Maria Schreiber

Maria Schreiber

Participant in 2014
Work history August 2013-April 2017
Prae-Doc, DOC-team scholarship (funded by the Austrian Academy of Science). Department of Communications, University of Vienna.
Study history Graduation from the University of Vienna, Department of Communications, in 2007. My diploma thesis "Female sexuality and media" focused on generation-specific media practices regarding sexuality.

After gaining professional experience and while starting to work in academic contexts (research & teaching), I started with my PhD in 2011 and received a DOC-team scholarship in 2013. I am now employed at the Department of Communications, University of Vienna, as Prae-Doc for three years. My dissertation is embedded in an interdisciplinary project I developed together with two colleagues, which is funded by the Austrian Academy of Science within a program called "DOC-team". More Information on our project:

2014 Research Fellow at University of Potsdam, "Graduate School Visibility and Visualization".
2015 Research Fellow at RMIT University Melbourne, "Digital Ethnography Research Center"
Publications Gem. mit Kramer, M. (2016): „Verdammt schön“. Methodologisch-methodische Herausforderungen der Rekonstruktion von Bildpraktiken auf Instagram. In: Zeitschrift für Qualitative Forschung. Sonderheft „Angewandte Visuelle Soziologie“ 2016/1. Gemeinsam mit Michaela Hauenschild. (i.E.)

(2016): Amplification and Heterogeneity: Seniors and Digital Photographic Practices. In: Lehmuskallio, Asko / Gómez-Cruz, Edgar (Hg.): Digital Photography and Everyday Lives. ECREA Book Series, Routledge. (i.E.)

(2015): „The smartphone is my constant companion“: Digital photographic practices and the elderly. In: Leif Kramp, Nico Carpentier, Andreas Hepp, Ilija Tomanić Trivundža, Hannu Nieminen, Risto Kunelius, Tobias Olsson, Ebba Sundin and Richard Kilborn (Ed.): Journalism, representation and the public sphere. The Researching and Teaching Communication Series.

(2015): Freundschaftsbilder – Bilder von Freundschaft. Zur körperlich-ikonischen Konstitution von dyadischen Beziehungen in Fotografien. In: Bohnsack, Ralf/Michel, Burkard/Przyborski, Aglaja (Hrsg.): Dokumentarische Bildinterpretation. Methodologie und Forschungspraxis, Band 4 der Reihe Sozialwissenschaftliche Ikonologie. Budrich. i.E.

Phd Projects


Showing/Sharing. Age-specific Photographic Practices in a Digital Age.

Current research regarding personal digital photography addresses the complex entanglement of media technologies, practices and sociality. The smartphone as networked multimedia device that is always at hand is at the heart of current changes not only in personal photography, but in the mediatization of our everyday lives.
The project aims to investigate how personal photos show something and are themselves shown and shared through the smartphone by teenagers and seniors.
Showing and sharing photos has always had and still has various social functions like bonding and communication, demonstration of identity and belonging, preservation and retention of memories. However, the ways how these functions are practiced have changed and changes are related to technological innovations and convergence. Digital photography affords new possibilities, but how those affordances are used and how different ways of engaging with the same affordances are evolving, remains to be empirically investigated.
One factor of variation are different generation- and age-specific technological experiences that seem to constitute different ways of engaging with media. While considerable research has been done on younger people and their digital photographic practices, the so-called ‚digital immigrants’, have not received as much attention and the notion of ‚natives’ vs. ‚immigrants’ remains questionable.
Consequently, the aim of the project is to examine contrasting age groups and their highly habitualized doings, sayings and showings that constitute diverging practices of showing and sharing photos through the smartphone: How do teenagers and seniors integrate these practices in their everyday lives, how is showing and sharin photos meaningful in which contexts? (How) Are social meanings comprised in the photos themselves? Which (age-specific?) aesthetics and visual conventions become visible?
Methodically, the project is based on a triangulation of media ethnography, interviews and picture interpretation. Data collection and analysis are conducted within the framework of reconstructive qualitative research and the interpretive paradigm. In-depth case studies of (groups of) smartphone users of different age (teenagers: 12-19 yrs./ senior citizens: older than 60) are included in the research.
Theoretical concepts of media dispositifs (Hickethier, Lepa), generation-specific media cultures (Schäffer) and double/triple articulation (Silverstone, Hartmann) have proven to be helpful in the analysis of photographic practices; Preliminary findings suggest that socio-technological configurations of hardware (smartphone) and software (e.g. Instagram, Whatsapp) contain various affordances that are employed for diverging needs: individual identity work and phatic communication in the peer-group (teenagers) and documenting and sharing routine family life (seniors).


Dissertation title (2017): Digitale Bildpraktiken. Handlungsdimensionen visueller vernetzter Kommunikation. Unveröffentlichte Dissertation, Universität Wien.

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