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Stellenanzeige: Akademische Rätin/Akademischer Rats auf Zeit Lehrstuhl für Steuerung innovativer und komplexer technischer Systeme

An der Fakultät Sozial- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften der Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg ist am Lehrstuhl für Steuerung innovativer und komplexer technischer Systeme die Stelle einer/eines

Akademischen Rätin/Akademischen Rats auf Zeit (Postdoc, m/w/d)
(100 % der regelmäßigen Arbeitszeit; Bes. Gr. A 13 oder TV-L E 13)

in einem befristeten Beschäftigungsverhältnis als wissenschaftliche/r Mitarbeiter/-in (TV-L E 13) oder bei Vorliegen der erforderlichen Voraussetzungen in einem Beamtenverhältnis auf drei Jahre (mit Verlängerungsmöglichkeit bis zu drei weiteren Jahren) (Bes.Gr. A13) zum 1. Oktober 2021 zu besetzen.

Neben der Verpflichtung in der Lehre von 5 SWS im Bereich Politikwissenschaft, Nutzung experimenteller Methoden in der Sozialwissenschaft und/oder der Wirkung kommunikativer Interventionen (Kurse können ggf. auf Englisch angeboten werden) gehört die Mitarbeit in der Forschung und Drittmittelakquise am Lehrstuhl für Steuerung innovativer und komplexer technischer Systeme zum Aufgabenportfolio der Stelle.

Der Lehrstuhl konzentriert sich in der Forschung auf die Untersuchung der Auswirkung von Digitalisierung auf die Gesellschaft. Besondere Aufmerksamkeit gilt hier der Veränderung von Diskursen, Kommunikationsumgebungen und -wirkungen. Darüber hinaus untersuchen wir Determinanten und Einflussfaktoren auf Technikakzeptanz oder -ablehnung. Perspektivisch werden diese thematischen Schwerpunkte in den nächsten Jahren durch die Themen Künstliche Intelligenz und Klimawandel ergänzt.

Anforderungsprofil:

  • Fachlich einschlägiger Hochschulabschluss (Diplom oder Master of Science) und qualifizierende Promotion in der Politikwissenschaft oder einem verwandten sozialwissenschaftlichen Fach (z.B. Kommunikationswissenschaft, Psychologie oder Soziologie);
  • Für das Beamtenverhältnis ist in dem entsprechenden Fach eine erfolgreich abgeschlossene Promotion erforderlich;
  • Kenntnisse in einem oder mehreren der folgenden Forschungsfeldern:
    • Digitalisierung in Gesellschaft und Politik,
    • politische Kommunikation,
    • politische Psychologie,
    • Technikakzeptanz und -ablehnung;
  • Erfahrungen in der Anwendung sozialwissenschaftlicher Forschungsmethoden mit quantitativem Schwerpunkt (z. B. Befragungen, Experimente) und Kenntnisse der Programmiersprache R; Kenntnisse in der Computational Social Science und der Open Science sind ein Plus;
  • Bereitschaft zur weiteren wissenschaftlichen Qualifikation (z.B. Habilitation);
  • Selbständiges Arbeiten, persönliches Engagement, Kommunikations- und Kooperationsfähigkeit.

Qualifizierte Kandidaten und Kandidatinnen werden aufgefordert, sich zu bewerben.

Allgemeines:

Die Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg ist bestrebt, den Anteil von Frauen in Forschung und Lehre zu erhöhen und fordert deshalb entsprechend qualifizierte Frauen nachdrücklich zur Bewerbung auf. Schwerbehinderte Bewerberinnen oder Bewerber werden bei ansonsten im Wesentlichen gleicher Eignung bevorzugt berücksichtigt.

Die Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg wurde von der Hertie-Stiftung als familiengerechte Hochschule zertifiziert. Sie setzt sich besonders für die Vereinbarkeit von Familie und Erwerbsleben ein.

Bewerbung:

Ihre Bewerbungsunterlagen (Motivationsschreiben, Lebenslauf, Publikationsliste, eine einseitige Skizze Ihres Forschungsprofils, Examenszeugnisse und Promotionsurkunde) senden Sie bitte in elektronischer Form (zusammengefasst zu einem PDF-Dokument) unter Angabe Stellenausschreibung an den Lehrstuhlinhaber Prof. Dr. Andreas Jungherr an die untenstehende E-Mail-Adresse.

Bewerbungsfrist: 31.07.2021

Fachliche Auskünfte erteilt Ihnen gerne Prof. Dr. Andreas Jungherr: andreas.jungherr[at]uni-bamberg.de

Kontaktadresse:

Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg
Lehrstuhl/Professur für Steuerung innovativer und komplexer technischer Systeme
Prof. Dr. Andreas Jungherr
96045 Bamberg
E-Mail: andreas.jungherr[at]uni-bamberg.de

Stellenanzeige Akad. Rat.a.Zeit – Lehrstuhl für Steuerung innovativer und komplexer technischer Systeme (Jungherr)

Job Ad: Postdoc at the Chair for the Governance of Complex and Innovative Technological Systems, University of Bamberg

At the Institute for Political Science of the Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg, the Chair for the Governance of Complex and Innovative Technological Systems is seeking to fill the position of a

Postdoc researcher (Akademische/r Rat/Rätin auf Zeit, m/f/d)
(100 % of the regular working hours; remuneration class A 13 or TV-L E 13)

The position will initially be filled for three years (with the possibility of extension for up to three further years). It can either be filled in a temporary employment relationship as a scientific employee (TV-L E 13) or, if the necessary requirements are met, in a civil service relationship (Bes.Gr. A13).

Starting date is October 1, 2021.

Your responsibilities will include teaching requirements of 5 SWS in the field of political science, the use of experimental methods in the social sciences and/or the effect of communicative interventions (courses can be held in English). Your task portfolio will further include the cooperation in research and the acquisition of third-party funds at the Chair for the Governance of Complex and Innovative Technological Systems.

The chair’s research focuses on the impact of digital technology on society. Special attention is paid to the change of discourses, communication environments, and effects. Furthermore, we investigate determinants and influencing factors on technology acceptance or rejection. In the coming years, these thematic focuses will be supplemented by the topics of artificial intelligence and climate change.

