unpredictability of real world interactions in a way that lets us understand the real role of legal and economic phenomena as these are performed.

Visualising the EconoSocioLegal

econosociolegal fabric

How might we visualise the weaving together of the economic, legal and social?

This drawing shows the three layers woven together to act as one fabric of interaction.

This illustrates a social constructivist interpretation – the idea that legal and economic aspects of interactions are performed and constructed through and within each social interaction.

Once again, the legal is red, the economic is yellow, and the green is the social “other”.

What might we achieve by reintegrating the legal, economic and social like this?

This encourages interdisciplinarity, and getting research to talk across and through boundaries. It also hopes that social science research in the future can build bridges to reunite the disciplines, as they used to be. Social science silos (economics, law, sociology, and others) can benefit so much from working with each other.

Visualising the application of frames…

One way to communicate research is through the use of personae. In this blog post I introduce Academic Ann, Policy Polly, and Lay Lil who explore the difference to their lives and work of reframing.

Through vignettes, discussed in this blog post, we can learn about Ann’s, Pol’s and Lil’s lives, and see how their experiences mirror our own.

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