What I Do
How do societies adapt to technological change?
I am interested in technological change and how societies, institutions, organizations, and people adapt.
Prof. Dr. Andreas Jungherr
I hold the Chair for the Governance of Complex and Innovative Technological Systems at the Institute for Political Science at the Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg.
There, I study, teach, and write about how societies deal with digital technology.
In the book Retooling Politics, my co-authors and I provide an easy to follow introduction to various ways that digital media influence politics.
In various articles, I examine political communication, persuasion, contemporary media systems, disinformation, digital campaigning, attitudes toward trade and globalization, and computational social science.
Currently, I am working on a project identifying and measuring the power dynamics between legacy, new, and social media in the coverage of important societal events and topics.
And there is Marlowe.
Podcast Lecture Series
Digital Media in Politics and Society
One of the most important challenges societies face today is how to make sense of digital media. We are deeply uncertain about their impact: mechanisms, conditions, and opportunities of and for their uses remain unclear. The goal the podcast is to help you to make sense of digital media, the changes it brings, and the challenges it presents. This podcast accompanies the lecture series Digital Media in Politics & Society of the Chair for the Governance of Complex and Innovative Technological Systems at the University of Bamberg.
Digital Transformations of the Public Arena
Digital technologies have changed the public arena, but there is little scholarly consensus about how they have done so. This Element lays out a new framework for the digitally mediated public arena by identifying structural changes and continuities with the pre-digital era. It examines three country cases – the United States, Germany, and China. In these countries and elsewhere, the emergence of new infrastructures such as search engines and social media platforms increasingly mediate and govern the visibility and reach of information, and thus reconfigure the transmission belt between citizens and political elites. This shift requires a rethinking of the workings and dysfunctions of the contemporary public arena and ways to improve it.
Retooling Politics: How Digital Media are Shaping Democracy
Donald Trump, the Arab Spring, Brexit: digital media have provided political actors and citizens with new tools to engage in politics. These tools are now routinely used by activists, candidates, non-governmental organizations, and parties to inform, mobilize, and persuade people. But what are the effects of this retooling of politics? Do digital media empower the powerless or are they breaking democracy? Have these new tools and practices fundamentally changed politics or is their impact just a matter of degree? This clear-eyed guide steps back from hyperbolic hopes and fears to offer a balanced account of what aspects of politics are being shaped by digital media and what remains unchanged. The authors discuss data-driven politics, the flow and reach of political information, the effects of communication interventions through digital tools, their use by citizens in coordinating political action, and what their impact is on political organizations and on democracy at large.
What others are saying
Retooling Politics is simply the best book I have read on politics in the digital age. The authors show how political actors use legacy media, digital platforms, and data driven strategies to change how public information is produced, distributed, received, evaluated and used. This book updates the entire field with a timely focus on contemporary problems of democracy. It is destined to become a classic.
University of Washington
In this provocative, fresh account of the power of digital media in politics, the authors bundle insights from various fields to provide an accessible account of the many ways digital media are shaping contemporary politics. This timely and welcome book will be highly useful for anyone seeking to understand this complex and evolving issue.
London School of Economics and Political Science
This book gives a nuanced analysis of digital media in politics, focusing on political actors’ needs, flows and costs of information, and connections to publics. The authors offer readers a careful and systematic approach to the big question of whether digital media strengthen or undermine democracy.
University of California, Santa Barbara
The effects of digital media on politics and democracy are far-reaching, diverse, quickly evolving, and difficult to grasp. Retooling Politics is an essential resource for anyone trying to make sense of the connection between digital media and politics – and to understand what we actually know about it.
University of Zurich
Jungherr, Rivero and Gayo-Avello’s Retooling Politics is simply exquisite. By all means this book represents one of the finest accounts I have come across to explain why and how digital media is the largest and most profound transformative power in today’s democracy. With a comprehensive, meticulous, and sharp use of the most current and influential literature in the social sciences, the authors build a brilliant and multi-disciplinary argument that will guide readers to better grasp how digital media has transformed our political realm.
University of Vienna
Retooling Politics offers a fresh and nuanced ‘needs-based’ framework for analyzing the effects of digital media on political life. This is a necessary book that cuts through hyperbole in its grounded, procedural analysis of what has actually changed in politics, from how organizations pursue their ends to the voices that count in public life.
