All posts by Raetzsch

The November Playlist

The monthly update on smash hits and rare tunes in media and communication studies. A personal collection.

Of Note

Academia’s Magic and Dread Nature has a special issue on Young Scientists and Career Prospects (h/t


The Who’s Who in Journalism Studies Today – Thinking: Chris Peters,  Marcel Broersma (eds.). Rethinking Journalism Again: Societal role and public relevance in a digital age. Abingdon: Routledge.

Rewiring the Digital Mind: Douglas Coupland (2016). Bit Rot. London: William Heinemann (h/t M.Lange). In parallel and extension of the exhibition at Witte de Witt in Rotterdam until 3 January.

The Making of Collective Memory in/thru the Media: Sonnevend, Julia (2016). Stories Without Borders: The Berlin Wall and the Making of a Global Iconic Event. New York: Oxford University Press.

Embedding the Mobile Me: Adriana de Souza e Silva (ed.) (2016). Dialogues on Mobile Communication. Abingdon: Routledge.

In production – high expectations: Mirko Schäfer & Karin van Es (eds.). Datafied Society – Studying Culture Through Data. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Linked: Starosielski, Nicole (2015). The Undersea Network. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Processing Links of Networks: Parks, Lisa; Starosielski, Nicole (eds.) (2015). Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructures. Chicago IL.: University of Illinois Press.

The Idioms and Pathologies of Networks: Bollmer, Grant (2016). Inhuman Networks: Social Media and the Archaeology of Connection. New York: Bloomsbury.


“[T]he ‘collective’ is experienced through the ‘individual’ and the group is the means of collective action”: Milan, Stefania (2015). “From Social Movements to Cloud Protesting: The Evolution of Collective Identity.” Information, Communication & Society 18(8): 887-900.

Personal Politics: Thomas Poell & José van Dijck (2016). Constructing Public Space: Global Perspectives on Social Media and Popular Contestation. International Journal of Communication, 10, 226-234.


It’s ECREA again. In Prague. 9-12 November. Make sure to connect to the Digital Culture and Communication Section.

In December:Infrastructures of Publics – Publics of Infrastructures” University of Siegen. Hosted by SFB 1187 Media of Cooperation

Loud and Live: Autechre Live Europe–Onesix in Berlin 19 Nov @Kraftwerk [and sold out]. At home/In the Studio: Reissue of Autechre Classics Amber, Incunabula & Tri Repetae. Start of sale for repress vinyl bundle November 11.

Why does everyone think that sampling started modern electronic music? It started with sequencing analog synths.  Benge explains creating a sequence on a modular syntheziser.

Want to stay tuned for the next playlist? Follow me on Twitter. Want to add tunes? Comment.

Disclaimer: The research, literature or events listed here are recommended based on my own interests, and are not sponsored. Pictures are my own. Trees too.

The October Playlist

The monthly update on smash hits and rare tunes in media and communication studies. A personal collection.


Gearing up for the AoIR in Berlin next week, SAGE offers a special selection of articles from Big Data & Society, Social Media + Society, Global Media and China, and Digital Health for your free perusal.

Some highly accessible highlights:
Hands on Data: Kennedy, Helen; Poell, Thomas; van Dijck, José (2015). “Data and Agency.” Big Data & Society 2(2): 1-7.

New Media+New Movements=New Research? Neumayer, Christina; Rossi, Luca (2016). “15 Years of Protest and Media Technologies Scholarship: A Sociotechnical Timeline.” Social Media + Society 2(3): 1-13.

[Of Note: Kaun, Anne; Kyriakidou, Maria; Uldam, Julie (2016). “Political Agency at the Digital Crossroads.” Media and Communication 4(4): 1-7.]

Positions on Social Media: Manifesto Virtual Special issue,  edited  by Zizi Papacharissi.

Publics and Mobilities – Mimi Sheller special

Sheller, Mimi; Urry, John (2003). “Mobile Transformations of `public’ and `private’ Life.” Theory, Culture & Society 20(3): 107-125.

Sheller, Mimi (2004). “Mobile Publics: Beyond the Network Perspective.” Environmental Studies 22(1): 39-52.

Sheller, Mimi; Urry, John (2006). “The New Mobilities Paradigm.” Environment and Planning 38: 207-226.

Sheller, Mimi (2015). “News Now: Interface, Ambience, Flow, and the Disruptive Spatio-Temporalities of Mobile News Media.” Journalism Studies 16(1): 12-26.


