Call für Sonderheft “Mediatization and Human-Machine Communication”

Special Issue: “Mediatization and Human-Machine Communication”


  • Göran Bolin (Södertörn University)
  • Andreas Hepp (ZeMKI, University of Bremen)
  • Wiebke Loosen (Leibniz Institute for Media Research)


Mediatization research has long been concerned with the interrelationship between the transformation of media and communication on the one hand, and culture and society on the other (Bolin & Hepp 2017; Couldry & Hepp 2013; Ekström et al. 2016; Hjarvard 2013; Krotz 2009). With the spread of “communicative AI” (Guzman & Lewis 2020) – understood as AI-based systems whose function is to communicate with humans (Esposito 2022) – we are currently experiencing the beginning of yet one more change to our media environment. The foundations of this change can be seen in the emergence of “social bots” (Gehl & Bakardjieva 2016) on various platforms, the spread of “artificial companions” such as Apple Siri or Amazon’s Alexa (Thorne 2020), the algorithmic response suggestions (Hancock et al. 2020), or the “work bots” (Hepp 2020) that produce automated journalism (Diakopoulos 2019; Loosen 2018). A further technical boost to all this is the recent development of ChatGPT and GPT-3.5. The increasing success of machine learning and other AI technologies suggests that this is merely the first step toward the automation of communication (Gunkel 2020; Taipale & Fortunati 2018).

Against this background, it seems obvious that research into mediatization and human-machine communication enters into a dialogue that, in the best case, mutually enriches empirical research and the theoretical discussion, helping us to better understand the current changes to media and communication and their consequences. This Special Issue aims to create a starting point for just such a dialogue. The objective is to discuss the following questions based on empirical studies and theoretical considerations:

  • To what extent do current phenomena of automated communication represent mediatization re-asserting itself? 
  • How can approaches to and theories of HMC and mediatization research mutually relate to and enrich one other?
  • What will be the consequences to theorizing media and empirical research?

For more information or questions, please contact Andreas Hepp (

Keywords: Human-Machine Communication, Mediatization, communicative AI, 

Deadline: Submissions are due March 15th, 2023, and the publication will be in September, 2023. All manuscripts should be submitted via the journal’s online submission system ( with the remark, “Special Issue” in the cover letter. In the online submission system, there will be a drop-down menu under Document Type. Please choose “Special Issue Submission.” For formatting and length specifications, please see the journal’s Instructions for Authors


Bolin, G., & Hepp, A. (2017). The complexities of mediatization: Charting the road ahead. In O. Driessens, G. Bolin, A. Hepp, & S. Hjarvard (Eds.), Dynamics of mediatization (pp. 315-331). London: Palgrave. 

Couldry, N., & Hepp, A. (2013). Conceptualising mediatization: Contexts, traditions, arguments. Communication Theory23(3), 191-202. 

Diakopoulos, N. (2019). Automating the news. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 

Ekström, M., Fornäs, J., Jansson, A., & Jerslev, A. (2016). Three tasks for mediatization research: contributions to an open agenda. Media, Culture & Society38(7), 1090-1108.

Esposito, E. (2022). Artificial communication. Cambridge: MIT. 

Gehl, R. W., & Bakardjieva, M. (Eds.). (2016). Socialbots and their friends: Digital media and the automation of sociality. London: Routledge.

Gunkel, D. J. (2020). An introduction to communication and artificial intelligence. Cambridge: Polity. 

Guzman, A. L., & Lewis, S. C. (2020). Artificial intelligence and communication: A Human-Machine Communication research agenda. New Media & Society22(1), 70-86. 

Hancock, J. T., Naaman, M., & Levy, K. (2020). AI-Mediated communication: Definition, research agenda, and ethical considerations. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication25(1), 89-100. 

Hepp, A. (2020). Deep mediatization. London: Routledge. 

Hjarvard, S. (2013). The mediatization of culture and society. London: Routledge. 

Krotz, F. (2009). Mediatization: A concept with which to grasp media and societal change. In K. Lundby (Ed.), Mediatization: Concept, changes, consequences (pp. 19-38). New York: Peter Lang. 

Loosen, W. (2018). Four forms of datafied journalism. Journalism’s response to the datafication of society. Communicative figurations working paper18, 1-10. 

Taipale, S., & Fortunati, L. (2018). Communicating with machines: Robots as the next new media. In A. L. Guzman (Ed.), Human-machine communication (pp. 201-220). New York: Peter Lang. 

Thorne, S. (2020). Hey Siri, tell me a story: Digital storytelling and AI authorship. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, doi:10.1177/1354856520913866

CfP M&K-Themenheft “Forschungssoftware in der Kommunikations- und Medienforschung”

Bis Ende November können Abstracts mit einer Länge von maximal 6.000 Zeichen (inkl. Leerzeichen) zum Thema “Forschungssoftware in der Kommunikations- und Medienforschung: Entwicklung, Methodologie, Anwendung, Nachhaltigkeit” eingereicht werden.

Das M&K-Journal widmet sich in seiner Frühjahrsausgabe 2020 dem Themenbereich Forschungssoftware in der Kommunikations- und Medienforschung, mit besonderem Fokus auf deren Entwicklung, den dahinterstehenden methodologischen Überlegungen, der Anwendung in der Forschungspraxis und möglichen Nachhaltigkeitsmodellen. Der genaue CfP lässt sich hier nachlesen oder hier als PDF-Datei herunterladen.

Einreichungen werden bis Ende November entgegen genommen und im üblichen Review-Verfahren bewertet.

