Conceptualizing the worker. How big data, SMURF and the longue durée can contribute to labour history

Aktivitet: Tale eller præsentationForedrag og mundtlige bidrag


In this presentation I will demonstrate the usefulness of methods of big data analysis and digitized sources when studying the changing meanings and uses of the concept of “the worker” over a period of more than 250 years.
Looking at the “longue durée” of a key concept such as “the worker” will help provide a greater understanding of the strategies and effects of the Social Democratic parties and labor movements during the process of modernization and post-modernization.
A use of the so called "quantitative" or "digital turn" in history research can also help avoid what the two historians David Armitage and Jo Guldi has described as "a crisis of short-termism" characterized by a fragmented, introverted history tradition with a focus on microhistorical studies and highly specialized topics and with an inability to think long-term and synthesize. (The History Manifesto, 2014)
I will discuss Armitage and Guldis argument that new digitized analysis tools and the ever-increasing amount of digitized source material can act as "macroscopes" offering a window to long-term change, based on quantitative analysis of words in their context.
And I will give examples from my work with the concept of “the worker”, where I have used the Danish national platform Mediestream and its analytical tool SMURF.
BegivenhedstitelXV Nordic Labour History Conference: Labouring Lives and Political Protest Across and Beyond the Nordic Countries
PlaceringKøbenhavn, Danmark