Elite network shifts during regime change; a computational approach to network analysis using Indonesian language electronic newspaper archives. (KITLV, NIOD, University of Amsterdam, Bandung Institute of Technology, Erasmus University, and DANS)

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 Network 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 digitized 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 project aims to analyze formation, circulation and relocation of new and old elites in times of significant political change in the Netherlands Indies and Indonesia, by means of computational exploration of a large corpus of digitized newspapers.

1. What new insight can computational analysis of contemporary newspaper accounts produce about elite network shifts?

2. What are the similarities and differences between the elite network shifts of 1945 (post-war decolonization and centralization) and 1998 (post-authoritarian decentralization)?

Organized as three subprojects, Elite Network Shifts seeks to learn how meaningful the elite networks that can be computed from contemporary newspaper archives are to existing accounts of the regime changes that occurred. This will involve (1) the extraction of information from which networks of actors can be constructed (subproject 1); (2) operationalizing connections between the theory of social network analysis and longstanding debates among sociologists about elites (subproject 2); (3) determining the relationship between mass media content and underlying patterns of socio-political change (subproject 2); and (4) discussing the relationship between static, snapshot-like types of social network analysis and heuristic network models to explain their constitutive processes (subprojects 2 and 3).

Gerry van Klinken, KITLV (coördinator)
Franciska de Jong, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Peter Keppy, NIOD
Ayu Purwarianti, Institute Technology of Bandung
Maarten de Rijke, University of Amsterdam
Andrea Scharnhorst DANS and e-Humanities group
Fridus Steijlen, KITLV

Jacqueline Hicks, KITLV and eHumanities Group
Vincent Traag, KITLV and eHumanities Group

Ridho Reinanda, KITLV and eHumanities Group

More details: