Elite Networks

Historians have composed a large body of literature on the major Indonesian regime transitions of 1945-50 and 1998 using conventional techniques. Elite circulation is a central theme in that literature. Today, new computational techniques offer the possibility of approaching the same problem in a novel way, complementing existing knowledge and acquiring new insights.

Elite Networks Shifts will extract elite names and their relationships from substantial electronic archives of news media, concentrating on the transitional events of 1945 and 1998 for which data are already in our possession. For 1945, the sources consist of recently digitised national and subnational newspapers for the period 1942-1957. For 1998 they consist of newspaper articles published on the (then new) internet between 1994 and 2010.

The central questions are comparative and cross-disciplinary.

  • How do the elite networks that emerge from this quantitative and statistical study compare with those historians already understood?
  • How sociologically meaningful are the networks generated by computational means from newspaper archives?
  • How can scaled up data mining inform detailed, context-rich historical studies?
  • How do the network shifts of 1945 and 1998 compare with each other?
  • What other interesting questions could be open to investigation with the techniques and data developed in this project?

In particular we expect to make visible the often hidden social network environments of known key actors in these regime shifts. We also expect new insights into the correlations between events over time, and into the role of individuals who co-act in different networks at the same time.

For more information see the project page.


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