My essay on participative propaganda Medien und Partizipation. Zwischen Distributionsapparat und partizipativer Propaganda is now available at the online journal Kommunikation@Gesellschaft. It is part of a special edition on participation, edited by Marion Näser-Lather and Barbara Frischling, and it is hosted by the Social Science Open Access Repository. It is in German, here is an English abstract.

This article examines the concept of participation in the media context by bringing it into dialogue with its shadow concept of “propaganda.” It argues that propaganda forms the antithesis to a democratic political understanding of participation. Its starting point is the apparent absence of participation in the context of classical mass communication theory, which, however, had to move away from its original culture-pessimistic understanding of the mass in order to create space for a more active and complex public concept. At the same time, a series of theories has emerged which sees participation as a property of the media apparatus, i.e. of the technical medium itself, and the social structure of its production. Both theoretical strands converge in the context of the digitally networked media, where propaganda and participation enter into a new relationship with each other and the users, in which the separation of the two terms loses its naturalness. Cases of participatory propaganda are “trending” and “popularity” as bandwagons on social media.

“Beyond Germany: German Media theory in a Global Context” is the title of the preconference I am preparing together with Andreas Ströhl (Goethe Institut, Washington DC) and Bernhard Debatin (Ohio University). This event is part of the programming of the 2019 ICA annual conference in Washington. Hosted by the Goethe Institut, it will focus on readings, critiques, and applications of German-language media theories beyond the boundaries of German-speaking Europe. Submissions (1000-word extended abstracts) are accepted until 31 January, 2019. Participation is free, please register via the ICA conference site. Check the call for papers here: CFP_preconference_ICA2019

Inmitten des Lärms um Sharing Economy und Social Media ist selten die Frage zu vernehmen, welche Bewandtnis es mit dem Teilen selbst eigentlich hat. Was sagen wir, wenn wir sagen, wir „teilen“? Dass das Teilen selbst vertrauter und alltäglich Vorgang ist und nicht als etwas Besonderes wahrgenommen wird schafft leicht das Gefühl, hier gäbe es nichts zu wissen.

Erschienen in Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, Johannes Ebert, Andreas Ströhl, Nokalai Blaumer (Hg.), Teilen und Tauschen. (Frankfurt: Fischer Verlag).

In La società trasparente (1989), Vattimo places the “relative chaos” of the mass media at the heart of his understanding of postmodernity as an epoch of the weakening of being. The consequent decline of strong foundations for political author- ity was part of Vattimo’s emancipatory reading of the media. In the second edition of the book (2000) he claims that such postmodern emancipation is limited by a lack of conflictuality in the aesthetic ideals promoted by the free market. In this article, I ask how Vattimo’s media philosophy anticipates elements of his more recent political philosophy. Reading Vattimo against Heidegger and Byung-Chul Han, I conclude that his insistence on the nihilistic origins of hermeneutics may offer a way of criticizing the lacking conflictuality in current digital media in a fashion that does not desire a return to ultimate truth claims.

Published in Philosophy Today, Volume 60, Issue 3, Summer 2016

wordcloud(2)The latest issue of Media and Communication on peacebuilding in the age of new media is out. Edited by Vladimir Bratić, the issue explores the innovative use of new media technologies in peacebuilding both from a theoretical and applied angle. In my own contribution, Elicitive Conflict Transformation and New Media: In Search for a Common Ground  I examine elicitive conflict transformation, a communication-based model of conflict management advocated by writers such as John Paul Lederach and Wolfgang Dietrich, and its relationship to communication media from a media-theoretical perspective. You can access this edition of Media and Communication here. 

An interview conducted by German artist and cyberfeminist Cornila Sollfrank during the transmediale workshop at Liverpool John Moores University has appeared in the APRJA issue Excessive Research. We talk about the notion of excess, its significance in the work of Bataille, and its role in conceptualizing sharing.

09_ALB_Tisch-2015_900x600Aarhus University’s Digital Aesthetics Research Center has published the latest issue of APRJA, which contains my article “Being with one another: towards a media phenomenology of sharing.” In the article, I examine sharing as a everyday and mediated phenomenon and ask what kind of understanding underlies sharing as practiced on social media. APRJA issue 5.1 Excessive Research was presented by Geoff cox and Christian Ulrik Anderson at the 2016 Transmediale (Berlin, German). Image above by Tessa Zettel.

“The rise of ‘sharing in communication and media studies,” by Nicholas A. John (Hebrew University, Israel) and myself is available online now at the digital version of Information, Communication, and Society. Full Special Issue on Sharing will follow early 2016.




The Goethe Institute’s Kultursymposium Weimar will be a major event of which I expect a shift in our research about sharing. Thanks to Andreas Ströhl and his fellow workers for preparing this exciting event, and for inviting me to speak.

Sharing and exchange are basic human cultural practices. They play as big a role in poor countries as in affluent societies. But when do I share – and with whom? What social and cultural developments emerge from the various forms and manifestations of sharing and exchange? What is the meaning of trust in times of couch surfing and car sharing?

The research/Ph.D. workshop EXCESSIVE RESEARCH relates to the announcement of transmediale 2016 “Conversation Piece” which examines some of the compulsive activities of contemporary digital culture in which we are encouraged to stay active, to make, to share and to secure. A culture of sharing, for instance, is evidently one of the most noticeable compulsory effects of a networked society and how value is created.

A talk at the Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark, on 5 March 2015. Co-organized with the Aesthetic Seminar at the Department of Aesthetics and Communication, Aarhus University. An essay on sharing is contained in the exhibition catalog accompanying Kunsthal’s exhibition Extreme Sharing, by the Danish collective N55. You can watch a documentation of the talk on vimeo.

Photo: Kunsthal Aarhus/N55

WOUB Interview




Follow this link to a conversation with Dawn Jewell, on media, activism, and protest movements. Broadcast on WOUB on 20 December 2014.


elseTransart has published a great first issue of ELSE, Journal International Art, Literature, Theory and Creative Media. You can access the journal by clicking on the image.  An article of mine on the Anti-Economy of Sharing is on pp. 120-140, paired with photographs by Julia Forrest. Cover photograph by Christopher Danowski and Laura González.

Universitat Jaume I at Castellón, Spain, is hosting a major international conference on Communication, Civil Society, and Social Change to be held on 20-22 May 2015. As a member of the scientific committee, I am pleased to take part in preparing this enterprise. Please visit the conference website for more information. Submissions should be uploaded via easychair by 12 October 2014.