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The Institute for Media and Communication Studies at ICA 2021: An overview of the talks

News from May 27, 2021

The Institute for Media and Communication Studies and SFB 1171 will be part of the ICA 2021. Here is an overview of the talks which will be presented by our scientists. 

Who is ‘systemrelevant’? The negotiation of gendered care discourses in digital publics

Panel: Women Keep Society Going in Times of Crisis: But Who’s Talking About it? Analyzing Global Discourses on Inequalities in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Speakers: Miriam Siemon, Wolfgang Reißmann, Margreth Lünenborg

In March 2020, when Covid-19 reached Germany, ‘systemrelevant‘ became a prominent term in journalism and a viral hashtag on Twitter. It captures a debate about which professions are indispensable during crisis and by whom they are exercised. Based on a gender and practice-theoretical framework (Lünenborg & Raetzsch, 2018), Miriam Siemon, Wolfgang Reißmann and Margreth Lünenborg analyze the interplay between professional journalists, semi-institutionalized actors such as NGOs and individual citizens in order to reconstruct the emergence, maintenance and transformation of gender-related discourses within digital issue publics.

In order to investigate the relational references between these different types of actors, they apply a mixed-methods design which combines social network analysis of Twitter data with a standardized coding of actors and content analysis of highly visible actors, thereby taking communicative connections within the Twitter data as well as linked (journalist) content into account.

In the talk, they outline the procedure and present first results on gender-related speaker positions in discourses on paid and unpaid care work using the example of #sytemrelevant.   

Practice profiles as method for analyzing performative publics

Panel: Practice-Based Methodologies for Digital Journalism Studies

Speakers: Wolfgang Reißmann, Miriam Siemon, Christoph Raetzsch, Margreth Lünenborg

Practice-based journalism research is often associated with qualitative methods such as ethnography. Few attempts have yet been made to combine micro-sociological perspectives with quantitative network analysis. In the project on “performative publics” (Lünenborg & Raetzsch 2018) Wolfgang Reißmann, Miriam Siemon, Christoph Raetzsch and Margreth Lünenborg try to capture media practices of different actor groups such as citizens, journalists and civil advocacy groups through the method of practice profiles.

The chosen method of ‘zooming in’ and ‘zooming out’ (Nicolini 2017) between network analyses and individual actor (groups) allows to address the various scales, levels of organisation and the sets of practice elements through a comparative heuristic.

The talk presents this approach through the example of gendered care discourses during the covid-19 crisis in Germany (#systemrelevant).

Parajournalism’s visuality: affect and emotion in discourses around migration in Germany on YouTube

Panel: Seeing, Feeling, Sharing: Empirical Research Methods for Studying Affect and Emotion in Visual Elements on Social Media

Speakers: Débora Medeiros, Margreth Lünenborg

Visual elements have played a central role in discussions around migration issues in Germany, with various historical scenes permeating the country’s recent memory of migration. At the same time, YouTubers’ significance as interpreters of recent events and of broader discussions in society has been growing, particularly among young viewers (Rihl & Wegener, 2015), who assign YouTubers an informative role in their media consumption (parajournalistic actors). The talk by Débora Medeiros and Margreth Lünenborg focuses on how actors beyond legacy media, in particular YouTubers, articulate and circulate affect and emotion through visual elements in their videos on migration.

Using video analysis and textual analysis, it can be shows that YouTuber’s are using visual elements which generate certain affective registers (Lünenborg et al., in press; Töpper, in press), which consist of formal, aesthetic and narrative elements employed in the production of audiovisual media in order to provoke embodied reactions among the audience as well as a feeling of connection to the content presented.

Focusing on the anti-migration protests that took place in the German city of Chemnitz in 2018, the talk reveals an understanding of the affective character of current publics and shows various forms of how YouTubers emotionally interpret events for their viewers.

Affective Publics on Twitter: Contesting Journalism’s Authority

Panel: Social Media and Their Implications for Journalism and Journalism Practice

Speakers: Ana Makhashvili, Margreth Lünenborg

Ana Makhashvili and Margreth Lünenborg present their results of the research about polarized, affective publics of the Twitter discourse during the far-right protests in #Chemnitz, Germany in 2018. They reveal how journalistic authority and legitimacy is contested through affective dynamics of these publics by the use of emotions and affects.

“Affective publics” (Papacharissi, 2015) are key in this process as they emerge around shared emotions such as anger directed at perceived elites, including the press (Wahl-Jorgensen, 2017). Social media platforms lay grounds for such contestation by providing the space and the technological means for publics to make “affective claims to agency” (Papacharissi, 2015, p. 119). In these settings, journalistic authority is perpetually renegotiated.

You can find more information about ICA 2021 here. 

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