Speaker: Alie Lassche, Ruben Ros and Joris Veerbeek
Affiliation: 1, Leiden University, Institute of History, Doelensteeg 16, 2311 VL Leiden, The Netherlands; 2, Utrecht University, Department of Media and Culture Studies, Drift 13, 3512 BR Utrecht, The Netherlands
Title: (De)constructing Binarism in Journalism: Automatic Antonym Detection in Dutch Newspaper Articles
Abstract: Binary oppositions, since their introduction by Claude Levi-Strauss and other structuralists in the seventies, are under pressure, especially because they legitimatize societal power structures. Deconstruction of binary oppositions such as man/woman, black/white, left/right, and rich/poor is therefore increasingly encouraged. The question arises of what kind of effect the debate about binary oppositions has had on its linguistic use. We have therefore detected antonyms in a corpus of Dutch newspaper articles from the period 1990-2020, to study the development of binarism in journalism. Our method consists of two parts: the use of a good-old lexicon, and the finetuning of a BERT model for antonym detection. In this paper, we not only present our results regarding the (de)construction of binary oppositions in Dutch journalism, but we also reflect on the two methodological stages and discuss their gain.