A scholar’s legacy: Kevin Barnhurst (2016). Mr Pulitzer and the Spider. Modern News from Realism to the Digital.

Want to stay tuned for the next playlist? Follow me on Twitter. Want to add tunes? Comment.

Disclaimer: The research, literature or events listed here are recommended based on my own interests, and are not sponsored. Pictures are my own. Trees too.

The September Playlist

The monthly update on smash hits and rare tunes in media and communication studies. A personal collection.


The mobile bone: Zhang, Yanqing; Juhlin, Oskar (2016). “The “Life and Death” of Great Finnish Fashion Phones: A Periodization of Changing Styles in Nokia Phone Design between 1992 and 2013.” Mobile Media & Communication 4(3): 385-404.

Give and take: Holton, Avery E.; Coddington, Mark; Lewis, Seth C.; Zuniga, Homero Gil de (2015). “Reciprocity and the News: The Role of Personal and Social Media Reciprocity in News Creation and Consumption.” International Journal of Communication 9: 2526-2547.

High Expectations: Borger, Merel; van Hoof, Anita; Sanders, José (2016). “Expecting Reciprocity: Towards a Model of the Participants Perspective on Participatory Journalism.” New Media & Society 18(5): 708-725.

The 4A Matrix of Media Change: Westlund, Oscar; Lewis, Seth C. (2014). “Agents of Media Innovations: Actors, Actants, and Audiences.” The Journal of Media Innovations 1(2): 10-35. To be reissued in Steensen, S., Ahva, L. (eds.) (2017). “Theories of Journalism in a Digital Age“. Abingdon: Routledge.


Forget about contingency: Harman, Graham (2016). Immaterialism: Objects and Social Theory. Basingstoke: Polity Press.

Mixed Feelings: Broadbent, Stefana (2016). Intimacy at Work: How Digital Media Bring Private Life to the Workplace. Walnut Creek, CA.: Left Coast Press.

Back in Paperback: Hermida, Alfred (2014). Tell Everyone: Why We Share and Why it Matters. Toronto: Doubleday Canada.

The Spectre Haunting Modern Media: Natale, Simone (2016). Supernatural Entertainments: Victorian Spiritualism and the Rise of Modern Media Culture. University Park, PA.: The Pennsylvania State University Press.


Dataism vs. Humanism: Yuval Noah Harari on big data, Google and the end of free will. Financial Times, 26 August 2016

Symphonic Blast: Christian Fennesz to play in Japan, two dates with Kyoto Symphonic Orchestra at Miyako Messe

Use Cases for Web Archives: Submissions of abstracts opens for RESAW – Research Infrastructure for the Study of Archived Web Materials – to be held in London 14–15 June 2017. See page or call for papers.

Notes and Quotes

Unruly rules: Gearing up for the annual conference of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) in Berlin. 5-8 October. What a line-up.

The public sphere as space of signs?
“The public sphere is thus a generic term denoting all virtual or real spaces, the contents of which obtain general visibility or audibility. These spaces are public spaces—space meaning any container of signs that can be sensorily accessed with or without mediation.”

Adut, Ari. 2012. “A Theory of the Public Sphere.” Sociological Theory 30(4): 238-262. (see p.243)

Want to stay tuned for the next playlist? Follow me on Twitter. Want to add tunes? Comment.

Disclaimer: The research, literature or events listed here are recommended based on my own interests, and are not sponsored. Pictures are my own. Trees too.



Is Data the New Coal? – Four Issues with Christian Fuchs on Social Media

Following up on my initial review of Christian Fuchs’ Social Media – A Critical Introduction (Sage 2014) in German, I have expanded the main arguments and published a review essay this summer. Coming to terms with an author as prolific as Fuchs is not easy, especially as he seems to be publishing more and more books and articles by the minute. But reading through some of his most recent publications, I couldn’t help but see the same argumentative patterns emerge, and the same examples being mustered in support of his theses on exploitation and the political economy of social media. With some due reflection and sympathy for a critique of social media, I have tried to review the book on its own terms and delineate four main issues that seem important for the current scholarly and public debate about the connections of social media, publics and users.

