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Recovering the Past: Eastern European Web Mining Platforms for Reconstructing Political Attitudes

[journal article]

Voinea, Camelia Florela; Schatten, Markus

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-416070

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Abstract During the past half century, the political attitude of the Eastern European people toward the state, government and society changed dramatically. So did their value systems. Inglehart's materialist vs. post-materialist comparative analysis gives a measure of this value change, but not enough as to fully characterize the phenomena underlining the differences in political culture before and after the Fall of Berlin Wall. Little has left from the communist regimes to prove how this change actually occurred and where we are as compared to the stable democratic regimes. With rare exceptions, no public survey has been developed in the Eastern European countries between 1950-1990 able to mirror people's true beliefs and values. In order to understand the current value systems and political attitudes of the people in the Eastern Europe, we have to recover the past. One way to do that is to identify key concepts in the texts, discourses, audio and video recordings of the past times. The present paper provides the rationale of this approach and describes a system which works on dynamically collecting content-based items from library and web references and resources. The system currently works on concepts described by single words or compound expressions, and could be extended so as to work on multimedia items, like words, images, and sounds (voices, music, audio signals, etc.). Our approach aims at constructing a dynamic system and an open access repository of content-based collections of the past and offers a research instrument to the students of political attitudes toward democracy and freedom of the people in Eastern Europe. We approach the problem of recovering the historical process of political change in the Eastern European societies known as the Fall of Berlin Wall in terms of political attitude change modeling and simulation. Modeling makes intensive use of web and data mining technologies for identifying political attitude structural configurations in patterns of value and belief change. Based on web-extracted political attitude configurations, simulation provides a clue on how political attitude structure looks like, and how political attitude change emerges in macro level political change phenomena.
Keywords political attitude; Eastern Europe; value system; political culture; political change; value change; reconstruction; Internet; conception of democracy; freedom; multimedia; transformation; attitude change; model construction; simulation; model; content analysis; text analysis; data
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; Interactive, electronic Media; Methods and Techniques of Data Collection and Data Analysis, Statistical Methods, Computer Methods
Free Keywords Web mining
Document language English
Publication Year 2015
Page/Pages p. 22-39
Journal European Quarterly of Political Attitudes and Mentalities, 4 (2015) 1
Issue topic Political culture
ISSN 2285-4916
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works