Professor Dr. Andreas Hepp receives two awards at the annual conference of the German Communication Association (DGPuK)

For many years, communication and media research at the University of Bremen has distinguished itself by investigating the change to our society brought about by media, digitalization and currently their increasing drivenness by data. Now, this research has received two important accolades.

At this year’s annual conference of the German Communication Association (DGPuK), Andreas Hepp was awarded its Theory Prize and with it the first prize for a journal article in communication studies. A five-member jury honoured the book “The Mediated Construction of Reality” (2017, Polity Press) by Andreas Hepp and the British researcher Nick Couldry (London School of Economics and Political Sciences). The book innovatively and originally builds on existing theories and develops a basis for an understanding of a society that is shaped by media, digitalization and datafication. In their monograph, Couldry and Hepp discuss the question of the profound role digital media play in shaping and changing the social world, the consequences which can arise from that, but also what this means normatively for human coexistence.

Andreas Hepp received the prize for the best article in communication studies as part of a debate surrounding his article “Kommunikationswissenschaft in datengetriebenen Zeiten” (“Communication studies in data-driven times”) which was published in the academic journal “Publizistik” in mid-2016. This article provoked a debate in the research community in which four other scholars participated who were also distinguished. In his article, Hepp argues in favour of an extension of the subject area of communication and media studies and for a much stronger application of digital methods, for instance, to research data traces that people leave behind online. Hepp pleads for an extension of the disciplinary perspective also towards the datafication of communication, i.e. its increasing digitalization and automatization. The award winning article triggered an intensive debate on the self-understanding of the discipline, which led to a special window on the future of communication studies at this year’s annual DGPuK conference.

Both award winning publications base significantly on joint theoretical and empirical research in the “Communicative Figurations” research network of the Universities of Bremen and Hamburg and Bremen’s Creative Research Unit of the same name which was supported by the University of Bremen’s institutional strategy “Ambitious and Agile” funded within the frame of the Excellence Initiative of the German Federal and State Governments from 2013 to 2016.

Prof. Dr. Andreas Hepp is speaker of the Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZeMKI) and led the Creative Research Unit “Communicative Figurations” (2013-2016). The ZeMKI bundles research activities at the University of Bremen in the area of media and communicative change, encompassing a broad range of cultural, social, organisational and technological context fields. The research institute is committed to interdisciplinary cooperation, integrating researchers from the areas of media and communication studies, information management, media education, film studies, religious studies, and history.

Couldry, Nick/Hepp, Andreas (2017): The Mediated Construction of Reality. Cambridge: Polity. ISBN 978-0-7456-8131-3 (Paperback), 290 pages, € 23,60

Hepp, Andreas (2016): Kommunikationswissenschaft in datengetriebenen Zeiten. In: Publizistik, 61(3), pp. 225-246, (Open Access).

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