Exploring the “Fukushima Effect”

Attitudes and opinions towards nuclear power and renewable energy and the emergence of a transnational algorithmic public sphere


The digitalization of society and media systems has had a major impact on (political) discourses and the formation of public opinion. The purpose of this project is to investigate the transnational algorithmic public sphere, a complex phenomenon that has arisen in an era of globalized mass media and social media connectivity across national borders. An interdisciplinary combination of computational linguistics, network visualization, intercultural hermeneutics and communication science enables us to analyze and map the processes underlying this phenomenon. The project addresses the current political discussion on nuclear power and renewable energy in Germany and Japan following the Fukushima accident.

Recent Activities

  • 2018-09-17: Further qualitative results using our developed methodology have been presented at the Fourth Asia Pacific Corpus Linguistics Conference hosted in Takamatsu, Japan. See the slides to our conference contribution “Extending Corpus-Based Discourse Analysis for Exploring Japanese Social Media”.
  • 2018-07-17: MMDA alpha – the first operational version of our toolkit for interactive discourse analysis – is running on a virtual machine hosted at FAU. If you want to be a beta-tester, please drop us a line.
  • 2018-07-06: The Asahi Shimbun conducted an interview with Fabian Schäfer about our research concerning social bots in the 2014 Japanese General Election.
  • 2018-06-25: Stefan Evert gave the 2018 Sinclair Lecture “The Hermeneutic Cyborg” at University of Birmingham, featuring a short demo of the MMDA toolkit.
  • 2018-05-08: We presented comprehensive qualitative results analyzing the Fukushima Effect by means of MMDA at the Workshop on Computational Impact Detection from Text Data at the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference in Miyazaki, Japan. See the book of proceedings for our paper “A Transnational Analysis of News and Tweets about Nuclear Phase-Out in the Aftermath of the Fukushima Incident.”

Project Details

Acronym: EFE
Start date: 01/01/2017
End date: 31/12/2018