Research areas

Department of Media and Communication

Research at the Department of Media and Communication focuses on a specific combination of research themes and is not only rooted in media and communication studies but also in various other disciplines, in particular cultural sociology and media economics. As such, the Department occupies a unique position internationally. The individual and collaborative research projects in the field of media, communication and culture can be grouped into five interrelated themes.

Transformations in the Media and Cultural Industries

Researchers on this theme examine how media organisations and industries have responded to altering international, national and local (business) conditions brought about by wider technological, economic, socio-cultural and political developments. They also seek to understand and qualify the role of (new) media and creative industries for cities and regions worldwide as breeding grounds for economic and cultural developments, and as places for cultural consumption and tourism.

New Production and Consumption Practices

Production and consumption practices in media and culture have changed dramatically as a result of the interactions between social transformations, technological developments and increasing market competition. New media technologies are increasingly shaping interpersonal as well as corporate and organisational communication. This line of research aims to qualify the intertwinement of media production and consumption and to clarify the mechanisms and processes that determine their mutual relationships.

Globalisation, Diversity and Identity in Media and Culture

This research strand addresses the consequences of globalisation and increased diversity for agents, processes, structures, products and practices in media and culture. In what ways and to what extent does globalisation alter the production, dissemination, content and reception of various media and cultural products? How does it change the nature and impact of media and cultural policies and the role of national and local institutions in policy-making? And how does the globalisation of media and culture affect the making of cultural and political identities at the transnational, national, local and individual levels?

Social-Political Impacts of Media and Communication

Media have a profound impact on the ways in which our reality is constructed, informing and shaping our ideas and beliefs about society, politics and culture. Researchers focus here on the role of media and communication in the construction, contestation and blurring of boundaries between, e.g. the public and the private, the local and the global, services and commodities, and citizens and consumers. They devote specific attention to the ways in which social players – consumers, citizens, social groups or protest movements, political organisations and government institutions – use the representational opportunities of media to advocate their views and positions in society.

Dynamics of the Symbolic Production of Culture

This theme studies how individual and organisational practices influence the social valuation of particular cultural genres and products and the shifting ways in which social inequalities – e.g. in terms of gender, ethnicity or regional descent – are being (re)produced in cultural classifications. Researchers also focus on larger temporal and spatial facets of these process practices by comparing time periods and countries, notably in literature, film and popular music.