Ngrams and Cultural Memory

Google Ngrams are one way to track cultural memory. In systems theoretical terms, cultural memory is carried by the mass media, which includes books.

Below is a search of Chinese terms in Google Books, 1900-2008. Politics 政治 is blue. Economy 经济 is red. Economy overtakes politics in 1975.


1966-76–Decade of the Cultural Revolution, although Mao declared it over in 1969.
1972– Nixon visits the PRC and and reestablishes formal relations with China.
1978–Deng Xiaoping opens China to foreign investment.The peak for economy was 1990.

Below is a chart from the word revolution 革命. It peaks at the height of the Cultural Revolution, 1969. The line in the early 21st century is close to that of the early 20th century. Chinese authors seem to writing about revolution less and less.



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