Social scientists are increasingly interested in the systematic use of text. This talk describes a method which combines qualitative content analysis with network analysis. The value of this mixed-method approach will be illustrated by a study of the changing meaning of “youth” during the perestroika period in Russia. This method allows us to trace the shifting paradigms of speaking about youth in the context of the Soviet Union’s breakdown. From the beginning of the reform period, reports about young people’s opposition to the existing political arrangements questioned the legitimacy of the Soviet order. I draw on a sample of articles from four national newspapers, the variation of which captures a vast array of the heterogeneous Soviet discourse during glasnost.
Félix Krawatzek is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow based at the University of Oxford’s Department of Politics and International Relations and a Research Fellow at Nuffield College. He finished his DPhil in Politics in 2015 which explores the meaning of “youth” and the political mobilization of young people in key moments of crisis in 20th-century Europe. Félix is interested in methods of text analysis and techniques to explore large corpora. His postdoctoral project studies how ideas about the future are mobilised as political arguments and he is also involved, with Professor Gwendolyn Sasse, in research on migrants using a digitized collection of migrant letters from the 19th and 20th century.