Published March 16, 2023 | Version v1
Journal article Open

"A Sustainable West? Analyzing Clusters of Public Opinion in Sustainability Western Discourses in a Collection of Multilingual Newspapers (1999-2018)"

  • 1. Institute of Computational Linguistics, University of Zurich
  • 2. Section for Cognitive Systems, Technical University of Denmark


In this article, we analyze the temporal and geographic evolution of sustainability-related discourses over a time frame of twenty years (1999-2018). We use a collection of multilingual newspapers in English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian, as a proxy. We filter documents using four key terms: sustainable development, climate change, environment, and pollution, seeking to explore how different newspapers encode the same message, aiming to detect points of contact (agreement) and rupture (polarity). Our methodology includes Topic Modelling (Pachinko Allocation), word embeddings, Ward’s hierarchical cluster analysis, and network analysis. Our results show a progressive simplification of semantic fields over time, reflecting less polarizing views across countries and, therefore, showing an increasing agreement on sustainability-related discourses in our contemporary societies. Moreover, we also notice little variation of newspapers rhetorics over time. Therefore, this article also contributes with a meta-reflection about newspapers behaviour as information containers.


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GLOTECH – Time, Technology, and Globalization. A study of the role of technology in processes of modernization and globalization using the Press, Big Data, and Computational Research Methodologies (GLOTECH) 101024996
European Commission