Sustainability and political Online-Communication
Communication about ‘sustainability’ is not just to impart values or a finished overall concept. It should help to develop the perception of problems and strategies of action. Therefore one aim of sustainability communication is to involve as much people as possible into the discussion (‘aim of popularization’). There is also the aim of enabling people to reflect and to act within their daily life (the ‘aim of education and clarification’) (Ziemann, 2008). Because environmental risks are rarely experienced exclusively in a daily life perspective, mediated communication is necessary (Luhmann, 1998; Fuhrer and Kaiser, 2006). At the same time, empirical findings show that, instead of a linear coherence between media coverage about environmental protection and eco-sensitive behaviour, there is an increased ‘pro-environmental protection’ attitude (Kuckhartz and Heintze, 2006). The aim of this PhD project is to develop two communication concepts for online-communication, especially for video blogs/community blogs (e.g. www.green.tv). In order to reach the communicative aim of ‘education and clarification’ I expect drama theories to be helpful. These theories should support the development of competences to reflect the idea of sustainability and enhance interactions, impacting on their everyday life, especially with regards to micro participation (Schultz, 2007). These communication concepts should include how to sample, to design and to combine text, picture and video. Furthermore, also interactive web applications and hypertextual elements should be included. The point of departure will be a definition of different levels of interactivity, combined with different levels of micro participation (Van Dijk and de Vos, 2001; Hacker and van Dijk, 2000; Raffaeli, 1997; Carpentier, 2008). One concept will be based on the classical drama theory of Aristotle, the other one is the epic theatre theory of Brecht. Both theories have assumptions on how to effect audiences' reflection processes. The drama theory of Aristotle uses an emotional, realistic presentation style, which should lead to identification with a ‘hero’ and to a moral catharsis through a suspense curve. Brecht tried to affect a similar reflection process by using completely different elements of depiction. He used stylistic devices like disaffection and open narrative forms to provoke a distanced, analytic view with the audience. Both communication concepts will be implemented, staged and published as video blogs / community blogs. After having launched the weblogs a reception analysis focussing on the reflection processes and the daily life behaviour of the users will be conducted.