CCS Junior Fellow Nicolás Rudas’ New Article in Cultural Sociology

CCS Junior Fellow Nicolás Rudas shares his newest publication, “Numbers as Fact-Icons: The Public Power of ‘6402’ in Post-War Colombia” in Cultural Sociology.

Abstract: In 2021, the Peace Court of Colombia revealed that the national army had systematically executed 6402 innocent civilians, falsely presenting them as members of illegal armed groups. This revelation catapulted the number ‘6402’ into a prominent position within the country’s public discourse. I reconstruct the first six months of the figure’s dissemination, encompassing its coverage in both traditional and social media. In this analysis, I put forth a novel cultural-sociological conceptualization of numbers as ‘fact-icons’, departing from conventional views that regard statistics as purely technical entities.
For wide segments of the Colombian public, ‘6402’ became a continuing political emblem not only because it reflected the magnitude of a real atrocity, but also due to factors of a more symbolic kind. First, the publication of the figure was constructed as a collective experience of ‘epiphany’ by journalists and media commentators. Second, it was infused with deep narratives of national identity by social movement activists. Lastly, it became a focal point of effervescent collective action through stylized aesthetic representations within the realm of popular art.
Congratulations, Nick!