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The Media penetrate almost all aspects of our private and professional lives and thus play an important role in our modern society. In order to generate sufficient attention, public and political actors adapt to the ‘logic' of the media. Communication Studies focuses on the role of the media, whilst comparing the normative claims with the actual performance of the media, and the interaction between media and other social subsystems. The focus lies on public communication and the conditions it depends on for functioning within our society.
Communication Studies aims to examine the role of the media within the social and political framework. Hereby it analyses the content and structure of new and old media as well as the media use by the audience. Attention is also drawn on structural changes, i.e. technical innovations, economical modifications or changes in the audience's media use. It is essential to observe and analyse these changes as they come along with new challenges, problems and chances for our society.
Communication Studies has emerged in reaction to the increasing need for reflection regarding the changes and developments described above. Located in the social sciences, it focuses on the object ‚media' and shows close ties to political studies, sociology, psychology and pedagogy.
2. Academics/ Studies
In alignment with the interdisciplinary nature of the Bachelor degree, we offer a diverse range of subjects. This includes the classical areas of Communication Studies, which can be found in the modules of a) journalism (and media content), b) media effects (including research on media use and reception effects), c) media system and d) methodology. Thus, the curriculum covers all areas of public and mass communication.
The Master program consists of the same four modules as the Bachelor but the students have more freedom in choosing their subjects. Thus, one can specialize and deepen his or her knowledge in the area of personal interest. There are no obligatory focus areas; however, the Department of Communication can offer the students a much richer and wider variety of subjects within its own fields of expertise. Thus the students can gain valuable research experience in project work.
The main goal of communication studies is to provide fundamental knowledge of the media system, the classical research approaches and current research results and to develop methodological competencies. Within the BA degree the content provided will prepare the students for a professional career in the media - for example in planning, production and application of media and media content. The classes will be supplemented by additional competencies gained in internships and later on in the professional work.
The Master course has a stronger focus on research. Students will deal with the research logic behind studies, analyse media content and examine its use and effects. To do so the students need a deeper understanding of methodology and statistical competencies. The goal is to facilitate the development of academic qualifications and to help build an academic career.
3. Research/ projects
The specific research interest of the Department of Communication concerns the political dimension of communication. Political communication involves all areas that are crucial for a functioning democratic public sphere. It not only incorporates the political communication and the political parameters of the German media system (like pluralism, criticism, transparency and citizen orientation), but also the construction and mediation of reality. Political images within the information and the entertainment media as well as images of work and certain public sectors are analysed. This links to the functions and norms, which are parameters for the analysis of the quality of public communication. Essential dimensions on the media side include transparency and diversity. On the audience side the dimensions include participation and adequate conditions for opinion formation which both represent the basis of legitimacy in modern democracies. Dysfunctions and problems are also taken into consideration. This is crucial in order to identify the conditions of a functioning public sphere as an intermediate system between civil society and political actors.
Within the different dimensions of political communication, our research focuses on:
- the micro level: communicators and journalists, who create political content and formats, as well as the use, reception and effects of political content.
- the meso level: structural conditions for media production in the respective organisations.
- the macro level: structures and processes of public communication as well as the regulations of content and access to information through media policy
The research interest concerns theoretical and empirical questions. Qualitative and quantitative methods are used and theoretical approaches from diverse disciplines are included. The projects regard fundamental as well as applied research.