Here are the main points:

  • Is Social Media an introduction, a theory, or a critique of social media? The book outlines basic elements of Fuchs’ Marxist framework. But the abridged, didactic format of an introduction leads to a very troubling and peculiar form of ‘theoretical sampling’, which fails to elucidate the relevance of Karl Marx’s work in relation to social media. One consequence is that the role and status of data in the analysis remains unclear and one-dimensional.
  • What kind of social media does Fuchs have in mind? There is an ambiguous tension in his argument that social media are primarily defined as “applications” by large global players, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter or Weibo, while he acknowledges that Wikipedia, Wikileaks or similar open-source platforms are embodying positive and beneficial social principles of collaboration and cooperation. The unresolved opposition of social media® as trademarked applications and social media as technologies of collaboration remains a blind spot in Fuchs’ argument.
  • What is the status of free labour and exploitation in Fuchs’s view of social media? A cornerstone of his theorising of social media is that social media usage is exploitative just as mining for rare sands in Sub-Saharan Africa or working in Foxconn’s electronics sweatshops is. But his argument on the creation of the ‘audience commodity’ through data is far from convincing and needs to be discussed in context.
  • What kind of concept does Fuchs have of users? He typically emphasises the structurally exploitative nature of social media platforms because the sheer volume of user activity is an infinite source of surplus value on the side of owners and shareholders. By associating power primarily with questions of ownership, Fuchs deliberately avoids considering the dimensions of user agency, not to say of individual creativity or rational judgement in theorising social media.

The article was published in Networking Knowlegde, the open access journal of the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association. Cite as: Christoph  Raetzsch (2016). “Is Data the New Coal? – Four Issues with Christian Fuchs on Social Media.” Networking Knowledge. Journal for the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network. 9(5).

Creating Publics: Journalism in Comparative Perspective

This summer term, I am teaching a seminar on Creating Publics: Journalism in Comparative Perspective. The basic aim is to critically evaluate the historical, technological and cultural connections between  journalism and concepts of publics. Instead of perpetuating the close alignment of journalism, publics and democracy, the focus in this seminar will be on a contextualized reflection of concepts of publics, the role and practices of journalists, their audiences and media of communication. We are interested in the changing conditions that continuously uphold journalism as a social structure of public communication. Follow the course via #createpublics or check the assigned texts. And yes, structural transformations of the public sphere will be addressed. In English.

Block 1:     Critical Concepts, Histories and Theories of Publics

27 April    Prehistory of the Bourgeois Public Sphere
4 May    The Ideal of the Public Sphere and Public Opinion
11 May    Critique of the Public Sphere, Mass Media and Pluralization
18 May    The Reading Audience of News
  • Leonard, Thomas C. (1995). News for All: Americaʼs Coming-of-Age with the Press. Oxford University Press. Part One The Creation of an Audience. p. 3-46
25 May    The Networked Public
1 June    The End of Journalistic Hegemony?

8 June    no session

Block 2: Publics and their Media

15 June    News and the Newspaper
22 June    Satellite Publics
  • Carey, James W. (1980). “Changing Communications Technology and the Nature of the Audience.” Journal of Advertising 9(2): 3-9, 43.
  • Arceneaux, Noah (2013). “News on the Air: The New York Herald, Newspapers, and Wireless Telegraphy, 1899–1917.” American Journalism 30(2): 160-181.
29 June    Journalism and the Network
  • Dahlgren, Peter (1996). “Media Logic in Cyberspace: Repositioning Journalism and Its Publics.” Javnost – The Public 3(3): 59-72.
  • boyd, danah. (2011). “Social Network Sites as Networked Publics: Affordances, Dynamics, and Implications.” A Networked Self: Identity, Community and Culture on Social Network Sites, edited by Zizi Papacharissi, 39-58. New York: Routledge

Block 3: Publics in Transnational Perspective

6 July    Transnational Publics and the Arab Spring

… guest and text announcement follows

13 July        subject to be determined


Journalismus und Digitalisierung

Ich unterrichte im Wintersemester ein Einführungsseminar zu “Journalismus und Digitalisierung” am Institut für Publizistik und Kommunikationswissenschaft der FU Berlin.

Nachdem nun lange genug von einer Krise die Rede war, zeigen neueste Entwicklungen die Innovationsfähigkeit und nach wie vor hohe Relevanz des Journalismus: twitternde Chefredakteure, data-driven journalism oder hyperlokale journalistische Produkte um nur einige zu nennen. Dieses Seminar gibt einen Überblick zu den neuesten Entwicklungen im Journalismus, vor allem in Deutschland.

