Institut für Medienwissenschaft

Participation in Media Cultures: Studying Participation within Immigration Societies

Spring School at the Institute of Media Studies on April 5th to 8th, 2016


The Spring School has successfully taken place with inspiring talks and wonderful scholars from all around the world!

You can check out the results on our blog!


In recent years the participation paradigm has been discussed in various disciplines and fields. Not only is it relevant in the discussion on political participation and agency, it has also been discussed as a significant concept in media and communication studies (e.g. Carpentier 2011; Dahlgren 2009, 2013; for audience research Livingstone 2013).

There is a vivid discussion, who can participate under what conditions and with what resources (e.g. Carpentier & Dahlgren, 2011; Kejanlioglu & Scifo, 2014). Digital media on the one hand is seen as a platform for democratization and participation, while on the other hand this is critically discussed in regards to the question, whether one is participating, who that in fact is, and in what they are participating (e.g. Carpentier 2009; Bird 2011). Additionally, media and communication scholars ask how audiences in convergent media environments can be investigated and how participatory practices can be grasped empirically (Livingstone & Das, 2009; Hasebrink & Hölig, 2013).

It can be noted, however, that participation as a term is used in various ways and that a consensus on its definition and conceptualization is still to be found.

Many works, especially in the German-speaking field of political communication, consider participation as a formalized political practice and link it to formal citizenship of a country. Buzzwords are for example e-democracy or e-participation. In a different realm, scholars (especially from cultural and media studies) consider participation in a cultural or social context, developing concepts such as cultural citizenship (e.g. Miller, 2006; Klaus & Lünenborg, 2004). Considering numerous flows of refugees we experience in Europe, we want to discuss what challenges participation is facing in contemporary times and what role media play in so-called immigration societies.

This is just a small glimpse on the variety of uses and meanings of participation that require further refinement and above all a systematization and theoretical conceptualization across different perspectives.

The Spring School is therefore dedicated to bringing together postgraduate students and academic scholars from various fields and disciplines to discuss their understandings and conceptualizations of participation in media cultures. A focus is being put on theoretical as well as empirical perspectives on studying (mediated) participation in the context of so-called immigration societies. With this, we want to offer a week of dialogue over recent debates on immigration and society in Europe in regards to what participation means and what role media can play. In particular, we want to discuss the following questions with participants of the Spring School:

How can we define and conceptualize participation in media cultures and in the context of immigration societies?

How can we theoretically and empirically grasp the relationship between media, participation, and public sphere(s)?

What societal meaning do participatory practices in media cultures possess?

With a program that offers different formats of presentation of ideas and possibilities for dialogue, we want to discuss different perspectives on participation. With three keynote speeches, we would like to initiate a dialogue on the following aspects around participation in media cultures.

You can find more information about the keynote speakers here.

A Call for Papers has been published soon in order to invite interested postgraduate and doctoral students to the Spring School. Access the Call for Papers here.

For more information, please contact Dr. Miriam Stehling.