About the Unit
The unit Communication Theory and the Public Sphere concentrates on theoretical and historical concepts of communication science and analyses crucial developments of the Austrian and international media systems. Research and teaching focus on the relationship of media and societies, exploring public communication structures and media processes. One of the main goals of this unit is to contribute to critical communication studies.
The focus of the unit is interdisciplinary. In our research we are addressing questions related to media and communication by adopting social as well as cultural theories originating from a variety of different disciplines. Our main research projects deal with theories of the public sphere, the Austrian media system and the comparison between different media systems as well as social inequality especially in the area of gender studies. On-going research projects are concerned with recent problems of the constitution of the public sphere (e.g. migration policies, in the internet era, through the historical contribution of female journalists) as well as the steady growth of mediatization. Members of the unit are also researching stereotyping by media as well as identity construction through and in the media.
The unit contributes to the introductory courses by lecturing on theories and methods of communication research, communication history, media law, media politics, and the international comparison of media systems. In accordance with our own research interests we offer classes at the Bachelor and Master level with a focus on social inequality and the connection between media, society and democracy.