Transnational Media Events
Since early modern times, social communication increasingly relies on
technical media. Discussions, debates, and controversies staged by the
media constitute events for societies – by representing events and by
being events themselves: media events.
Thus Media are understood not as sign systems in general or as instruments of individual communication, but as technical means of mass distribution that make social communication possible in the first place, e.g. printing, photography, film, radio, television, and the internet.
Outstanding media events – key events for the purposes of the Kolleg –
attract particular attention by the media and are thus characterized by
a noticeable intensification of communicative processes. The Battle of
Blenheim, the South Sea Bubble, the assasination of Kennedy or the
Romanian tele-revolution are landmarks in the history of communication
because they reflect important cultural issues as well as the evolution
of media systems.
Utilizing an interdisciplinary perspective, the Kolleg examines media
events not for their own sake, but as factors in and catalysts of
communication across borders. The communicative spaces opened up by
media events are therefore transnational, not territorial, ones. In
addition to media technologies and the content of media products,
analyses will focus on the processes involved in making the event
public: the struggle for hegemony, including misunderstandings and
persuasive strategies, as well as communicative networks and
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