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Media and their Counterpublics


The cluster Media and their Counterpublics looks at the historical linkages and genealogies of new and old media, including news media, literature, film, photography, and social media. It examines the complex dynamics between media and different forms of publics and counterpublics. Counterpublics, following Nancy Fraser (1990) and Michael Warner (2002), refer to discursive arenas parallel to mainstream publics in which marginalized groups can voice their grievances, form (collective) identities, and cultivate a sense of belonging. 

The cluster welcomes studies of media from an interdisciplinary perspective that incorporates research from cultural studies, sociology, gender studies, literary studies, performance studies, political and social theory, visual cultures, and media studies. The cluster examines media’s relationships to structures of hegemonic power, and questions the production, circulation, and reception of narratives of kinship and belonging through specific media-technologies and traditions. To this end, the cluster invites rethinking of the role of the media as archives of subject positions, genres of cultural heritage or as channels of the political, of the social auto/biographical practices amidst political change. For its pivotal role in shaping political dynamics the cluster welcomes studies of the media and their counterpublics in relation to digital technologies and transnationalization of communication. Some of the questions especially important for this cluster are the following: How are counterpublics created and contested through social media? How do online counterpublics translate into offline contentious politics? How are contemporary far-right counterpublics being formed? How are queer and feminist counterpublics contesting and contested by exclusionary biopolitical (gendered, racialized, classed, and abelist) narratives? How do different media circulate tacit knowledges and generate “affective publics” (Papacharissi)?



Barbara Ratzenböck  barbara.ratzenboeck(at)uni-graz.at

Zorica Siročić z.sirocic(at)uni-graz.at


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