This is another quick idea I came up some days ago. I´d love to program this, but got no time… can you help me?
A parser to plot the profession breakdown on biographies of people in Wikipedia, along History. The point would be to see a graph that, over time, shows which professions where more dominant for people that went into History (or, quite different in the Internet era, those that are Wikipedia worthy).
I am quite sure we would see the philosophers era in Ancient times, the king´s era in the middle ages… or the Renaissance time filled with artists and scientists. On the 20 century I thing we would also see many scientist and politicians, but also an increasing percentage of actors, journalists, and celebrities. These ones probably dominate today. This is just an educated guess…
To make a quick calculation, for the last few hundred years, I used the Google Ngram Viewer. This is the result searching books published between 1750 and 2008, in English, and with phrases containing: was a scientist, was a journalist, was an actress, was an executive, was a millionaire, was a king, was a poet or was a musician:
Kings and poets dominate, so let´s remove them:
One can already read many points on these graphs but I´ll just leave some key points:
- These past centuries are not the best, comparatively, to be a poet (or a king, for obvious different reasons....)
- Scientists seem to pass their point of fame in the public view on the first half of the 20th century (no wonder, that includes Einstein, Bohr, Watson, ... and many many others)
- Journalists emerge the fastest among all these profession. they are the ones that write the news, so there is a possible sampling bias there.
- All but the actresses seem to correlate with, my bet, industrial revolution. With the industrial revolution we seemed to create space for other means of work and culture...
To try to test that final thought, I searched for: industry, culture, science, arts
Before the Industrial revolution, arts where an important component of what society called culture. The incredible rise of industry took science along with it. Soon after science kept on climbing alone on an incredible array of sustained discoveries and progress, with only a subtle drag on culture, but arts kept falling. Industry jumps up again and this time bringing culture quite much with it. 40 years ago or so, a concept called technology took an amazing rise, even bringing industry down, and with a quite apparent correlation with culture. And unfortunately arts keep falling.
Obviously there are many other factors than should be checked before talking to any kind of correlation (or relation). These include wars, crisis, education, television, …
But I step down here. Sociology is certainly an incredibly interesting, and difficult, subject.
Not everything that can be counted counts Not everything that counts can be counted
Coming back to the original idea, I´d love to see with which professions History chose to paint the walls of time.comments powered by Disqus