Your Qualifications:

  • Relevant university degree (Diplom or Master of Science) and qualifying doctorate in political science or a related social science subject (e.g., communication science, psychology or sociology);
  • A successfully completed doctorate in the relevant subject is required for civil service employment;
  • Knowledge of one or more of the following research fields:
    • Digital technology in society and politics,
    • political communication,
    • political psychology,
    • technology acceptance and rejection;
  • Experience in the application of quantitative social science research methods (e.g., surveys, experiments) and knowledge of the programming language R; knowledge of computational social science and open science is a plus;
  • Willingness to pursue further academic qualifications (e.g., habilitation);
  • Independent work, personal commitment, communication and cooperation skills.

Qualified candidates are encouraged to apply.

General:

The Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg strives to increase the proportion of women in research and teaching and therefore strongly encourages suitably qualified women to apply. Severely disabled applicants will be given preferential consideration if their suitability is otherwise essentially equal. The Otto Friedrich University Bamberg has been certified as a family-friendly university by the Hertie Foundation. It is particularly committed to the compatibility of family and working life.

Application:

Please send your application documents (letter of motivation, curriculum vitae, list of publications, a one-page outline of your research profile, examination certificates and doctoral degree certificate) in electronic form (compiled into one PDF document) to the chair holder Prof. Dr. Andreas Jungherr at the e-mail address below, indicating the job advertisement.

Application deadline: 31.07.2021

For further information please contact Prof. Dr. Andreas Jungherr: andreas.jungherr[at]uni-bamberg.de

Contact address:

Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg
Chair for the Governance of Complex and Innovative Technological Systems
Prof. Dr. Andreas Jungherr
96045 Bamberg
E-mail: andreas.jungherr[at]uni-bamberg.de

Job Ad – Postdoc – Chair for the Governance of Complex and Innovative Technological Systems (English)

Panel Discussion: Social Media — Democratization or radicalization engine?

Eckehard Oblrich from the Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften was kind enough to invite me to a panel discussion for the “ODYCCEUS Online Conference – The Computational Analysis of Cultural Conflict“. Julia Ebner, Philipp Lorenz-Spreen and I discuss the role of Social Media in political discourse as democratization or radicalization engine. The discussion was a blast and there is a recording:

Syllabus: The Digital Transformation in Society and Politics

Course Description

The seminar gives in-depth insight into the history, terms, theories and methods of investigating the effects of digitization on society and politics. Technical design, usage patterns and the mutual influence of digitization, society and politics are discussed and research methods are presented. Corresponding topics are clarified against the background of current, international case studies.

[Syllabus, German]

Session Overview

  • Week 1: Introduction
  • Week 2: Challenges
  • Week 3: Control
  • Week 4: Culture
  • Week 5: Platform economy
  • Week 6: Information environments and the public arena
  • Week 7: Data
  • Week 8: Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Week 9: Data, AI, and the State
  • Week 10: USA
  • Week 11: EU
  • Week 12: China
  • Week 13: Digital geopolitics
  • Week 14: Discussion of open questions and essays
  • Detailed Session Plan

    Challenges

    Mandatory readings

  • Yochai Benkler (2006). “Introduction: A Moment of Opportunity and Challenge”. In: The wealth of networks: how social production transforms markets and freedom. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, pp. 1–28.
  • Background readings

  • Martin Gurri (2018). The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium. 2nd ed. San Francisco, CA: Stripe Press.
  • Eliot Higgins (2021). We Are Bellingcat: An Intelligence Agency for the People. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
  • Alan Rusbridger (2018). Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now. Edinburgh: Canongate.
  • Joe Trippi (2004). The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything. New York: Regan Books.
  • Fred Turner (2006). From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Presentations

  • William H. Dutton (2009). “The Fifth Estate Emerging through the Network of Networks”. In: Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation 27.1, pp. 1–15. DOI: 10.1080/08109020802657453.
  • Andreas Jungherr, Ralph Schroeder, and Sebastian Stier (2019). “Digital Media and the Surge of Political Outsiders: Explaining the Success of Political Challengers in the United States, Germany, and China”. In: Social Media + Society 5.3, pp. 1–12. DOI: 10.1177/2056305119875439.
  • Simone Natale and Andrea Ballatore (2014). “The web will kill them all: new media, digital utopia, and political struggle in the Italian 5-Star Movement”. In: Media, Culture & Society 36.1, pp. 105–121. DOI: 10.1177/0163443713511902.
  • Control

    Mandatory readings

  • Yochai Benkler (2016). “Degrees of Freedom, Dimensions of Power”. In: Dædalus 145.1, pp. 18–32. DOI: 10.1162/DAED_a_00362.
  • Background readings

  • James Beniger (1989). The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Jack Goldsmith and Tim Wu (2006). Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • David Kaye (2019). Speech Police: The Global Struggle to Govern the Internet. New York: Columbia Global Reports.
  • Lawrence Lessig (2006). Code: version 2.0. New York: Basic Books.
  • James C. Scott (1998). Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  • Tim Wu (2010). The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
  • Presentations

  • Laura DeNardis (2012). “Hidden levers of Internet control: An infrastructure-based theory of Internet governance”. In: Information Communication & Society 15.5, pp. 720–738. DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2012.659199.
  • Daphne Keller (2018). Internet Platforms: Observations on Speech, Danger, and Money. Aegis series paper 1807. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution.
  • Culture

    Mandatory readings

  • Limor Shifman (2016). “Cross-Cultural Comparisons of User-Generated Content: An Analytical Framework”. In: International Journal of Communication 10, pp. 5644–5663.
  • Background readings

  • Alberto Acerbi (2020). Cultural Evolution in the Digital Age. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Whitney Phillips and Ryan M. Milner (2017). The Ambivalent Internet: Mischief, Oddity, and Antagonism Online. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Andreas Reckwitz (2019). Die Gesellschaft der Singularitäten: Zum Strukturwandel der Moderne. Berlin: Suhrkamp.
  • Limor Shifman (2013). Memes in digital culture. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
  • Presentations

