Words and actions

Words and actions: use-oriented study of concepts and ideas in large and diverse corpora

This project is scheduled for 2019 and is financed by the Future Development Fund of the Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki

The project aims at developing a way of seeing the political texts, in particular, those published on social media, as being produced in connection to the author’s political agency, in a way that takes ideas seriously but does not reduce the agency to a mere contribution to a given debate. The project aims at bringing together conceptual historians and sociologist and political scientists who use justification analysis and in generally analyze the role of ideas in political action from a pragmatic perspective. It sets the goal to explore the possibility to overcome existing limitations of computational linguist’s toolbox  by exploring not only the corpora-level relationship of individual words and concepts, but also their pragmatic use at the level of an individual speech-act. That implies to shift the attention from texts that represent the principles and ideas to the texts where principles and ideas are mobilized to reinforce the argument, to call for action, to contest. Fundamentally, this project will contribute to the theoretical and methodological foundations in text-based studies discussing the role of the ideational dimension of political action.

The project will be implemented at the Faculty of Arts to foster collaboration between the representatives of the Department of Cultures, Department of Digital Humanities and the Aleksanteri Institute. Project activities comprise of a regular reading group meetings and two scientific workshops.

PI: Dr. Andrey Indukaev