Cultural and societal change through media transformation

The collaborative work of the research network is guided by a shared understanding of „communicative figurations“. Communicative figurations are – typically cross-media – patterns of interweaving through practices of communication. Members of families as collectivities, for example, are possibly separated in space but connected through multimodal communication such as (mobile) phone calls, emailing, sharing on digital platforms and so on that keep family relationships alive and allow to construct family memories. Another example of communicative figurations are organisations which are kept together with the help of databases, communication across the intranet, as well as printed flyers and other media of internal and external communication. Individuals are involved in such figurations by the role and position they have in the respective actor constellations.


Taking such a perspective, there are at least three features characteristic for a communicative figuration:

  • First, a communicative figuration has a certain constellation of actors that can be regarded as its structural basis: a network of individuals being interrelated and communicating with each other.
  • Second, each communicative figuration has dominating frames of relevance that serve to guide its constituting practices. These frames define the ‘topic’ and therefore character of a communicative figuration as a social domain.
  • Third, we are dealing with specific communicativepractices that are interwoven with other social practices. In their composition, these practices typically draw on and are entangled with a media ensemble.

Investigating communicative figurations offers us a cross-media and processual approach to the construction of social domains and their transformation with deep mediatization. Today, we are confronted with various, dynamically changing media-related figurations. We gain access to them by researching their actor constellations, frames of relevance and communicative practices entangled with a media ensemble.


Communicative figurations are – typically cross-media – patterns of interweaving through practices of communication