  • Sharad Goel, Ashton Anderson, et al. (2016). “The Structural Virality of Online Diffusion”. In: Management Science 62.1, pp. 180–196. DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.2015.2158.
  • Asaf Nissenbaum and Limor Shifman (2017). “Internet memes as contested cultural capital: The case of 4chan’s /b/ board”. In: New Media & Society 19.4, pp. 483–501. DOI: 10.1177/1461444815609313.
  • Matthew J. Salganik, Peter S. Dodds, and Duncan J. Watts (2006). “Experimental study of inequality and unpredictability in an artificial cultural market”. In: Science 311.5762, pp. 854–856. DOI: 10.1126/science.1121066.
  • Matthew J. Salganik and Duncan J. Watts (2008). “Leading the herd astray: An experimental study of self-fulfilling prophecies in an artificial cultural market”. In: Social Psychology Quarterly 71.4, pp. 338–355. DOI: 10.1177/019027250807100404.
  • Platform economy

    Mandatory readings

  • Patrick Barwise and Leo Watkins (2018). “The Evolution of Digital Dominance: How and Why We Got to GAFA”. In: Digital Dominance: The Power of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. Ed. by Martin Moore and Damian Tambini. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 21–49.
  • Martin Kenney and John Zysman (2016). “The rise of the platform economy”. In: Issues in Science and Technology 32.3, pp. 61–69.
  • Background readings

  • Julie E. Cohen (2017). “Law for the Platform Economy”. In: UC Davis Law Review 51.1, pp. 133–204.
  • Julie E. Cohen (2019). Between Truth and Power: The Legal Constructions of Informational Capitalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • David S. Evans and Richard Schmalensee (2016). Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing.
  • Carl Shapiro and Hal R. Varian (1999). Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.
  • Presentations

  • Anupam Chander (2014). “How Law Made Silicon Valley”. In: Emory Law Journal 63.3, pp. 639–694.
  • Mara Ferreri and Romola Sanyal (2018). “Platform economies and urban planning: Airbnb and regulated deregulation in London”. In: Urban Studies 55.15, pp. 3353–3368. DOI: 10.1177/0042098017751982.
  • Kathleen Thelen (2018). “Regulating Uber: The Politics of the Platform Economy in Europe and the United States”. In: Perspectives on Politics 16.4, pp. 938–953. DOI: 10.1017/S1537592718001081.
  • Information environments and the public arena

    Mandatory readings

  • Andreas Jungherr, Gonzalo Rivero, and Daniel Gayo-Avello (2020). “The Flow of Political Information”. In: Retooling Politics: How Digital Media are Shaping Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 30–68. DOI: 10.1017/9781108297820.002.
  • Andreas Jungherr, Gonzalo Rivero, and Daniel Gayo-Avello (2020). “Reaching People”. In: Retooling Politics: How Digital Media are Shaping Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 69–102. DOI: 10.1017/9781108297820.003.
  • Background readings

  • Emily Bell et al. (2017). The Platform Press: How Silicon Valley reengineered journalism. New York: Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia University. DOI: 10.7916/D8R216ZZ.
  • Eitan D. Hersh (2015). Hacking the Electorate: How Campaigns Perceive Voters. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Philip M. Napoli (2019). Social Media and the Public Interest: Media Regulation in the Disinformation Age. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • W. Russell Neuman (2016). The Digital Difference: Media Technology and the Theory of Communication Effects. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • James G. Webster (2014). The Marketplace of Attention: How Audiences Take Shape in a Digital Age. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
  • Presentations

  • Dean Eckles, Brett R. Gordon, and Garrett A. Johnson (2018). “Field studies of psychologically targeted ads face threats to internal validity”. In: PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 115.23, E5254–E5255. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1805363115.
  • Brent Kitchens, Steven L. Johnson, and Peter Gray (2020). “Understanding Echo Chambers and Filter Bubbles: The Impact of Social Media on Diversification and Partisan Shifts in News Consumption”. In: MIS Quarterly 44.4, pp. 1619–1649. DOI: 10.25300/MISQ/2020/16371.
  • Sandra C. Matz et al. (2017). “Psychological targeting as an effective approach to digital mass persuasion”. In: PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114.48, pp. 12714–12719. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1710966114.
  • Byron Sharp, Nick Danenberg, and Steven Bellman (2018). “Psychological targeting”. In: PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 115.34, E7890. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1810436115.
  • Data

    Mandatory readings

  • Marion Fourcade and Kieran Healy (2017). “Seeing like a market”. In: Socio-Economic Review 15.1, pp. 9–29. DOI: 10.1093/ser/mww033.
  • Background readings

  • Solon Barocas and Andrew D. Selbst (2016). “Big Data’s Disparate Impact”. In: California Law Review 104, pp. 671–732. DOI: 10.15779/Z38BG31.
  • Andreas Jungherr, Gonzalo Rivero, and Daniel Gayo-Avello (2020a). “Data in Politics”. In: Retooling Politics: How Digital Media are Shaping Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 179–211. DOI: 10.1017/9781108297820.008.
  • Steffen Mau (2017). Das metrische Wir: Über die Quantifizierung des Sozialen. Berlin: Suhrkamp.
  • Andrea Mennicken and Wendy Nelson Espeland (2019). “What’s New with Numbers? Sociological Approaches to the Study of Quantification”. In: Annual Review of Sociology 35, pp. 223–245. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-soc-073117-041343.
  • Jerry Z. Muller (2018). The Tyranny of Metrics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Presentations

  • Katherine C. Kellogg, Melissa A. Valentine, and Angèle Christin (2020). “Algorithms at Work: The New Contested Terrain of Control”. In: Academy of Management Annals 14.1, pp. 366–410. DOI: 10.5465/annals.2018.0174.
  • Fan Liang et al. (2018). “Constructing a Data-Driven Society: China’s Social Credit System as a State Surveillance Infrastructure”. In: Policy & Internet 10.4, pp. 415–453. DOI: 10.1002/poi3.183.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)

