Book Chapter Details
Mandatory Fields
Máirín MacCarron; Pádraig MacCarron; Robert Gramsch; Joseph Yose
2017 Unknown
Maths Meets Myths: Quantitative Approaches to Ancient Narratives
Medieval Historial, Hagiographical and Biographical Networks
Springer International Publishing
Optional Fields
Network Science, Medieval History, Complexity Science, Hagiography
In recent years, a new method to study narrative texts was introduced, using network analysis. The approach is original and adventurous; instead of focusing on the literary or narrative bases of the texts, it involves extracting data for a formalised analysis of network structures. These are determined from descriptions of events in the texts and their statistical properties are studied using standard network-analysis tools. In this way comparisons between chronologically and geographically different texts are possible. Furthermore, we can compare these textual networks with real social networks, studied by modern sociologists or, indeed, fictional ones. These studies have clearly shown that social-network analysis forms an effective bridge between very different disciplines. It can connect scientists and humanists in joint research; it can depict old research questions in a new light and connect different phenomena belonging to the worlds of nature and culture. The key to this bridge is the understanding of complex systems and their emergent properties. But we are still in the very beginning of exploring these issues and in developing an adequate methodology as we seek to incorporate a number of tools recently developed. Here we attempt to cross the bridge from the humanities side. To this end, we present the results of two studies of medieval sources. Our focus is on visualisation and interpretation of local network properties, an approach which is complementary to complexity analyses. We show that the method can offer powerful augmentation to traditional approaches to the humanities and we outline ways in which these can be developed for the future.
Máirín MacCarron; Ralph Kenna; Pádraig MacCarron
Grant Details