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ABSTRACT This paper illustrates an application of computer content analysis in sexology It compares a set of fictional fetishistic narratives published on a web site for rubber boot fetishists n 27 with a set of samples taken from general romance and love stories n 29 Using Martindales Regressive Imagery Dictionary it is shown that the fetishistic narratives contain a significantly higher proportion of primary process content and a significantly lower proportion of secondary process content than the romance and love stories The subcategory of Icarian imagery is the main contributor to this effect These findings appear to support previous theoretical views of fetishism as a regressive state and a destruction of reality Further content analysis studies of a wider range of fetishes may facilitate a typological categorization of fetishism 1 Introduction Computer content analysis has been a mainstream research technique in the social sciences since around the mid-1960s 1 Reduced to its bare essentials it is a methodology that is based on counting the frequencies of entities normally words and phrases within texts However content analysis is not just another name for word frequency analysis cf Leech et al 2001 Rather than counting individual word occurrences content analysis normally aggregates these into categories of some kind In one variant of content analysis correlational content analysis the frequencies of words across a number of texts or text units are subjected to a multivariate analysis eg factor analysis or cluster analysis in order to extract natural thematic categories from the text Muskens 1985 In the other main variant of content analysis categorial content analysis the categories are categories of related meaning rather like the headings in a reference work such as Rogets Thesaurus into which words are classified For example there might be a category called Clothing into which words such as shoes skirt blouse coat boots scarf and trousers are classified each occurrence of one of these
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