“Prewar Public Discourse: Letters to Politika, Belgrade, 1988–1991”, Josip Glaurdić and Michal Mochtak (IPS, Luxembourg)

e studied prewar public discourse by analysing the origin, content and sentiment of more than 4,000 letters written by people from all walks of life and published in the Belgrade broadsheet Politika loyal to the regime of Slobodan Milošević during the three years directly preceding the Yugoslav wars. Our analysis combined lexicon-based tools of automated topic and sentiment analysis with data on the sociodemographic characteristics of the letter writers and their localities. The results of our analysis show the importance of the politicisation of a history of violence in shaping public discourse in the run-up to war.

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