Themen des Seminars sind unter anderem die Veränderung der Produktionsbedingungen von Nachrichten (z.B. newsrooms, structured journalism), die Beziehungen zwischen journalistischen Akteuren und ihrem Publikum, neue Modelle der Finanzierung journalistischer Produkte (z.B. durch crowdfunding), die Pluralisierung von Nutzungs- und Verbreitungsformen, wie auch gänzlich neue Formen journalistischer Expertise (data-driven journalism, social curation, citizen journalism).

Themen (en detail)

  • Digitalisierung und Innovation im Journalismus
  • Journalistische Arbeitsumgebungen: Von der Redaktion zum Newsroom
  • Partizipation am und im Journalismus
  • Bürgerjournalismus online
  • Journalismus und Soziale Medien – Persönliche Öffentlichkeiten
  • Datenjournalismus und Structured Journalism
  • Multimedia-Journalismus
  • Wikileaks und die JournalistInnen
  • Crowdfunding und Journalismus
  • Hyperlokaler Journalismus
  • Perspektiven der Journalismusforschung

Follow and contribute via Twitter #ifpukdj.

Off/On Topic: Kitastreik in Berlin auf Twitter

Auch in Berlin soll ab Oktober wieder in den Kindergärten gestreikt werden. Im Gegensatz zur flächendeckenden Kampagne in NRW aber nur in sieben Kitas des Studentenwerks. Die neue phänomenale Strategie von verdi ist jetzt, vorher nicht mal bescheid zu sagen. Merci, Verdi. Wer denkt sich denn das aus?

Als Eltern von Kindern der sieben Kitas des Studentenwerks wollen uns beteiligen. Weniger gern am Streik, aber an der Aufwertung der Erziehungsberufe. Grüß Gott, Herr Birner von Verdi München, für Statements wie diese.

Wenn uns die Eltern unterstützen, ist es schön – aber wenn sie es nicht tun, können wir es auch nicht ändern.

Richtiger wäre es, von vornherein mit den Eltern Aktionen zu planen, statt sie überraschend vor  verschlossenen Türen von Kitas stehen zu lassen. Denn die Eltern wissen die Arbeit der ErzieherInnen sehr wohl zu schätzen.

Am Samstag, 26. September ab 10 Uhr wird es vor dem Eingang zu den Hangars am U-Bhf Platz der Luftbrücke einen lauten Auftakt zur Beteiligung der Eltern geben. Kommt vorbei und macht Krach. Vor allem die Kinder! Ausnahmsweise. Vielleicht hört’s dann auch der Birner Heinrich in München.

Facebookseite zur Aktion:

Hier unten fortlaufend die Twitter-Unterhaltung zum #kitastreik und #gemeinsamaufwerten


Pretty Neat: Open Source Intelligence on TimelineJS

After a webinar for newbies to Python the last week, I am beginning to understand what these lines of code can do for research. Just posted by Justin Seitz and his colleagues, a neat illustration of open data using TimelineJS employed by dedicated free-range programmers on the run for interesting projects to get their claws on:

Future of Journalism in Cardiff

When follow is not quite the same as being there. Everyone have a great conference (and dinner :-).


Review of Mark Deuze “Media Life” online

My review of Mark Deuze’s “Media Life” (2012; Cambridge: Polity) appeared in Digital Journalism volume 2, issue 4. My criticism boils down to this point:

Media Life is a daring, provocative and mindful analysis of the many ways in which media have become an irreducible component of the social. It is written in a very approachable style, presented in an impeccable typographic design, and is impressive in its scope of concepts, terminologies, and the body of examples from market research, art and popular culture. One (ironic) consequence of Deuze’s analysis is that it makes media studies as a discipline appear redundant by emphasizing how every social and humanistic science must acknowledge the position of media in the constitution of its objects of knowledge. On a more critical note, however, Deuze’s nebulous formulation of “we” and “the people” leaves much to be desired: whether “we” refers to anyone connected to the global information circuit and “the people” are all those entertaining any tangential relation to the life Deuze describes, definitely warrants a more nuanced sociological analysis. Whose life it eventually is, that is in media and nowhere beyond, will be the task to determine in the future of media/life studies. The consequences of Deuze’s remarkable claim that “we are all on our own but at the same time more connected than ever before” (p. 158) have yet to be determined.

Get a free download of the piece here:

Full citation: Raetzsch, Christoph (2014). “Review of Mark Deuze “Media Life”.” Digital Journalism 2(4): 617-619. doi:10.1080/21670811.2014.885262.

Drop me your comments on Deuze or the review below.

Cheers, Christoph