Using Graph Theory Software for Political Discourse Analysis

Using Graph Theory Software for Political Discourse Analysis

Bogdan Pătruţ (Vasile Alecsandri University of Bacău, Romania), Monica Pătruţ (Vasile Alecsandri University of Bacău, Romania) and Camelia Cmeciu (Danubius University of Galaţi, Romania)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6062-5.ch017
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In this chapter, the authors show how, using graph theory, one can make a content analysis of political discourse. The premises of this analysis are: we have a corpus of speech of each party or candidate, as empirical data; speeches convey economic, political, and socio-cultural values, these taking the form of words or word families; there are interdependences between the values of a political discourse; they are given by the co-occurrence of two values, as words in the text, within a well-defined fragment or they are determined by the internal logic of political discourse; established links between values in a political speech have associated positive numbers indicating the “power” of those links; these “powers” are defined according to both the number of co-occurrences of values and the internal logic of the discourse where they occur. In this context, the authors highlight the following: a) the dominant values in a political speech; b) groups of values that have ties between them and have no connection with the rest; c) the order in which political values should be set in order to obtain an equivalent but more concise speech compared to the already given one; d) the links between the values that form the “core” political speech; and e) one can get from one value to another by using as few words as possible from the discourse to be analyzed.
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2. Elements Of Graph Theory In The Context Of Political Discourse

In social and political sciences, the graph theory is usually used when dealing with social networks, recruitment into political movements, and diffusion of information, study of markets, social organizations, and military intelligence. For example, Kitsak, Gallos, Havlin et al (2010) wrote on the influential spreaders in networks. The social networks are related to the main topic of graph theory. Graph theory is the study of graphs. The graphs are mathematical structures used to model pairwise relations between objects from a certain collection. As objects we can consider individuals (like in social networks) but even words from a text. In this context1, a graph is a collection of nodes (or vertices) and a collection of edges that connect pairs of nodes. In a formal manner, the graph means a couple G = (N, E), where N is a finite non-empty set of nodes, and E is a finite set of edges. Edges are pairs of nodes. If the order of nodes from an edge is important, then the graph is called directed graph, otherwise called undirected graph (see (Diestel, 2012) for details). Subsequently, we will refer only to undirected graphs as they are used by the Political Analyst program, developed by us and presented in sections 5 and 6.

Considering a political discourse context, an example of a graph is the following:

  • G = ({education, modernization, social dialogue, partnership, employment, privatization}, {(education, employment), (education, modernization), (social dialogue, civil society), (work, competition)}).

In this graph we can highlight:

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