Research Goals


Media infrastructures permeate more and more social spheres with a progressing digitisation, especially in information technology. Social worlds have been and will be configured and reconfigured by media infrastructures. At the same time media infrastructures shape media practices of people and are changed by them in turn. The subprojects of column A of the collaborative research center (CRC) “Media of Cooperation” concentrate on “infrastructuring” of media infrastructures in its different dimensions. The subprojects address:

  • different scales – from networks within clinics to national ISDN networks,
  • different operating states – from online/offline to breakdown,
  • three basic elements of cooperation – cooperative tools, platforms and infrastructures.


In the course of digitisation, public media diversify into more and more heterogeneous public communities. Therefore, publishing processes focus increasingly on multifunctional spaces. As a result, media practices as well as the cooperative production of publics are (re-)configured. The subprojects of column B of the CRC “Media of Cooperation” focus on ways and means of making things public. “Issues” and “Issue networks” are important terms here and replace monolithic concepts of “the public”. The development of public media and of publics is marked by “medial recursivity”, which the CRC scrutinizes both as an empirical or historical and as a theoretical research question. The subprojects address:

  • publics and their historical development,
  • media practices of the formation of publicity,
  • inclusive and exclusive mechanisms of cooperatively produced publics.

Goals – Ideas – Perspectives

Research Interest and Challenges for Media Studies and Media Theory:

  • scientific study of cooperative practices that are generated by media and generate media
  • the digitisation of media transforms media practices and leads to new questions for media history and media theory.

A Paradigm Shift in Media Studies as a Result of Digitisation of Media:

  • Digitally networked media can be interpreted as cooperative tools, platforms and infrastructures which constitute new publics and transform existing publics.
  • Digital media can no longer be understood as individual media, but demand a practice-theoretical turn which has effects on historiography and media theory.
  • All media are cooperatively developed conditions of cooperation; media practices and cultural techniques evolve from mutual production and provision of shared resources and collaboratively learned processes.
  • The study of digital media on the one hand demands an close interchange between media and social theory and on the other hand an interdisciplinary cooperation that proceeds transversely to common scientific formations