Welfare State Analytics

Text Mining and Modeling Swedish Politics, Media & Culture, 1945-1989

Professor Pelle Snickars, Umeå University
Link to project: westac.se
Contact: pelle.snickars@umu.se

Welfare State Analytics. Text Mining and Modeling Swedish Politics, Media & Culture, 1945-1989 (WeStAc) is a digital humanities research project with five co-operatings partners: Umeå University, Uppsala University, Aalto University (Finland) and the National Library of Sweden. The project will digitise literature, curate already digitised collections, and perform research via probabilistic methods and text mining models. WeStAc will both digitise and curate three massive textual datasets—in all, Big Data of almost four billion tokens—from the domains of Swedish politics, news media and literary culture during the second half of the 20th century. The dataset of “Politics” contains already digitised Swedish Governmental Reports (SOU) and material from the Swedish Parliament, “Media” contains two digitised Swedish newspapers, Aftonbladet and Dagens Nyheter, and “Culture”—which will be digitised—contains a literary journal, Bonniers Litterära magasin and all Swedish novels from 1945 to 1989. WeStAc will establish a scholarly ecosystem of digitisation, curation and research with a twofold objective: (A.) to develop digital curation work, including the preparation of massive datasets for research at the library, and (B.) to develop digital history scholarship and perform DH-inspired textual research. WeStAc will trace discursive changes on a scale hitherto unexplored by Swedish scholars. Considering the possibility to process large amounts of data through methods as probabilistic topic models, NER or word embeddings, WeStAc will analyse how societal transformations can be empirically measured—for example by distant reading the notion of globalisation, or data modeling ideas of emancipation and individualisation.