Press reviews

Here you can find articles, reports and press releases about our project.

15 February 2023: "Social Media Provide Space for Digital Cosmopolitanism" (University of Mainz)

What kind of people use social media to advocate for tolerance, human rights, and against authoritarianism?

Social media platforms such as  Facebook and Twitter have repeatedly been the subject of negative news coverage. As a result, the positive aspects associated with digital platforms have  been overlooked. In light of this, a recent study has explored the social media activity of a carefully selected group of individuals who use the microblogging platform Twitter. The authors, Dr. Roman Lietz from the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz (JGU) and Dr. Fergal Lenehan from the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, observe that socially engaged Twitter users share unexpected similarities despite their different backgrounds. “These digital cosmopolitans share similar values and are guided by similar motivations and perspectives on society,” explains Roman Lietz from the Faculty of Translation Studies, Linguistics and Cultural Studies at JGU.

“Digital cosmopolitanism” has been sparsely researched so far.

There is hardly a message on social media that doesn’t express some form of criticism. The way in which Donald Trump instrumentalized Twitter in a new manner and the radicalization and networking of far-right terrorists via social media has meant that a special focus on the right-wing populist, agitator potential of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and other platforms has dominated research. Scholars rarely view the other side: Social media as a space for the spread of  values such as solidarity and understanding.

In their study “Tweeting the World a Better Place” funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Roman Lietz and Fergal Lenehan investigate this digital cosmopolitanism. They examine the motives, biographies, and traits that lead ten different people across Europe to take positions on Twitter in support of human rights, tolerance, and against authoritarianism. The qualitative study focuses on regular people rather than popular accounts of influencers.

Parallels between traditional volunteering and social Twitter engagement are clearly recognized by the authors.

The study finds that the Twitter users interviewed, regardless of age, place of residence, and specific interests such as climate protection, the combating of anti-Semitism, or the advocation for LGBT rights, possess  surprising similarities in terms of values, motivations, and perspectives on society and on social developments. Furthermore, parallels between traditional volunteering and cosmopolitan Twitter are clearly visible. “We perceive this as a form of digital civic engagement,” explains Lietz, describing the results. The study concludes by addressing how this form of commitment and dedication to “the world as a whole” can be accomplished in the sometimes harsh environment of social media.

The study was published in the academic journal Persona Studies as part of the Researching Digital Interculturality Co-operatively (ReDICo) research project.

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05 January 2022: "Digitale interkulturelle Kommunikationsspiele" (Pressebox)

Es gibt wohl kaum ein Thema, das sich seit Beginn der Pandemie so aufgedrängt hat wie virtuelle Kommunikation. Wir alle kommunizieren mittlerweile ständig per Videotelefonie und nehmen digital an Veranstaltungen teil. Die Lehre im Fach Interkulturelle Wirtschaftskommunikation bietet Theorien und Praxis zu diesem neuen Zeitalter. …

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25 May 2021: "Interkulturalität in der digitalen Welt – Interview mit Dr. Milene Mendes de Oliveira zum Forschungsprojekt ReDICo" (University of Potsdam)

Die Universitäten Potsdam, Jena und Mainz haben 2020 einen Projektverbund namens Researching Digital Interculturality Co-operatively (ReDICo) gegründet. Die Wissenschaftler beabsichtigen eine Annäherung der interkulturellen Kommunikationswissenschaft an das interdisziplinäre Feld der Internet Studies, um digitale Interkulturalität aus einer neuen Perspektive zu betrachten. …

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20 November 2020: "Interkulturelle Kommunikation im digitalen Raum" (University of Jena)

Ist die virtuelle Realität von der physischen Überhaupt noch trennbar? Und wenn nicht, wie kann es gelingen, diese Komplexität zu erforschen? Diese Fragen bilden den Kern eines neu gegründeten und an der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena koordinierten For­schungsverbundes im Bereich Interkulturelle Wirtschaftskommunikation. …

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