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Our Sciences Po team working on the conceptualization of illiberal and neo-authoritarian ideological alternatives of liberal democracy using text data held an internal workshop on October 3, 2023, presenting the preliminary results of the research conducted under the work package “Ideological Configurations” thus far.

The goal of the work package is to understand the salient characteristics of the identified ideological alternatives to create a map that highlights the distinctive ideological features of illiberalism and neo-authoritarian values versus liberal democratic values. To achieve this, the team conducts ideological space construction through quantitative text analysis of elite discourse and social media analysis.

At the workshop, Elena Cossu and Jan Rovny presented a review of Large Language Models methodologies that could be useful to conceptualize illiberalism and neo-authoritarianism using text data, and how they plan to build a model using these methodologies to reach this goal. They also reported on the different data sources that could be used for this conceptualization and the difficulties linked to them. They presented the preliminary results of the BERT model they are building to conceptualize illiberalism using manifesto data, and discussed how the model could be extended to parliamentary speeches and social media data in the future. Finally, they described how the outputs created by this model could translate into a ‘map of illiberalisms’.

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