‘Exploring Silent Social Changes: a proposal based on the digital use of a major historical data mine (Catalonia, 18th Century) (EXPLORHIST)’

Grants for research teams

Digital Humanities

2017

The goal of this project is to explore the possibilities offered by new technologies to improve the historical analysis of social transformations.

DIRECTOR

Rosa Congost Colomer, Instituto de Recerca Històrica, Universidad de Girona

 

RESEARCH TEAM

Rosa Ros Massana, Ricard García Orallo, Enric Saguer Hom and Jordi Regincós Isern, Universidad de Girona; Joan Ferrer Godoy, Archivo Histórico de Girona; Emilio Granell Romero and Carlos David Martínez Hinarejos, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia.

COLLABORATING INSTITUTIONS

Universidad de Girona

 

DESCRIPTION

The goal of this project is to explore the possibilities offered by new technologies to improve the historical analysis of social transformations.

Silent change refers to those processes of social change that have received little attention from historians. Especially relevant are those that lead to a transformation in the social groups involved, regardless of the economic level of the protagonists (modest or wealthy).

The innovative nature of this project lies in its ability to identify, capture and interpret those changes using the most recent advancements in automatic script recognition techniques and data mining. These developments offer a chance to explore certain document sources capable of reconstructing social dynamics owing to the rich content thereof in a new and less costly manner.

The results obtained from subjecting the records kept by the Mortgages Registry of Girona to a method updated in two ways – new questions and new techniques – will lead to new insight into long-debated historiographic issues, such as the role of the elite and the roots of economic growth, as well as other more recent issues, such as those arising from the industrial revolution and social inequalities. However, the greatest potential from this project will be revealed in its ability to tackle new problems, some of great significance in our time, such as the paths out of poverty for major segments of the population.