    Mandatory readings

  • Yavar Bathaee (2018). “The Artificial Intelligence Black Box and the Failure of Intent and Causation”. In: Harvard Journal of Law & Technology 31.2, pp. 879–938.
  • Ruha Benjamin (2019). “Assessing risk, automating racism”. In: Science 366.6464, pp. 421–422. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz3873.
  • Background readings

  • Meredith Broussard (2018). Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
  • Gary Marcus and Ernest Davis (2019). Rebooting AI: Building Artificial Intelligence We Can Trust. New York: Pantheon Books.
  • Melanie Mitchell (2019). Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans. New York: Farrat, Straus and Giroux.
  • Shira Mitchell et al. (2021). “Algorithmic Fairness: Choices, Assumptions, and Definitions”. In: Annual Review of Statistics and Its Application 8, pp. 141–163. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-statistics-042720-125902.
  • Cathy O’Neil (2016). Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy. New York: Crown Publishing Group.
  • Presentations

  • Jon Kleinberg et al. (2018). “Discrimination in the Age of Algorithms”. In: Journal of Legal Analysis 10, pp. 113–174. DOI: 10.1093/jla/laz001.
  • Sandra G. Mayson (2019). “Bias In, Bias Out”. In: The Yale Law Journal 128.8, pp. 2218–2300.
  • Data, AI, and the State

    Mandatory readings

  • Robert Brauneis and Ellen P. Goodman (2018). “Algorithmic Transparency for the Smart City”. In: Yale Journal & Technology 20, pp. 103–176.
  • Background readings

  • Virginia Eubanks (2018). Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
  • Andrew Guthrie Ferguson (2017). The Rise of Big Data Policing: Surveillance, Race, and the Future of Law Enforcement. New York: New York University Press.
  • Frank Pasquale (2015). The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Presentations

  • Sarah Brayne (2017). “Big Data Surveillance: The Case of Policing”. In: American Sociological Review 82.5, pp. 988–1008. DOI: 10.1177/0003122417725865.
  • Han-Wei Liu, Ching-Fu Lin, and Yu-Jie Chen (2019). “Beyond State v Loomis: artificial intelligence, government algorithmization and accountability”. In: International Journal of Law and Information Technology 27.2, pp. 122–141. DOI: 10.1093/ijlit/eaz001.
  • USA

    Mandatory readings

  • Levi Boxell, Matthew Gentzkow, and Jesse M. Shapiro (2017). “Greater Internet use is not associated with faster growth in political polarization among US demographic groups”. In: PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114.40, pp. 10612–10617. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1706588114.
  • Markus Prior (2013). “Media and Political Polarization”. In: Annual Review of Political Science 16, pp. 101–127. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-polisci-100711-135242.
  • Background readings

  • David Karpf (2012). The MoveOn Effect: The Unexpected Transformation of American Political Advocacy. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Daniel Kreiss (2012). Taking Our Country Back: The Crafting of Networked Politics from Howard Dean to Barack Obama. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Daniel Kreiss (2016). Prototype Politics: Technology-Intensive Campaigning and the Data of Democracy. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Victor Pickard (2020). Democracy without Journalism? Confronting the Misinformation Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190946753.001.0001.
  • Joe Trippi (2004). The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything. New York: Regan Books.
  • Presentations

  • Henry Farrell and Bruce Schneier (2018). Common-Knowledge Attacks on Democracy. Boston, MA: The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.
  • Daniel Kreiss and Shannon C. McGregor (2018). “Technology Firms Shape Political Communication: The Work of Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and Google With Campaigns During the 2016 U.S. Presidential Cycle”. In: Political Communication 35.2, pp. 155–177. DOI: 10.1080/10584609.2017.1364814.
  • EU

    Mandatory readings

  • Christopher Kuner (2019). “The Internet and the global reach of EU law”. In: EU Law Beyond EU Borders: The Extraterritorial Reach of EU Law. Ed. by Marise Cremona and Joanne Scott. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 112–145.
  • Background readings

  • Anu Bradford (2020). The Brussels Effect: How the European Union Rules the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Henry Farrell and Abraham L. Newman (2019). Of Privacy and Power: The Transatlantic Struggle over Freedom and Security. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • James Q. Whitman (2004). “The Two Western Cultures of Privacy: Dignity Versus Liberty”. In: The Yale Law Journal 113.6, pp. 1151–1221.
  • Presentations

  • Jean-Marie Chenou and Roxana Radu (2019). “The “Right to Be Forgotten”: Negotiating Public and Private Ordering in the European Union”. In: Business & Society 58.1, pp. 74–102. DOI: 10.1177/0007650317717720.
  • Nikhil Kalyanpur and Abraham L. Newman (2019). “The MNC-Coalition Paradox: Issue Salience, Foreign Firms and the General Data Protection Regulation”. In: JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies 57.3, pp. 448–467. DOI: 10.1111/jcms.12810.
  • China

    Mandatory readings

  • Hong Shen (2016). “China and global internet governance: toward an alternative analytical framework”. In: Chinese Journal of Communication 9.3, pp. 304–324. DOI: 10.1080/17544750.2016.1206028.
  • Background readings

  • Duncan Clark (2016). Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built. New York: Harper Collins.
  • Rebecca A. Fannin (2019). Tech Titans of China: How China’s Tech Sector is Challenging the World by Innovating Faster, Working Harder & Going Global. Boston, MA: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
  • Yu Hong (2017). Networking China: The Digital Transformation of the Chinese Economy. Springfield, IL: University of Illinois Press.
  • Kai-Fu Lee (2018). AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  • Jennifer Pan (2020). Welfare for Autocrats: How Social Assistance in China Cares for its Rulers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Edward Tse (2015). China’s Disruptos: How Alibaba, Xiaomi, Tencent and Other Companies are Changing the Rules of Business. New York: Portfolio/Penguin.
  • Presentations

  • Yu Hong (2017b). “Reading the 13th Five-Year Plan: Reflections on China’s ICT Policy”. In: International Journal of Communication 11, pp. 1755–1774.
  • Jennifer Pan (2017). “How Market Dynamics of Domestic and Foreign Social Media Firms Shape Strategies of Internet Censorship”. In: Problems of Post-Communism 64.3-4, pp. 167–188. DOI: 10.1080/10758216.2016.1181525.
  • Hong Shen (2018). “Building a Digital Silk Road? Situating the Internet in China’s Belt and Road Initiative”. In: International Journal of Communication 12, pp. 2683–2701.
  • Digital geopolitics

