WOMENʼS WOVEN WEB - Activating the Biographical Dictionary of Swedish Women through Social Network Narratives
Sammanfattning: When the Biographical Dictionary of Swedish Women (Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon, SKBL), became freely available online, it opened the opportunity to examine and transform its text-based content in new ways. The purpose of this project is to apply and reflect on explorative visualizations of social networks as a method for presenting and analysing data from SKBL. The thesis examines a key moment for the history of textile arts in Sweden, through the construction of an interactive prototype for visual network explorations of datasets based on SKBL. The prototype for the thesis is built on the software platform for network analysis Gephi and the analysis is based on the collection of datasets from SKBL. The aim is to identify frequent practices and common patterns in social interactions between pioneers of the home handicrafts and textile art movement at the turn of the 20th century in Sweden. All graphical networks need narratives for interpretation and the interactive visualization of Gephi encourages such narratives. Thus, history is investigated in order to find out what stories about the movement are enabled by social network analysis. Results of the exploration indicate the presence of female personalities whose contributions to the movement have not been appreciated to the same extent as more well-known members of the movement. Visual explorations also suggest that educational institutions facilitated female social interconnections and educated experts who founded more schools. Of importance is that the quantitative visualizations presented the data in ways that suggested perspectives not evident in the existing biographical article format. The thesis conveys the benefit of using a mixed methods approach where the prototype together with its narratives open the possibility to capture the complexities of social interactions and its impact in historical movements.
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