Grøn Genstart: A quali-quantitative micro-history of a political idea in real-time

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In this study, we build on a recent social data scientific mapping of Danish environmentalist organizations and activists during the COVID-19 lockdown in order to sketch a distinct genre of digital social research that we dub a quali-quantitative micro-history of ideas in real-time. We define and exemplify this genre by tracing and tracking the single political idea and activist slogan of grøn genstart (‘green restart’) across Twitter and other public–political domains. Specifically, we achieve our micro-history through an iterative and mutual attuning between computational and netnographic registers and techniques, in ways that contribute to the nascent field of computational anthropology. By documenting the serial ways in and different steps through which our inquiry was continually fed and enhanced by crossing over from (n)ethnographic observation to computational exploration, and vice versa, we offer up our grøn genstart case account as exemplary of wider possibilities in this line of inquiry. In particular, we position the genre of micro-history of ideas in real-time within the increasingly wide and heterogeneous space of digital social research writ large, including its established concerns with ‘big and broad’ social data, the repurposing of computational ‘interface’ techniques for socio-cultural research, as well as diverse aspirations for deploying digital data within novel combinations of qualitative and quantitative methods.
TidsskriftBig Data and Society
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)1-15
StatusUdgivet - 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the H2020 European Research Council (grant no. 834540) and a Velux Foundation acute corona research grant.

Funding Information:
We thank the three anonymous reviewers as well as the co-editor and guest editor for their comments on this article. The article emerged from collective work at the Centre for Social Data Science (SODAS), as well as from the DISTRACT seminar series, where many people made valuable suggestions along the way. The work was made possible by an immediate COVID-19 grant from the Velux Foundation, as well as through funding and support from SODAS and the DISTRACT research project (Advanced Grant project 834540 from the European Research Council).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • Computational ethnography, environmental activism, Twitter, real-time microhistory, political ideas, digital methodology

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