    Mandatory readings

  • Paul Smart et al. (2019). Geopolitical Drivers of Personal Data: The Four Horsemen of the Datapocalypse. Southhampton: University of Southampton.
  • Background readings

  • Laura DeNardis (2020). The Internet in Everything: Freedom and Security in a World With No Off Switch. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  • Laura DeNardis, Derrick Cogburn, et al., eds. (2020). Researching Internet Governance: Methods, Frameworks, Futures. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. DOI:10.7551/mitpress/12400.001.0001.
  • Daniel W. Drezner, Henry Farrell, and Abraham L. Newman, eds. (2021). The Uses and Abuses of Weaponized Interdependence. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
  • Nigel Inkster (2020). The Great Decoupling: China, America and the Struggle for Technological Supremacy. London: Hurst & Company.
  • Kieron O’Hara and Wendy Hall (2018). Four Internets: The Geopolitics of Digital Governance. CIGI Papers Series. Waterloo, ON: Centre for International Governance Innovation.
  • Presentations

  • Laura DeNardis, Gordon Goldstein, and Ambassador David A. Gross (2016). The Rising Geopolitics of Internet Governance: Cyber Sovereignty v. Distributed Governance. New York: Columbia School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).
  • Adam Segal (2021). “Huawei, 5G, and Weaponized Interdependence”. In: The Uses and Abuses of Weaponized Interdependence. Ed. by Daniel W. Drezner, Henry Farrell, and Abraham L. Newman. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, pp. 149–168.
  • Syllabus: Governance of Technology

    From summer 2021 onwards, I will start implementing and refining the course program offered by the Chair for the Governance of Complex and Innovative Technological Systems at the Institute for Political Science at the University of Bamberg. These courses are designed to prepare students to analyze and improve the ways in which societies, organizations, and people engage with, try to steer, and adapt to technological change. These courses will address:

  • approaches to the governance of technology;
  • attitudes toward technologies, risk perception, and persuasion.
  • These general topics will be illustrated with courses focusing on specific areas of technological change, namely:

  • digital transformation;
  • artificial intelligence;
  • energy transition and climate change.
  • To help students address these topics systematically, there will also be a set of courses focusing on specific methods and their application to these questions and topics:

  • experimental and survey research;
  • computational social science.
  • This program will unfold over the next few semesters. Naturally, there will be shifts from the original concept once it becomes clear what building blocks are working and which are missing. In this process, the summer semester 2021 will provide an important first step.

    In this semester, I will be teaching for the first time a course on the Governance of Technology. The goal of the course is to provide students a broad overview of questions and cases illustrating the actors, areas, challenges, and opportunities associated with the governance of technology. In designing the course, I largely treated the governance of technology as a specific area in the governance and analysis of other policy areas. The course therefor deviates somewhat from other courses in this area following the sociology of sociotechnical systems (STS) approach. Depending on the lessons learned during this semester, I will use this course as a foundation for an introductory lecture series in the winter term 2021/2. Any feedback is therefor extremely valuable and helpful.

    Course Description

    Societies are shaped by technological change. This presents them with new tasks. Which direct and indirect effects of technological change will occur or are to be expected? How can these be identified at an early stage and, if necessary, controlled? How does the population react to technological change? Who decides on the framework conditions for the development, provision and use of technologies? These are only a few of the questions from the area of technology governance. This seminar gives an overview of the challenges of societal control of technological change, introduces controlling actors and structures and discusses direct intervention options using the example of acceptance and innovation promotion. This is illustrated using different technology areas, such as artificial intelligence, climate change, pandemics and bio-tech.

    [Syllabus, German]

    Session Overview

  • Week 1: What is governance?
  • Week 2: Governance of technology
  • Week 3: States
  • Week 4: Markets
  • Week 5: Networks
  • Week 6: Participation
  • Week 7: Learning
  • Week 8: Discourses
  • Week 9: Acceptance of technology and risk perceptions
  • Week 10: Climate change
  • Week 11: Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Week 12: Discussion of open questions and essays
  • Detailed Session Plan

    What is governance?

    Mandatory readings

  • Mark Bevir (2012). “What is governance?” In: Governance: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 1–15.
  • Mark Bevir (2012). “Organizational Governance”. In: Governance: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 16–36.
  • Background readings

  • Mark Bevir, ed. (2011). The SAGE Handbook of Governance. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
  • Mark Bevir (2012). Governance: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • David Levi-Faur, ed. (2012). The Oxford Handbook of Governance. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199560530.001.0001.
  • Governance of technology

    Mandatory readings

  • W. Brian Arthur (2009). “Combination and Structure”. In: The Nature of Technology: What it is and how it Evolves. New York: Free Press, pp. 27–43.
  • Susanna Borrás (2012). “Three Tensions in the Governance Of Science and Technology”. In: The Oxford Handbook of Governance. Ed. by David Levi-Faur. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 429–440. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199560530.013.0030.
  • Background readings

  • W. Brian Arthur (2009). The Nature of Technology: What it is and how it Evolves. New York: Free Press.
  • Catherine Lyall and Joyce Tait, eds. (2005). New Modes of Governance: Developing an Integrated Policy Approach to Science, Technology, Risk and the Environment.Farnham: Ashgate Publishing. DOI: 10.4324/9781315248042.
  • Eri Bertsou and Daniele Caramani, eds. (2020). The Technocratic Challenge to Democracy. London: Routledge.
  • Eric Schatzberg (2018). Technology: Critical History of a Concept. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Presentations

  • Nihit Goyal, Michael Howlett, and Araz Taeihagh (2021). “Why and how does the regulation of emerging technologies occur? Explaining the adoption of the EU General Data Protection Regulation using the multiple streams framework”. In: Regulation & Governance. DOI: 10.1111/rego.12387.
  • Stephen Turner (2001). “What is the Problem with Experts?” In: Social Studies of Science 31.1, pp. 123–149. DOI: 10.1177/030631201031001007.
  • States

