TOGI sees itself as a thought-leader in developing new ideas, visions, and models for open government, and therefore follows an interdisciplinary, design-orientated approach towards research. Consequently, the implementation of ideas and recommendations in cooperation with partners from politics and administration also plays an important role for the institute. Additionally, TOGI values its close link with teaching and student research.
TOGI encompasses the Chair of Public Sector & Business Informatics of Professor Dr Jörn von Lucke with its two research fellows, Jan Etscheid and Andreas Krumtung. At Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, TOGI offers introductory and advanced courses in public sector informatics, business informatics, and media informatics.
Currently running projects concern themselves with open societal innovation in the Bodensee region, as well as novel participation instruments and Social Media
Current points of interest of TOGI are:
The Center for Political Communication under the direction of Dr. Martin R. Herbers examines communication processes which refer to political actors and -subjects or derive from them. Likewise, it analyses the contemporary changes in public political communication and the political culture which are initiated by societal and technical processes of change in present time. It researches its projects through the financial support of the Zeppelin University and its partners.
netPOL – An interdisciplinary and inter-universitarian network concerning political communication (direction in Friedrichshafen by Dr. Martin R. Herbers)
This third-party funded project combines the work of researches at the Zeppelin University, the Donau-University Krems in Austria, the Andrássy-University Budapest in Hungary, as well as the Babes-Bolyai University Cluj. It focusses on various aspects of political communication and incorporates national and international perspectives. Its main topics revolve around European Political Education, voter participation research and public affairs, respectively Lobbying, media research, Mass Media communication, as well as strategy- and network analysis. You can find our more about netPOL here.
Post Publics. (De/Re) Construction of communication sciences theories about publics (Dr. Martin R. Herbers)
The political public is changing under the influence of processes of Globalization, Digitalization and Individualization. At the same time, its theory crafting maintains a narrow analytical concept of a uniformly structural sphere of a communication mediated by Mass Media about the res publica and is thus barely reflecting these developments at all. The habilitation project designs a novel praxeological theory of Post Publics which integrates these changes. The public is described here as a network of individual communication about personal interests and is mostly playing out in Social Media. These interests are connecting to a nexus of over-individual, societal and political matters. In the project, the Maker Movement serves as an example of this nexus and is being empirically researched. The building of a new theory is enabling research of political communication to analyse present and future developments of the public both on an individual and a societal level and is thus rectifies the deficit of other present theory approaches.
YouTube and Politics (Dr. Martin R. Herbers & Dr. Dennis Lichtenstein, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften)
Through the processes of Digitalization, new channels of communication and political entities arise in form of Social Networks. Users can simply produce and broadcast their own content, as well as commentate on the works of others. The presumption of a traditional journalism as main distributor of political information and commentary is now being questioned. The new communicators remain largely unobserved – what is motivating them to broadcast their political content on Social Media? Which subjects are they focusing on? The project researches these questions in a mixed-method-approach consisting of qualitative guided interviews with YouTubers as well as a quantitative content analysis of their videos. You can find out more about the project partner Dr. Dennis Lichtenstein here.
Political Party Satire in Germany and Europe (Dr. Martin R. Herbers)
In national, as well as supranational European elections, so called Satire Parties are steadily gaining influence. These small parties are consciously disregarding the democratic-political process on a personal and content level, instead acting caricaturing. As a result, individual candidates of these parties are actually voted into office, sometimes with grave political consequences. The research project analyses the politicians of said satirical parties that hold official mandates in the European Union through biographic and qualitative guided interviews. Main concerns of the project are the motivation of the candidates to lead their political existence in such a way, their dealing with serious consequences and the arising routines that form in the process. The project thus contributes to the otherwise porous research field of small political parties and is enabling a classification of new forms of political acts in the democratic process.
The Chair of Media & Communication Science, held by Professor Dr Udo Göttlich, focuses its research activities on current and historic perspectives on the processes of change in media and the public sphere, applying theories and methods from the fields of media and communication science, the sociology of culture, and from cultural studies.
The main area of research focuses on the relationships and connections of diverse processes of change in media and society. Regarding mediatized topics and contents, the chair analyses diverse developmental dimensions of public and social communication. The related teaching imparts theories and methods for researching and analysing social and cultural change perpetuated through media and communication, and furthermore addresses the development of mass communication from a historical-comparative perspective.
Further research and teaching interests focus on two prominent social phenomena. These research activities are based on the new "Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere", which is characterized by numerous processes, leading to an increasing permeability of the arenas of public communication. This results, among other things, in the necessity of re-shaping and actualizing theories on the default lines of the public sphere and private lives. Furthermore, these developments address changes on a structural level, and on the level of media content. Whereas in the earlier phases of media development, differentiation between informative and entertaining, as well as between non-fictional and fictional contents was effortlessly possible, the current development of media content is characterized by a hybridization of such features which - together with further changes such as the increase in the autonomy of the media institutions - contribute to the current public changes.
Additionally, these factors result in further dimensions of social and political transformations, which the chair addresses in research and teaching. Examples range from the application, use, and reception of media to the analysis of broader changes in audience structures. Transformations in mass communication on a national, European, and global scale, mostly perpetuated by the Internet, are additional challenges for understanding the processes of the formation of cultural and social forms of order, such as the development of cultural and social practices. These dimensions of change have to be scrutinized in detail, through the application of perspectives of media and communication science, as well as cultural studies.