Looking beyond traditional empirical approaches of social science research, the proposed project aims at analyzing and providing an in-depth understanding of the evolution of the phenomenon of xenophobia in the Greek society based on social computational methods and big data analytics. The majority of the existing literature is based on traditional methods of social science methodologies letting unexplored a vast amount of data which is available in various forms of mass information dissemination: online sources like newspaper articles and users’ comments, texts in blogs and opinion columns in e-magazines and forums, parliamentary proceedings, TV stations broadcast news, social media like Twitter etc. The innovative character of this project is that it will implement an event database and a knowledge network connecting events, topics, people, organizations, locations, opinions and emotions related to xenophobia by exploiting content analytics technologies available in the consortium in order to analyse and extract valuable insights from vast amount of data sources like the ones mentioned above. In addition, well-established quantitative and qualitative techniques will complement our framework contributing in the research, thus, facilitating the exploration, modelling and analysis of the phenomenon and ensuring the generalization of results and their optimal validation (Johnson et al. 2007).
Deeply related to the scope of this research project, our goal is to formulate adequate responses to the following research questions:
- How have the prejudices and stereotypes about the ‘other’ been shaped in a historical perspective in Greece taking as a reference point the 1990s when there was a substantial wave of xenophobic tensions against immigrants in Greece?
- How have the economic crisis, spread in Greece from 2009 onwards, affected this sort of xenophobic attitudes and beliefs?
- Does the effect of the economic crisis comprise the basic factor of the rise (or fall) of xenophobic sentiments among Greeks or can we support the hypothesis that this phenomenon has deep roots in the Greek society and the economic crisis has negligible or minor impact on the way Greeks behave against “others” and/or immigrants?