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Symposium of the Division Communication Theory and Media Effects


Image Credit: Curd Knüpfer

News from Apr 03, 2024

Information, networks and digital public spheres in political communication was the focus of a symposium held by the Division Communication Theory and Media Effects at Seminaris on February 29, 2024. On the occasion of Prof. Barbara Pfetsch's move to a senior professorship at the institute, the aim was to summarize the development of research at the unit and to show which questions and projects have developed as a result.

The first part of the symposium focused on Media Public Spheres and Digital Public Spheres. Barbara Pfetsch began by reporting on Issues and Projects in Political Communication Research against the backdrop of the transformation of mass media since the mid-1990s. Prof. Annie Waldherr from the University of Vienna discussed the development of public sphere theory in the digital age and the question of which research topics and methods arise from the networking of communication. Dr. Daniela Stoltenberg from the Free University of Berlin took up the considerations on digital public spheres and argued for a spatial perspective on digital public spheres in her presentation In Places/Talking about Places. In the second part of the symposium, entitled "Information and Networks", the presentations focused on political public spheres in the internet that arise in the context of right-wing ideologies and conspiracy narratives. Prof. Eva Mayerhöffer from the University of Roskilde discussed Alternative News Milieus as Digital Counter-Publics and Dr. Annett Heft from the Weizenbaum Institute Berlin spoke on Sharing the Hate: Right-Wing Digital Network Publics in a Comparative Perspective. Finally, Prof. Silke Adam from the University of Bern concluded the substantive part of the symposium with a report on a field study on the Spread of Conspiracy Ideas at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. The symposium was moderated by Prof. Christiane Eilders from the University of Düsseldorf and Prof. Hannah Schmid-Petri from the University of Passau.

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