Corpus Assisted Discourse Analysis: Svalbard (Spitsbergen) through the Prism of Russian News Media

A Svalbard Studies seminar, by Anna Obukhova (PhD student, ISK, UiT)

The present study investigates how the Svalbard archipelago (Spitsbergen) has been covered by a number of Russian media outlets. Russia has a direct connection to Svalbard, which is a Norwegian territory, by means of Russian presence there in accordance with the Svalbard Treaty signed in February 1920. The Treaty recognizes the sovereignty of Norway over Svalbard and gives equal rights to other countries to conduct economic activity there. The present study deals with newspaper text data produced between 2010 and 2021 and is aimed at revealing the narrative lines related to Svalbard. I demonstrate how some political events within this timeline, e.g., the Treaty on Maritime Delimitation and Cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean (2010) and the start of the Ukrainian crisis (2014), form the narrative lines produced in the texts.

A method used as a starting point within the present project is MBA (Market Basket Analysis), a data-mining technique that can be used to facilitate corpus-assisted discourse analysis. MBA reveals associative links between keywords occurring in different texts that comprise a corpus (Cvrček & Fidler 2022). Keywords are prominent words typical for a text and they can be considered indicators of the topic and style of a text (Fidler & Cvrček 2018: 198-199). Associative links produced by MBA provide a wider context for keywords within the discourse. At the same time, associative links can be interpreted as patterns of associations between concepts in the discourse (Cvrček & Fidler 2022).



Cvrček, Václav & Masako Ueda Fidler. 2022 (to appear). No Keyword is an Island: In search of covert associations. In Corpora, 17.2

Fidler, Masako & Václav Cvrček. 2018. Going Beyond “Aboutness”: A Quantitative Analysis of Sputnik Czech Republic. In Fidler, Masako and Václav Cvrček (eds.)  Taming the Corpus. From Inflection and Lexis to Interpretation. Springer Nature Switzerland IG. 195-225.

When: 11. October 2022 at 14.15–16.00
Where: SVHUM C-1003
Location / Campus: Digital, Tromsø
Target group: Employees, Students
Contact: Andrei Rogatchevski
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