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  • Macroscoping the Sun of Socialism: Distant Readings of Temporality in Finnish Labour Newspapers, 1895–1917

    Risto Turunen

    Chapter from the book: Fridlund, M et al. 2020. Digital Histories: Emergent Approaches within the New Digital History.


    This chapter examines the socialist perception of time in the Grand Duchy of Finland at the turn of 20th century focusing on the way working people experienced the present. Three distant reading methods are used on newspaper data to extract information on the socialist temporality: relative word frequencies over time, collocates, and key collocates. The point of historical distant reading methods is explained by using a simple theoretical model illuminating the scholar’s intellectual journey from original sources to historical wisdom. The results show that the General Strike of 1905 increased newspaper references to the present within the labour movement. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that socialist newspapers portrayed the present as negative, systematic and changeable and with an extraordinary level of negativity as compared to competing political languages. The study broadens the understanding of socialist temporality in general and Finnish socialism’s most important symbol, the rising sun, in particular. The sun’s meaning has been connected to freedom in the future, but simultaneously the sun highlighted the shackles of capitalism in the present.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Turunen, R. 2020. Macroscoping the Sun of Socialism: Distant Readings of Temporality in Finnish Labour Newspapers, 1895–1917. In: Fridlund, M et al (eds.), Digital Histories. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33134/HUP-5-17

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on Dec. 7, 2020


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