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Trawling for Terrorists: A Big Data Analysis of Conceptual Meanings and Contexts in Swedish Newspapers, 1780–1926

Conference paper
Authors Mats Fridlund
Leif-Jöran Olsson
Daniel Brodén
Lars Borin
Published in Proceedings of the 5th International Workshop on Computational History (HistoInformatics 2019) co-located with the 23rd International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries (TPDL 2019) Oslo, Norway, September 12th, 2019, Melvin Wevers, Mohammed Hasanuzzaman, Gaël Dias, Marten Düring, & Adam Jatowt, eds.
ISSN 1613-0073
Publisher CEUR-WS
Place of publication Aachen
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion
Department of Swedish
Language en
Keywords Terrorism, Korp
Subject categories History, Language Technology (Computational Linguistics), History of Ideas


The conceptual history of terrorism has to a significant extent been studied through canonical texts or historical key figures or organisations. However, through the increasing digitization of text materials convential research questions can now be approached from new angles or established results verified on the basis of exhaustive collections of data, rather than limited samples. Specifically, we are interested in evaluating and expanding on prior research claims regarding the meanings and con- texts associated with the concepts terrorism and terrorist up until the twentieth century in a Swedish context. The investigation is guided by the following research questions: What historical meanings of the concept of terrorism were expressed in the Swedish newspaper discourse? What social and ideological contexts and violent political practices was the concept primarily associated with before the First World War?

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