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Out of the Comfort Zone: Challenges of Communication Studies in the Age of New Global Realities

The world is rapidly developing in a polycentric manner: Western dominance in globalization seems to wane, new wars are challenging the world order, migration and mobility are transforming the cultural foundations of society, and modern media environments add to a seemingly fundamental structural change. Communication and media studies must face these complex developments. Yet, so far its approach to the world has been highly selective, which is problematic given the dynamic reconfigurations of global conditions. For example, Eastern Europe and the Global South are on the agenda today; however, selective interest and oversights of previous research have undermined our understanding of these developments. Therefore, not without reason, communication studies are also struggling for their societal position. In light of the contemporary global challenges, we need to ask whether our discipline risks losing its chance to contribute to the communicative restructuring of the world if it clings to old spatial references or indulges in one-sided media centrism. In which ways does communication research need to change in order to provide answers to global challenges? How can current research help to better integrate the “North“ and “South”? Which approaches need to be adapted to global realities, and how can “universalism” be achieved today? How can we identify, document, and analyze new phenomena in a more international comparative way?

This conference was organized by the International and Intercultural Communication Division of the DGPuK and the DFG-network Cosmopolitan Communication Studies, which engages in a “deep” internationalization of the discipline. Therefore, the conference included different formats: 1) panels with conference papers/presentations, 2) a PhD Workshop, and 3) a public panel debate.