Conference paper Open Access

Quantifying "Pillarization": Extracting Political History from Large Databases of Digitized Media Collections

Bos, Patrick; Wijfjes, Huub; Voerman, Gerrit; Piscaer, Maaike

Düring, Marten

We analyzed long-term dynamic developments in newspaper content in connection with the process of pillar- ization (the segmentation of Dutch society and politics along religious/ideological cleavages) over the period 1918– 1967. One of the main characteristics of the historical debate on this phenomenon is an alleged close connection of political and media organizations on personnel, organizational and content-driven levels. In the political commu- nication debate, this raises the question about the relationship between ‘politization of media’ and ‘mediatization of politics’. Our preliminary study shows how patterns in the interactive relation between politics and newspapers can be further unraveled, by analyzing data based on the digitized newspaper collection of the Royal Dutch Library and related digitized political historical sources (parliament, parties, biographical material). In particular, it shows differences between Socialist and Catholic approaches towards the pillarized culture of “the other” and themselves. Whereas the Socialist pillar mainly focused on the politics and socio-economics of both their own and other groups, we find that the Catholic pillar was more inclined towards cultural and organizational self-reference.

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