    Mandatory readings

  • Araz Taeihagh, M. Ramesh, and Michael Howlett (2021). “Assessing the regulatory challenges of emerging disruptive technologies”. In: Regulation & Governance. DOI: 10.1111/rego.12392.
  • Susana Borrás and Jakob Edler (2020). “The roles of the state in the governance of socio-technical systems’ transformation”. In: Research Policy 49.5. DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2020.103971.
  • Background readings

  • Roger Brownsword, Eloise Scotford, and Karen Yeung, eds. (2017). The Oxford Handbook of Law, Regulation and Technology. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Henry Farrell and Abraham L. Newman (2019). Of Privacy and Power: The Transatlantic Struggle over Freedom and Security. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Eden Medina (2011). Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende’s Chile. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
  • Benjamin Peters (2016). How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
  • Presentations

  • Alberto Asquer and Inna Krachkovskaya (2020). “Uncertainty, institutions and regulatory responses to emerging technologies: CRISPR Gene editing in the US and the EU (2012–2019)”. In: Regulation & Governance. DOI: 10.1111/rego.12335.
  • Abraham L. Newman and David Bach (2004). “Self-Regulatory Trajectories in the Shadow of Public Power: Resolving Digital Dilemmas in Europe and the United States”. In: Governance 17.3, pp. 387–413. DOI: 10.1111/j.0952-1895.2004.00251.x.
  • Qiang Zhi and Margaret M. Pearson (2017). “China’s Hybrid Adaptive Bureaucracy: The Case of the 863 Program for Science and Technology”. In: Governance 30.3, pp. 407–424. DOI: 10.1111/gove.12245.
  • Markets

    Mandatory readings

  • Steven Bernstein and Benjamin Cashore (2007). “Can non-state global governance be legitimate? An analytical framework”. In: Regulation & Governance 1.4, pp. 347–371. DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-5991.2007.00021.x.
  • Background readings

  • Charles E. Lindblom (2001). The Market System: What It Is, How It Works, and What To Make of It. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  • Steven K. Vogel (2018). Marketcraft: How Governments Make Markets Work. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190699857.001.0001.
  • Presentations

  • Mallory Elise Flowers, Daniel C. Matisoff, and Douglas S. Noonan (2020). “In the LEED: Racing to the Top in Environmental Self-Regulation”. In: Business Strategy and the Environment 29.6, pp. 2842–2856. DOI: 10.1002/bse.2547.
  • Hamish van der Ven (2018). “Gatekeeper power: understanding the influence of lead firms over transnational sustainability standards”. In: Review of International Political Economy 25.5, pp. 624–646. DOI: 10.1080/09692290.2018.1490329.
  • Networks

    Mandatory readings

  • Jacob Torfing (2012). “Governance Networks”. In: The Oxford Handbook of Governance. Ed. by David Levi-Faur. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 99–112. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199560530.013.0007.
  • Background readings

  • David Easley and Jon Kleinberg (2010). Networks, Crowds, and Markets: Reasoning About a Highly Connected World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511761942.
  • Martin Kilduff and Wenpin Tsai (2003). Social Networks and Organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
  • Grahame F. Thompson (2003). Between Hierarchies and Markets: The Logic and Limits of Network Forms of Organization. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198775270.001.0001.
  • Presentations

  • Lasse Folke Henriksen and Stefano Ponte (2018). “Public orchestration, social networks, and transnational environmental governance: Lessons from the aviation industry”. In: Regulation & Governance 12.1, pp. 23–45. DOI: 10.1111/rego.12151.
  • Reut Snir and Gilad Ravid (2016). “Global nanotechnology regulatory governance from a network analysis perspective”. In: Regulation & Governance 10.4, pp. 314–334. DOI: 10.1111/rego.12093.
  • Participation

    Mandatory readings

  • Chris Ansell (2012). “Collaborative Governance”. In: The Oxford Handbook of Governance. Ed. by David Levi-Faur. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 498–511. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199560530.013.0035.
  • Background readings

  • Cristina Lafont (2020). Democracy Without Shortcuts: A Participatory Conception of Deliberative Democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198848189.001.0001.
  • Frank Fischer (2012). “Participatory Governance: From Theory To Practice”. In: The Oxford Handbook of Governance. Ed. by David Levi-Faur. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 457–471. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199560530.013.0032.
  • Yannis Papadopoulos (2012). “The Democratic Quality Of Collaborative Governance”. In: The Oxford Handbook of Governance. Ed. by David Levi-Faur. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 512–526. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199560530.013.0036.
  • Presentations

  • Thomas C. Beierle (2002). “The Quality of Stakeholder-Based Decisions”. In: Risk Analysis 22.4, pp. 739–749. DOI: 10.1111/0272-4332.00065.
  • Mark T. Imperial (2005). “Using Collaboration as a Governance Strategy: Lessons From Six Watershed Management Programs”. In: Administation & Society 37.3, pp. 281–320. DOI: 10.1177/0095399705276111.
  • Learning

    Mandatory readings

  • Fabrizio Gilardi and Claudio M. Radaelli (2012). “Governance and Learning”. In: The Oxford Handbook of Governance. Ed. by David Levi-Faur. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 155–168. URL: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199560530.013.0011.
  • Background readings

  • Nancy Cartwright and Jeremy Hardie (2012). Evidence-Based Policy: A Practical Guide to Doing It Better. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • John Kay and Mervyn King (2020). Radical Uncertainty: Decision-Making Beyond the Numbers. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
  • Hélène Landemore and Jon Elster, eds. (2012). Collective wisdom: principles and mechanisms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Karl E. Weick and Kathleen M. Sutcliffe (2001). Managing the Unexpected: Assuring High Performance in an Age of Complexity. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Presentations

