Case Study 3: Nation and Nationalism

Future developments on this case study topic will be featured on this tab in due course.

Nation building is a widely studied topic in history, sociology and political studies. Most studies on nations and nationalism focus on the period from the eighteenth century to today as a time of formation for modern nation-states by using canonic texts or describing changes in social and economic conditions. The topic of nation building can be approached anew with large-scale digitized newspapers that developed in conjunction with the process of nation building. This case study uses newspapers as a text dataset to statistically describe how the language relating to nationhood changed and how newspapers themselves contributed to shaping national discourses with ethnic, class-based and gendered tensions. We use methods from natural language processing to describe how terms like nation, national, nationalism (and other -isms) changed in meaning over time. Further, we also focus on selected cases of newspapers writing about sudden ruptures in political history, such as the reporting on the largest civil disaster in Austria during WWI.