Computational Text Analysis 

Politisk dynamik
The Assembly Hall in Parliament House in Stockholm, Sweden

Computational analysis offers new ways to derive meaning from text. We use large corpora of text as social sensors to measure what people feel, think, and talk about, which allows us to track the emergence of shared social understandings.

The Institute for Analytical Sociology received a generous grant from the Swedish Research Council (VR) to establish a research environment committed to the study of dynamics in public discourse based on large-scale computational text analysis. Our international research group analyzes data from online forums, newspapers, parliamentary speeches to mine for the meaning embedded in these texts. This gives us insights into constantly changing public opinions about societal developments and events. In particular, we seek to understand how Sweden is adapting to modern migration, and we provide a glimpse into the emergence and transformation of the public debate on immigration.

Bringing together relevant scholars with diverse methodological and substantive expertise, we combine research on migration and integration with the development of machine-learning applications for the sociological analysis of text. We apply computational text analysis to understand meaning making and explain the processes by which collectively agreed-upon narratives arise from interactions between the public, the media, and political actors. Recent shifts in public opinion toward immigration––sweeping across Europe in the wake of the “refugee crisis” of 2015––provide a dramatic example of such dynamics. Our aim is to understand the processes by which issues surrounding migration and integration are framed by different social groups, media outlets, and political parties, which we hope allows for evidence-based policy recommendations that tackle key challenges of integration.

Read more: Who is setting the discourse on immigration

Our international team of dedicated text analysts come together for a kick-off workshop in March 2019.

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