Conceptualizing an Outside World

The Case of “Foreign” in Dutch Newspapers 1815–1914

in Contributions to the History of Concepts
Ruben Ros PhD Candidate, Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History

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This article studies the concept of buitenland (the foreign) in a broad sample of Dutch newspapers in the period between 1815 and 1914. Buitenland emerged as a key concept in the nineteenth century. It referred to an “outside word” that was marked by semantic properties such as instability and closeness. As such, this apparently mundane spatial indicator bolstered the emergent “spatial regime” of globality and globalization. The article thus shows how a computational analysis of concepts that could be easily overlooked reveals structural transformations in the way past and present societies conceptualize (global) space.

Contributor Notes

Ruben Ros is a PhD candidate at the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History. E-mail:

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