The Actors of History: Narrative Network Analysis Reveals the Institutions of Power in British Society Between 1800-1950

Tom Lansdall-Welfare, Saatviga Sudhahar, James Thompson, Nello Cristianini

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

2 Citations (Scopus)
314 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In this study we analyze a corpus of 35.9 million articles from local British newspapers published between 1800 and 1950, investigating the changing role played by key actors in public life. This involves the role of institutions (such as the Church or Parliament) and individual actors (such as the Monarch). The analysis is performed by transforming the corpus into a narrative network, whose nodes are actors, whose links are actions, and whose communities represent tightly interacting parts of society. We observe how the relative importance of these communities evolves over time, as well as the centrality of various actors. All this provides an automated way to analyze how different actors and institutions shaped public discourse over a time span of 150 years. We discover the role of the Church, Monarchy, Local Government, and the peculiarities of the separation of powers in the United Kingdom. The combination of AI algorithms with tools from the computational social sciences and data-science, is a promising way to address the many open questions of Digital Humanities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Intelligent Data Analysis XVI
Subtitle of host publication16th International Symposium, IDA 2017, London, UK, October 26–28, 2017, Proceedings
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Pages186-197
Number of pages11
Volume10584
ISBN (Electronic)9783319687650
ISBN (Print)9783319687643
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Oct 2017

Publication series

NameInformation Systems and Applications, incl. Internet/Web, and HCI

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