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What Things Can We Do with Words? Answers from Italian Fascism (1919–1922) and Georgia Lynchings (1875–1930)

Speaker: Roberto Franzosi, Professor of Sociology and Linguistics, Emory University

Starts: 5 June 2013
Ends:  6 June 2013

Two day workshop

The workshop illustrates a quantitative social science approach to texts developed by the author, Quantitative Narrative Analysis (QNA).

QNA relies on computer-assisted story grammars to analyze narrative, where a story grammar is the simple Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) structure. 

In narrative, Subjects are typically social actors – individuals, groups, organizations – Verbs are actions, and Objects are both social actors and physical and abstract objects. 

To each of the three SVO components one can add several attributes to capture the complexity of stories (e.g., name of an individual, number of actors in a group, time and space of action). 

The workshop will:

  • illustrate the power of the approach using data collected by the author from newspapers on the rise of Italian fascism (1919–1922) (300,000 SVOs) and Georgia lynchings (1875–1930) (7,000 SVOs) using PC-ACE (Program for Computer-Assisted Coding of Events). 
  • show how narrative data lend themselves to cutting-edge tools of data visualization and analysis as network graphs and maps in Google Earth and other GIS software. 
  • show how QNA data provide the basis for fascinating digital humanities projects. 

The workshop will also illustrate what social scientists can do with words beyond narrative.

Robert Franzosi

Roberto Franzosi (BA in Literature, University of Genoa; PhD in Sociology, Johns Hopkins University) is professor of Sociology and Linguistics at Emory University. His main substantive interest has been in social protest, with projects on Italian strikes (see The Puzzle of Strikes, Cambridge University Press, 1994) and two current projects on the rise of Italian fascism (1919-22) and on lynchings in Georgia (1875-1930). Franzosi has had a long-standing methodological interest in issues of language and measurement of meaning in texts (narrative texts, in particular), with several journal articles published and three books (From Words to Number, Cambridge University Press, 2005; Content Analysis, Sage, 2008, and Quantitative Narrative Analysis, Sage, 2010). He is currently working on the completion of the book Trilogy of Rhetoric on the rhetorical roots of three social science approaches to text: content analysis, frame analysis, and quantitative narrative analysis (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

Roberto Franzosi Booking Form [534.2 Kb]

Booking form for event: What Things Can We Do with Words? Answers from Italian Fascism (1919–1922) and Georgia Lynchings (1875–1930)


Robert Franzosi poster

Committee Rooms, Glamorgan Building, Cardiff University

Other information

Cost: £30

Open To: Postgraduate Students
Staff and Students
Undergraduate Students