  • Joannette J. Bos and Rebekah R. Brown (2012). “Governance experimentation and factors of success in socio-technical transitions in the urban water sector”. In: Technological Forecasting & Social Change 79.7, pp. 1340–1353. DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2012.04.006.
  • Jens Newig et al. (2016). “Exploring governance learning: How policymakers draw on evidence, experience and intuition in designing participatory flood risk planning”. In: Environmental Science & Policy 55.3, pp. 353–360. DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2015.07.020.
  • Zhilong Tian et al. (2017). “How to get evidence? The role of government–business interaction in evidence-based policy-making for the development of Internet of Things industry in China”. In: Policy Studies 38.1, pp. 1–20. DOI: 10.1080/01442872.2016.1161180.
  • Discourses

    Mandatory readings

  • William A. Gamson and Andre Modigliani (1989). “Media Discourse and Public Opinion on Nuclear Power: A Constructionist Approach”. In: American Journal of Sociology 95.1, pp. 1–37. DOI: 10.1086/229213.
  • Background readings

  • Maarten A. Hajer (1997). The Politics of Environmental Discourse: Ecological Modernization and the Policy Process. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/019829333X.001.0001.
  • Erik Hans Klijn and Iris Korthagen (2018). “Governance and Media Attention: A Research Agenda About How Media Affect (Network) Governance Processes”. In: Perspectives on Public Management and Governance 1.2, pp. 103–113. DOI: 10.1093/ppmgov/gvx004.
  • Sarah B. Pralle (2009). “Agenda-setting and climate change”. In: Environmental Politics 18.5, pp. 781–799. DOI: 10.1080/09644010903157115.
  • Presentations

  • Deborah G. Johnson and Mario Verdicchio (2017). “Reframing AI Discourse”. In: Minds and Machines 27, pp. 575–590. DOI: 10.1007/s11023-017-9417-6.
  • Lukas Hermwille (2016). “The role of narratives in socio-technical transitions—Fukushima and the energy regimes of Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom”. In: Energy Research & Social Science 11, pp. 237–246. DOI: 10.1016/j.erss.2015.11.001.
  • Peter Weingart, Anita Engels, and Petra Pansegrau (2000). “Risks of communication: discourses on climate change in science, politics, and the mass media”. In: Public Understanding of Science 9.3, pp. 261–283. DOI: 10.1088/0963-6625/9/3/304.
  • Acceptance of technology and risk perceptions

    Mandatory readings

  • Stephen Hilgartner, J. Benjamin Hurlbut, and Sheila Jasanoff (2021). “Was “science” on the ballot?” In: Science 371.6532, pp. 893–894. DOI: 10 . 1126/science.abf8762.
  • Joseph Rand and Ben Hoen (2017). “Thirty years of North American wind energy acceptance research: What have we learned?” In: Energy Research & Social Science 29, pp. 135–148. DOI: 10.1016/j.erss.2017.05.019.
  • Background readings

  • Icek Ajzen (2005). Attitudes, Personality, and Behavior. 2nd ed. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
  • Jed J. Cohen, Johannes Reichl, and Michael Schmidthaler (2014). “Re-focussing research efforts on the public acceptance of energy infrastructure: A critical review”. In: Energy 76.1, pp. 4–9. DOI: 10.1016/j.energy.2013.12.056.
  • Dan M. Kahan (2017). ““Ordinary science intelligence”: a sciencecomprehension measure for study of risk and science communication, with notes on evolution and climate change”. In: Journal of Risk Research 20.8, pp. 995–1016. DOI: 10.1080/13669877.2016.1148067.
  • Sydney E. Scott et al. (2018). “An Overview of Attitudes Toward Genetically Engineered Food”. In: Annual Review of Nutrition 38, pp. 459–479. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-nutr-071715-051223.
  • Presentations

  • Caitlin Drummond and Baruch Fischhoff (2017). “Individuals with greater science literacy and education have more polarized beliefs on controversial science topics”. In: PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114.36, pp. 9587–9592. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1704882114.
  • Dan M. Kahan, Ellen Peters, et al. (2012). “The polarizing impact of science literacy and numeracy on perceived climate change risks”. In: Nature Climate Change 2, pp. 732–735. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1547.
  • Benjamin J. A. Walker, Bouke Wiersma, and Etienne Bailey (2014). “Community benefits, framing and the social acceptance of offshore wind farms: An experimental study in England”. In: Energy Research & Social Science 3, pp. 46–54. DOI: 10.1016/j.erss.2014.07.003.
  • Climate change

    Mandatory readings

  • Thomas Bernauer and Lena Maria Schaffer (2012). “Climate Change Governance”. In: The Oxford Handbook of Governance. Ed. by David Levi-Faur. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 441–454. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199560530.013.0031.
  • Background readings

  • Matthew Cashmore et al. (2019). “International experiences with opposition to wind energy siting decisions: lessons for environmental and social appraisal”. In: Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 62.7, pp. 1109–1132. DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2018.1473150.
  • Bill Gates (2021). How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need. New York: Knopf.
  • Chris Goodall (2020). What we need to do now: For a zero carbon future. London: Profile Books.
  • Thomas Hale (2020). “Transnational Actors and Transnational Governance in Global Environmental Politics”. In: Annual Review of Political Science 23, pp. 203–220. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-polisci-050718-032644.
  • Mike Hulme (2009). Why We Disagree About Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Yifei Li and Judith Shapiro (2020). China Goes Green. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Presentations

  • Jeremy Firestone et al. (2018). “Reconsidering barriers to wind power projects: community engagement, developer transparency and place”. In: Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning 20.3, pp. 370–386. DOI: 10.1080/1523908X.2017.1418656.
  • Stephen Hale (2010). “The new politics of climate change: why we are failing and how we will succeed”. In: Environmental Politics 19.2, pp. 255–275. DOI: 10.1080/09644010903576900.
  • Marie Byskov Lindberg, Jochen Markard, and Allan Dahl Andersena (2019). “Policies, actors and sustainability transition pathways: A study of the EU’s energy policy mix”. In: Research Policy 48.10, p. 103668. DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2018.09.003.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)

    Mandatory readings

  • Miriam C. Buiten (2019). “Towards Intelligent Regulation of Artificial Intelligence”. In: European Journal of Risk Regulation 10.1, pp. 41–59. DOI: 10.1017/err.2019.8.
  • Background readings

