Transcultural Media Repertoires and Community Perceptions in Europe
The project focuses on the question of how media use and community perceptions are interrelated in changing cultural and media environments. Current developments in two fields of communication research shall be addressed and connected. First, is the field of transnational and transcultural communication. Globalisation, Europeanisation, migration trends, mobility and communicative connectivity lead to the increasing transnational and transcultural character of media production, content and use. Traditional concepts of national media audiences and imagined communities have to give way to more complex approaches that enclose phenomena such as de-territorialisation. Questions of identity and belonging become more important to an increasing number of people, especially when using the media. Secondly, current developments in the field of audience and reception studies also lead to a reconsideration of traditional constructions of media audiences. On the one hand interpersonal and network media link communities by a ‘real’, or at least closer, connectivity. These concepts step alongside the imagined communities and dispersed audiences created by mass media. On the other hand new forms of media blur the boundaries between producers and audiences. Both developments defer to the often neglected reciprocity of media use and the formation and articulation of identity and belonging. My core questions are: What role does belonging play in the process of media choice, and vice versa? What effect does media use have on the perception of audiences or communities? Applying the concept of media repertoires (stable transmedial patterns of media use) I ask how mass, network, and interpersonal media, forms of consumption and ‘produsage’, feelings of belonging to imagined audiences and mediated networks, references to place and space are combined by media users. Hence, the approach starts on the micro level of the individual media user and from there searches for linkages to the macro level. An empirical study shall compare different groups of media users varying in age, the existence of a migration background and their country of residence (Germany and the UK). Regarding the already conducted research in the above mentioned fields these characteristics seem to be crucial for questions of identity and belonging as well as the assembly of an individual media repertoire. The latter shall be surveyed by a combination of media diaries and media biographical interviews including visual methods. This work aims to reduce the deficit in systematic empirical research on the interrelation of cross-border and cross-culture media use and community perceptions.