Call for Papers: “Acting on Media”

13. und 14. Oktober 2016, Universität Bremen

In one way or the other the current transformation of society is related to media, which are understood to mean organizations, content and technologies. As a consequence, media themselves are gaining increasing relevance in political debates and for political activity per se. Actors like hacker collectives, alternative media or open source movements do not only use media to organize, collaborate and to mobilize, but explicitly center their activities on media-related questions. Pioneer communities like the Quantified Self or Makers movement have emerged as new kinds of collectivities at the crossroads between social movements and think tanks, in their support of new forms of media practice. At the same time, new initiatives critically deal with media and point to problems caused by current media appropriation. One prominent case is Repair Cafés where people maintain their devices to avoid buying new ones, pointing to the socio-ecological damage the production and disposal of media technologies cause. The number of examples that could be added to this list is constantly growing. What the actors mentioned have in common is that they tinker around with media, tease them apart, explore and modify them. They thematize how media are dominantly used in society and they often influence the way media are constructed and perceived in public discourse. Overall, by putting media at the center of their involvement, they are acting on media. Along with this development, apparently clear distinctions between ‘alternative’ and ‘established’ groups, between ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ tactics, between ‘traditional’ and ‘new’ forms of media-related engagement become blurred. The core idea of this workshop is to bring together empirical analysis and critical reflections on different forms of acting on media.

With this focus in mind, we would like to discuss the following questions:

  • Who are the actors (individual, collective, movement-based, etc.) that thematize, problematize and/or politicize contemporary media?
  • How do actors act on media? What are their concrete aims and practices? What is their role in our social world?
  • Which contradictions can we perceive regarding these actors and media appropriation – either in the initiatives themselves or between them?
  • Which relevance and influence have and which constraints do these initiatives face in highly media-saturated societies?
  • What kind of influence and effects result from these activities/actions?

We explicitly encourage contributions from actors analyzing in different research areas and disciplines – ranging from communities, organizations, think tanks, movements, and the like – that put media in the center of their activities. Besides presentations of empirical studies, we also ask for theoretical contributions and methodological reflections on how to analyze the research object outlined above.

Weitere Informationen können hier abgerufen werden.

Call for Papers: “Digital Traces in Context”

Call for Papers: “Digital Traces in Context”

Prof. Dr. Andreas Hepp, Prof. Dr. Thomas N. Friemel und Prof. Dr. Andreas Breiter (ZeMKI, Universität Bremen) geben eine Special Section der Zeitschrift “International Journal of Communication” heraus. Einreichungen sind bis zum 16. Juni möglich.

for a Special Section in
International Journal of Communication

Guest-edited by:
Andreas Hepp, Professor, Communication & Media Studies
Thomas N. Friemel, Professor, Communication & Media Studies
Andreas Breiter, Professor, Information Management & Education Technologies
University of Bremen


“Big data” has become a contested buzzword for media and communications research, but  remains a vague concept when it comes to empirical, contextualised analysis and interpretations. From the point of view of the media user and a critical analysis of media practices, it is rather “digital traces” that matter. The term “traces” puts emphasis on the fact that these data result from the practices of individuals, collectivities, and organizations while using digital media. To understand “digital traces” we have to relate them to the various actors who originate them, as well as the contexts that matter. When putting “digital traces in context,” we have to reflect the programmers who design and implement the related technologies, the features of the technologies (e.g., the underlying algorithms), the actors producing the traces through their practice, the procedures of data gathering, as well as the relation of these data with various kinds of other information. Hence, studying the context of digital traces goes beyond the mere analysis of “big data.” Investigating digital traces is a challenge for research methods (e.g., data mining, validation, research ethics, replicability, transparency), and theories (e.g., grasping general patterns, development of new theories), and a profound reflection of all of this (e.g., redefining the basis for academic critique). The aim of the Special Section is to bring scholars of media and communications research together with scholars of other disciplines to reflect the chances of researching “digital traces in context” as one way of making a  proper sense of “datafication.”

– Theoretical approaches to digital traces and their social, cultural and technological contexts
– Qualitative and quantitative methodological approaches to researching digital traces in contextualised ways, including internal and external validation of digital traces
– Implications and affordances of system design and infrastructures for digital traces
– New ways of visualizing digital traces
– Actors defining and producing digital traces (programmers, intermediaries, users, etc.)
– Relations between social practices, behaviour and digital traces
– Critiques of digital traces producing infrastructures and social practices
– Ethical issues concerning the collecting and analysing of digital traces


To be considered for this collection, a paper of maximum 7,000 words (all-inclusive, which includes the abstract, keywords, images with captions, footnotes, references and appendices, if any) must be submitted by June 16, 2016 and adhere to the following formal requirements:

– Formatting according to the most recent version of the APA style-guide (including in-text citations and references).
– Any endnotes should be converted to footnotes.
– Papers must include the author(s) name(s), title, affiliation and e-mail address. (Your paper will subsequently anonymized for double-blind peer review.)
– All articles should include an abstract of 150 words.
– All spelling must be rendered in American English. To change British or Commonwealth spellings to their American equivalents, please see the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.
– See “Author Guidelines/ Submission Preparation Checklist” at

Any papers that do not follow these guidelines will not be submitted for peer review.

The International Journal of Communication is an open access journal ( All articles will be available online at the point of publication. The anticipated publication timeframe for this Special Section is Q1 2017.


All submissions should be e-mailed to by June 16, 2016. Late submissions will not be included for consideration.


Submission of full papers

07/2016 – 09/2016:
Peer review

10/2016 – 12/2016:
Final revisions

Q1 2017:

More information