  • Brian Christian (2020). The Alignment Problem: Machine Learning and Human Values. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
  • Kai-Fu Lee (2018). AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  • Melanie Mitchell (2019). Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans. New York: Farrat, Straus and Giroux.
  • Frank Pasquale (2020). New Laws of Robotics: Defending Human Expertise in the Age of AI. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Presentations

  • Araz Taeihagh and Hazel Si Min Lim (2019). “Governing autonomous vehicles: emerging responses for safety, liability, privacy, cybersecurity, and industry risks”. In: Transport Reviews 39.1, pp. 103–128. DOI: 10.1080/01441647.2018.1494640.
  • Baobao Zhang and Allan Dafoe (2020). “U.S. Public Opinion on the Governance of Artificial Intelligence”. In: AIES ’20: Proceedings of the AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society. Ed. by Annette Markham et al. New York: ACM, pp. 187–193. DOI: 10.1145/3375627.3375827.
  • New publication: Populist Supporters on Reddit – A Comparison of Content and Behavioral Patterns Within Publics of Supporters of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

    New article out in Social Science Computer Review: Populist Supporters on Reddit: A Comparison of Content and Behavioral Patterns Within Publics of Supporters of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Jisun An, Oliver Posegga, and I compare contributions to subreddits supporting Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the 2016 US election campaign:

    Abstract: The international rise of populism has been attributed, in part, to digital media. These media allow the backers of populists to share and distribute information independent of traditional media organizations or elites and offer communication spaces in which they can support each other and strengthen communal ties irrespective of their societal standing. Can we identify these functions in distinct usage patterns of digital media by supporters of populists? This could find expression through posting content that comports with the central tenets of populist ideology, higher activity levels, use of distinct vocabularies, and heightened levels of community building. We investigate differences along these dimensions on the online forum Reddit by comparing linguistic patterns and content of comments in two subreddits focusing on a populist, Donald Trump (/r/The_Donald), and a center-left politician, Hillary Clinton (/r/hillaryclinton), during the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign. Contributors to /r/The_Donald expressed more strongly parts of the populist ideological package, specifically anti-elitism and exclusionism, but failed to express people-centrism; used the platform more intensively; used vocabularies different than those used in other partisan publics; and engaged more strongly in community building.

    Andreas Jungherr, Oliver Posegga, and Jisun An. 2021. Populist Supporters on Reddit: A Comparison of Content and Behavioral Patterns Within Publics of Supporters of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Social Science Computer Review. doi:10.1177/0894439321996130. (Online First).

    New Publication: A Source Like Any Other? Field and Survey Experiment Evidence on How Interest Groups Shape Public Opinion

    New article out in Journal of Communication with Alexander Wuttke, Matthias Mader, and Harald Schoen: “A Source Like Any Other? Field and Survey Experiment Evidence on How Interest Groups Shape Public Opinion“.

    Interest groups increasingly communicate with the public. But we know little about how effective they are in shaping opinions.

    We know a lot about persuasion by political parties or high-profile candidates. But interest groups are different from these actors as they are typically much less well known. Now, how does this impact their role as communicators with the public?

    When we examine persuasion, we expect that people have ways to assess the source of information (such as a parties or interest groups) and that they use this assessment in engaging with or processing messages.

    As a consequence, political communication generally expects low persuasive effects of messages as people 1) mainly engage with messages by sources they support and 2) discard messages received by sources they are critical of.

    But given the low public profile of interest groups, can we expect the same dynamics to hold for their persuasive appeals? We argue no and test this reasoning in two experiments.

    First, we tested whether a message by a German business group with a low public profile increased support for an advocated economic policy. We tested this in a parallel survey and field experiment with three survey waves (N = 4,659). The message increased the salience of the policy, persuaded recipients of the advocated position, and increased accessible supporting considerations. Effects were modest in size and decayed over a week. Attitudes toward the interest group did not moderate the persuasive effect.

    Then, we examined whether people were able to assess the credibility of ten environmental groups and six political parties in Germany (N = 700). More respondents were unable to express credibility assessments for the interest groups than for the political parties.

    Finally, in a high-powered, preregistered survey experiment (N = 8,245) we tested directly whether credibility assessments affected the persuasive appeal by interest groups to the same degree as that by parties. In this final experiment, we focused on environmental groups and a message in support of energy efficient housing. Source credibility did not moderate the persuasive effect of a message attributed to a low-profile environmental group. But credibility assessments did moderate persuasive effects of the same message when we attributed it to a party. As expected, people who considered the party as a credible source on environmental issues changed their attitudes in line with the party’s message, but those who found the party not credible moved away from the advocated position.

    These findings have important implications for the impact of interest group communication. As most people have no or inconsequential prior attitudes toward these low-profile sources, interest groups may neither hope for a boost in nor need fear a penalty against persuasiveness.

    In this respect, their interventions appear to differ from those of actors with higher public profiles, such as parties and government representatives. The absence of credibility moderation does not imply, of course, that interest groups are generally more effective communicators.

    However, whereas the persuasiveness of party communication is confined to segments of the population that are open to messages from these parties and may even have detrimental effects on others, many interest groups have the potential to address the entire public successfully.

    Low-profile information sources of many different sorts are a consistent feature of contemporary communication environments, such as the wide variety of “alternative” sources challenging scientific and governmental bodies with respect to Covid-19. If messages by these sources follow the same patterns, high-profile sources such as governmental organizations face a considerable challenge in reaching doubters while low-profile sources such as alternative information providers can count on broad reach across populations.

    As new groups engage in communication campaigns to shape public opinion, understanding their role as public communicators becomes important. This means accounting for their specific characteristics to understand their persuasive appeal and influence in public opinion formation.

    So, if this is of interest to you have a look at the abstract or check out the article.

    Abstract: 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.

    Andreas Jungherr, Alexander Wuttke, Matthias Mader, and Harald Schoen. 2021. A source like any other? Field and survey experiment evidence on how interest groups shape public opinion. Journal of Communication 71(2): 276-304. doi:10.1093/joc/jqab005