UNC Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life
All over the world, old political goals are pursued with new political tools. Retooling Politics’ needs-based approach presents a nuanced new way of thinking about the impact not on specific political outcomes, or on the basic goals of political actors, but on the practical and institutional process of politics. Thus, this book will help combat the catchy but simplistic narratives advanced by digital cheerleaders and doom-mongers and contribute to more realistic and evidence-based alternatives.
University of Oxford
This book offers a fresh and comprehensive perspective on the needs that digital media fulfill in the context of democratic politics. The wide-ranging analysis explores the needs that digital media provides for political organizations, for the spread of information, and for enabling collective action in the broadest sense.
A Source Like Any Other? Field and Survey Experiment Evidence on How Interest Groups Shape Public Opinion
Interest groups increasingly communicate with the public, yet we know little about how effective they are in shaping opinions. Since interest groups differ from other public communicators, we propose a theory of interest group persuasion. Interest groups typically have a low public profile, and so most people are unlikely to have strong attitudes regarding them. Source-related predispositions, such as credibility assessments, are therefore less relevant in moderating effects of persuasive appeals by interest groups than those of high-profile communicators. We test this argument in multiple large-scale studies. A parallel survey and field experiment (N = 4,659) establishes the persuasive potential of low-profile interest groups in both controlled and realistic settings. An observational study (N = 700) shows that substantial portions of the public are unable to assess interest group credibility. A survey experiment (N = 8,245) demonstrates that credibility assessments moderate the impact of party but not interest group communication.
Cowritten with Alexander Wuttke, Matthias Mader, and Harald Schoen.
Discursive Power in Contemporary Media Systems: A Comparative Framework
Contemporary media systems are in transition. The constellation of organizations, groups, and individuals contributing information to national and international news flows has changed as a result of the digital transformation. The “hybrid media system” has proven to be one of the most instructive concepts addressing this change. Its focus on the mutually dependent interconnections between various types of media organizations, actors, and publics has inspired prolific research. Yet the concept can tempt researchers to sidestep systematic analyses of information flows and actors’ differing degrees of influence by treating media systems as a black box. To enable large-scale, empirical comparative studies aimed at identifying interdependencies and power relationships in contemporary media systems, we propose the concept of discursive power. This describes the ability of contributors to communication spaces to introduce, amplify, and maintain topics, frames, and speakers, thus shaping public discourses and controversies that unfold in interconnected communication spaces. We also provide a theoretical framework of how structural features of organizations and media systems contribute to the emergence of discursive power for different types of actors in various contexts. This adds to the theoretical toolkit available to researchers interested in the empirical analysis of contemporary media systems.
Cowritten with Oliver Posegga and Jisun An.
Analyzing Political Communication with Digital Trace Data: The Role of Twitter Messages in Social Science Research
This book offers a framework for the analysis of political communication in election campaigns based on digital trace data that documents political behavior, interests and opinions. The author investigates the data-generating processes leading users to interact with digital services in politically relevant contexts. These interactions produce digital traces, which in turn can be analyzed to draw inferences on political events or the phenomena that give rise to them. Various factors mediate the image of political reality emerging from digital trace data, such as the users of digital services’ political interests, attitudes, or attention to politics. In order to arrive at valid inferences about the political reality on the basis of digital trace data, these mediating factors have to be accounted for. The author presents this interpretative framework in a detailed analysis of Twitter messages referring to politics in the context of the 2009 federal elections in Germany. This book will appeal to scholars interested in the field of political communication, as well as practitioners active in the political arena.
Discursive Power in Contemporary Media Systems
Contemporary media systems are shaped by diverse constellation of organizations, groups, and individuals contributing information to national and international news flows. In our project, we analyze interdependencies and power relationships among these new constellations. We do so through the concept of discursive power: the ability of contributors to communication spaces to introduce, amplify, and maintain topics, frames, and speakers in interconnected communication spaces.
The project has received generous funding by the VolkswagenStiftung in the funding line “International Research in Computational Social Sciences”.
We are an interdisciplinary team of early-career researchers coming from computer, information and the social sciences. Our interdisciplinary backgrounds allow us to realize the research potential of computational social science informed by both computer and social science without being limited by either.
School of Information Systems, Singapore Management University (SMU-SIS)
Institute for Political Science at the University of Bamberg
Department of Information Systems and Social Networks at the University of Bamberg