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Journalism and the Order of Emotions

Principal Investigator:

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Sonderforschungsbereich 1171 Affective Societies

Jul 01, 2019 — Jun 30, 2023

The research project "Journalism and the Order of Emotions" focuses on the question of how journalism, which is normatively committed to the ideal of neutral reporting, generates emotions and makes them visible in discourse. Under conditions of digital communication, journalism proves to be an institution challenged, since journalism now has to defend its previously exclusive and largely unchallenged function of synchronizing and coordinating social subsystems by providing relevant facts to new actors (such as YouTube stars or Bloggers) and re-organize itself in the face of changing modes of communication. Whilst in the past it was primarily a question of providing society with relevant information for self-understanding, today affective dynamics are gaining importance in the communicative interaction between users, parajournalistic and journalistic actors.

In the field of migration and refuge, the project investigates how journalism creates an order of emotions and thus generates forms of social inclusion and exclusion. To create this order, journalism makes use of a complex set of affective registers whose use in audiovisual journalistic and parajournalistic media texts is to be systematically investigated. In the analysis of the interaction between users and media texts on social media channels, the affective dynamics of public communication in conflictual debates on migration and refuge will also be examined.

Empirically, the project approaches the question on two levels: on the level of (para)journalistic texts and on the level of user interaction. By means of a qualitative media analysis, journalistic (news programmes, magazine formats) and non-journalistic (videos by YouTube stars) media contents in the field of refuge and migration will be examined. In order to trace a possible change in the order of emotions through journalism, audiovisual journalistic representations on the subject of migration and refuge will be examined in a chronological longitudinal section since 1990. In addition, quantitative descriptive and qualitative interpretive methods are used to analyse user interaction on social media channels on selected fields of discourse.

Part of the project is a cooperation with Neue Deutsche Medienmacher and the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung in order to make selected research results accessible to a non-scientific audience in multimedia formats.

Previous publications on the topic

Lünenborg, M. (2019): Affec­tive Pub­lics, in: Slaby, J.; von Scheve, C. (Eds): Affective Societies – Key Concepts. Routledge, Vol. 3. 319-329

Lünenborg, M. (in due course, 2019): Emoti­onen im und beim Fernsehen. Kommunikati­onswissen­schaftliche und affekttheoretische Perspekti­ven, in: Kappelhoff, H. u.a. (Eds): Emoti­onen. Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch. Metzler: Stuttgart.

Lünenborg, M.; Maier, T.; Töpper, C. (2018): Affekte als sozial-relationales Phänomen medi­aler Kommunikation – Affekt­theorien für die Me­dienforschung nutzbar ma­chen. In: Studies in Communication and Media, 7(3), 423-457.

Lünenborg, M.; Raetzsch, Ch. (2018). “From Public Sphere to Performative Publics: Developing Media Practice as an Analytic Model”. in: Media Practices, Social Movements, and Performativity: Transdisciplinary Approaches, Susanne Foellmer, Margreth Lünenborg, Christoph Raetzsch (Eds), 13-35. Abingdon: Routledge.

Töpper, C.; Lünenborg, M. (2018): Verkör­perte Affekte: Zur Analyse affektiver Dy­namiken von Zugehörigkeit und Exklusion im Reality TV. in: Grittmann, E.; Lobinger, K.; Neverla, I.; Pa­ter, M. (Eds): Kör­perbilder – Körperpraktiken. Vi­sualisierung und Vergeschlechtlichung von Kör­pern in Medien­kulturen. Köln: Herbert von Ha­lem, 94-111.