University of Erfurt


03/2019 | Media and Democracy in Iraq - New Book Release by Erfurt Lecturer

Media and Democracy in Iraq - New Book Release by Erfurt Lecturer

Dr. Anja Wollenberg has published her dissertation on the role of media in the democratic transformation in Iraq. In one of the first worldwide books on the topic the University of Erfurt lecturer and former PhD student of Prof. Dr. Kai Hafez deals with the tensions between media freedom and democratic development in so-called fragile states. While freedom of opinion is vital to any democracy, the radical polarization of group-oriented media can easily endanger the newly created constitutional consensus, trigger civil wars and contribute to the desintegration of the nation state.

07/2018 | P U B L I C A T I O N | Political Correctness Reloaded

Political Correctness Reloaded - What Type of Consensus Do We Need in Times of Growing Right-Wing Sentiments?

In a book - "Aufbruch statt Abbruch" - that has recently been published as a collaboration between the the German Muslim student organization - Rat Muslimischer Studierender und Akademiker (RAMSA) and the Federal Family Ministry in Germany - Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend (BMFSJ), Prof. Dr. Kai Hafez proposed a scheme for a new type of consensus that will be needed as a response to the growing polarization between liberal and right-wing parts of the Western societies. It will be necessary, he argued, to reinstall liberal values as core values (Grundwerte) of society that instruct the legal system and prevent any kind of structural discrimination against ethnic or religious groups (as in the case of right-wing demands for the prohibition of mosques etc.). At the same time, mutual recognition will be demanded of the various reactionary but also of progressive "cultural warriors" to avoid the impression that either reactionary essentialism or liberal egalitarianism are fundamentalist and/or exclusivist values in modern Western societies. Postmodernism must be reframed within the meta-narrative of (modern) democratic statehood and tolerant civility that should, at the same time, be connected to social values and the overcoming of neo-liberalism as the dominant liberal ideology of our times.

07/2018 | P U B L I C A T I O N | Communicative Utopia/Dystopia

Dr. Anne Grüne has published an article called "Big Brother is still watching you" about the communication-theoretical approaches in modern utopias/dystopias in film, TV and literature. She shows how many of the popular narratives are built on changes in both human communication itself and the communicative interaction between systems and lifeworlds. Since popular culture can play more radically with current developments, it is worth to consider the communicative hopes and fears reflected in the contemporary fictional worlds. The article is part of the conference proceedings "utopisch dystopisch - Visionenen einer idealen Gesellschaft" published by Irene Leser and Jessica Schwarz.

04/2018 | P U B L I C A T I O N | Popular Culture and Individualization in the Islamic World

Is there any (ignored) individualism in the Arab world or only (uniform) masses?

Dr. Anne Grüne and Prof. Dr. Kai Hafez discuss the relation of popular culture and socio-political developments with regard to the Arab world in an article, which has been published in a new anthology on Islam and Modernity ("Islam in der Moderne, Moderne im Islam") by Brill in April 2018. In their paper, the authors show how contemporary television shows promote both individualization on a cognitive, affective and practical level of experience as well as the appreciation of individualization as a social value. In conclusion, they argue that popular culture reveals tendencies of differentiation and modernization in Arab societies, which are all too often described as “collectivistic.”

The anthology is dedicated to the well-known German Orientalist Prof. Dr. Reinhard Schulze from the University of Bern, Switzerland, and is edited by Johannes Stephan, Florian Zemmin and Monica Corrado. 

04/2018 | P U B L I C A T I O N | Legitimization of the German Military Action in Syria

Gina Hoffmann, a former graduate of the expiring MA program "Communication Research: Politics and Society" (predecessor of the MA "Global Communication: Politics and Society") has published a book on the role of the media in the German military action in Syria (German Title: "Die Legitimierung des deutschen Syrien-Einsatzes. Politischer Diskurs und Medienresonanz 2015"). The work is based on her master thesis and is now part of a book series that is edited by her supervisors Prof. Dr. Kai Hafez and Dr. Anne Grüne.



In the days after the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015 European politics was mostly dominated by fear. The German Parliament decided to support France in its struggle against the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" in Syria. This third offensive deployment of the German army was ratified rapidly by the German parliament. Based of framing analysis the book reveals with what type of reasoning the military action was justified both in politics and in the mass media. Since there was no civil society protest, the question remains what has happened to pacifist values.

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