Word Clouds as a Tool for Social Movement Research and Teaching

You’ve seen them everywhere: Word Clouds. In case you haven’t yet tried creating one here is the website: http://www.wordle.net/.

Social Movement scholars are in many ways just at the beginning of textual analysis. Word clouds could provide us with a simple new way to study not only the texts that movements put out but also the the media coverage that movements receive. They provide an extremely quick means of identifying the most frequently used keywords. This in turn might provide a helpful baseline for further analyses of texts.

The example below shows a word cloud of a media release from a well-known social movement organization.

What social movement organization created this media release?

animal

Just for fun I have also created a word cloud using the content of the CVs of two scholars affiliated with Mobilizing Ideas.  I have taken their names out but see if you can guess who they are.

What social movement scholar’s CV was used to create this word cloud?

earl

What social movement scholar’s CV was used to create this word cloud?

McVegh

Answers are below……

Answers:

  1. PETA  http://www.peta.org/media/news-releases/new-study-shows-growing-opposition-animal-tests/
  2. Jennifer Earl
  3. Rory McVeigh

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