Our research questions refer to the central interest of social sciences: How can we describe and understand the transformation of the social order within contemporary modern society?

  • The question of the transformation of institutions, organizations and roles: Here we specialize in mediatization effects, i.e. in the transformation of the respective action systems, their institutions and organizations as a consequence of the new structural transformation of the public sphere. We investigate how the reputation of institutions, organizations and role-bearers is being transformed by the news coverage, the transformation of the mediated reputation constitution of institutions, organizations and role-bearers. We do this with comparisons over time and across countries, and examine how these social units change as a result of the transformation of public communication.
  • The question of social change: Here we focus on the long-term observation of contemporary modern societies on the basis of public communication. We are especially interested in phases of crisis and upheaval in social developments, in which existing guiding ideas and structures change radically within a short time. The selection and careers of communication events with a powerful impact are analyzed over long time periods and across countries.
  • The question of the (digital) structural transformation of the public sphere: Here we focus on changes in the interest patterns of public communication and their effects on society. We examine the transformation of the communicative exchange relationships between the media, business and politics, the financial development of the media as well as changes in the quality of a mediated public sphere.

The division “Public Sphere and Society” cooperates closely with the fög – Research Institute for the Public Sphere and Society. The fög is an associated institute of the University of Zurich. Have a look at our Website