Political communication changes continuously in our digital age. We are particularly interested in three different processes of change within the political public sphere - transnationalization, individualization and entertainization - and their impact on content, reception and effects of political communication.
- Transnationalization of political communicatiion
Due to global problems (climate change, economic crisis, refugee flows etc.) and the shift of politcal competences to the transnational level, political communication is fundamentally changing: even if political problems continue to be mainly discussed in national media and, thus, with or for a national public, this discussion happens more and more with reference to protagonists from other countries, to inter- or transnational institutions and cross-national communities of solidarity and of shared problems. It is our aim to describe and to explain these changes in the contents of political communication and to verify to what extent the public perception of political problems is shifting.
(Please refer to our project: Transnational Political Public Sphere? An Empirical Investigation on Print and Online Coverage of Climate Politics)
- Individualization of political communication
The continuous fragmentation of the media supply, especially on the Internet, does not necessarily lead to a far-reaching fragmentation of the audience or the received content. Nonetheless, it is important to examine how the reception of political content changes through the individualisation of media offerings, and to what extent signs of a polarization or of a disengagement of citizens from the political public sphere can be found.
(Projects regarding Fragmentation and Polarization through Online News during the Election Campaign / New Information Intermediaries as Gatekeeper / Civil Norms and Information Repertoires in Switzerland)
- Methods of text analysis
In today's fragmented news environment, the communication science can no longer confine itself to analyzing some essential "key media", but must be able to capture the content of political communication in a growing body of news organizations, online sources, and social media platforms. To make this possible, an infrastructure will be developped to analyze a variety of political communication content on different platforms.
(Project: Semi-automatic Content Analysis of Central Concepts of Communication Science in Election Coverage)