Reasearch focus Internet and Politics

Overview of research fields
Overview of research fields

The members of the research focus work on a variety of net political issues. This includes research, as well as teaching. The starting point of most research activities is the question on how internet development and digitization do affect democratic structures and processes. The specific research fields cover Electronic Democracy, Electronic Government and Participation, online politics (elections and campaigns, protest and social movements) and internet policy issues (such as net neutrality, data protection or cyber security).

Research activities mostly aim at international comparison, not just between different countries and regions, but also between different regime types (democracy vs. autocracy).

The research focus produces regular output in form of publications, conferences, invited talks and university courses.

 

 

E-Government and E-Participation

edited volume 2012, new edition forthcoming
edited volume 2012, new edition forthcoming

For about twenty years now, scholars and practitioners discuss the use of modern Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in public administration under the umbrella term of e-government. In recent years, participatory aspects and elements have come to the forefront in reform discussions. However, which potentials for modernization and democratization do internet technology and digitization actually bear for public administration? Which services are accepted by citizens and business actors? Which do serve the output legitimacy of the respective governments? In contrast to any deterministic and exclusively technical progressive assumptions, the team of the research focus enquires chances as well as challenges of digital administration from a perspective informed by political theory and provides empirical findings. Empirical studies again aim at comparative results, be it in comparison of regime types, different countries or different platforms and digital media outlets.

Online Politics

Monography "Soziale Medien in Protestbewegungen", Kneuer/Richter, 2015
Monography "Soziale Medien in Protestbewegungen", Kneuer/Richter, 2015

How does the internet affect political structures and processes? How do digital media cause changes in political communication and interaction, within the political system itself, within the intermediary system or among citizens? That politics has to be done online can be taken for granted since the internet has developed into a mass communication media in the 1990s. Since then, political online communication has taken a dynamic development as internet and digitization in general. Today mediatized politics is characterized by websites, online applications and especially social networks to a great extent. The interactive platforms of a networked society offer a variety of new channels between political actors and citizens. They especially provide new chances for activists and social movements for agenda-setting and mobilization, and thus make them less dependent on established gate-keepers in media and politics. However, what initially had been welcomed as timely development of democratic processes, has been regarded much more skeptically in recent days. The perceived erosion of public spaces for democratic discourse, the tendency of echo chambers and the high level of disinformation online are more and more discussed as dangers for democracy.

The team of the research focus analyses online politics from a decisively ‘net-realistic’ perspective. Especially, it does not concentrate its activities on the more and more precarious relation of internet and democracy or democratization, but takes online politics in authoritatively governed states into account as well.

 

 

Internet Governance

Edited volume 2017
Edited volume 2017

If there has been a new policy field developing in many countries across the globe in recent years, it is internet policy or governance. Internet governance covers a broad range of regulatory fields, including such fields in which the pressure to act has dramatically increased with digitization (such as copyright or data protection) and such that stand in constitutive relation with the internet itself (such as infrastructure policy or net neutrality). Depending on the field at stake, the team analyses political structures and processes on the national, inter- and transnational levels. Who governs the internet? How can the internet be governed at all? Which role do nation states play? Which role do international organizations play? Are democracies and autocracies different in this respect? If so, how do they differ from each other? Which measures, e.g. content-regulation, do harm the fundamental values of liberal democracies? And what does it all mean for security in cyberspace?

The team of the research focus deals with these and other questions in different projects.

Comparative research

Given our cross-cutting orientation towards comparative research, ourprojects shall speak to the following questions:

  1. The role of the internet in democracies,
  2. The role of the internet in autocracies,
  3. The role of the internet in transformation processes.

As regards democracies, it is of particular interest which effects digital media have on central democratic categories, such as legitimation, representation, participation, transparency and responsiveness at all. Can we observe improvements of democratic quality or do we see dysfunctional effects caused by new forms of mediatized interaction? Which effects does the internet have on processes of policy-making? Can it help to make policy coordination and decision-making more transparent for citizens? Can the internet live up to the higher participatory demands of citizens and the expectations for being included in decision-making? Can digital media positively affect the responsiveness of politicians? Which concrete measures are available to include citizens in political decision-making? How could these processes look like? Will all this bring improvements, a revitalization or new structural or procedural changes for democracy – electronic, cyber- or liquid democracy? The central question therefore is, which contributions digital media can make for the ‘better’ functioning of democratic processes, for more engagement of citizens, for more transparency. It will be important to assess advantages and disadvantages, functional and dysfunctional effects on equal and egalitarian participation.

In autocracies we can observe at least a double effect of the internet: Citizens can use it as an alternative space for communication – aside the official channels in a dictatorship for instance. Or it is used by the state as an instrument for controlling its citizens. A main question just is, to what extent citizens in autocracies are effectively empowered by digital media to mobilize for democracy and freedom and hence endanger the stability of the autocratic regime itself. Do digital media and especially social networks with their many-to-many communication bear new potentials for overcoming autocratic rule and for democratization? How much do digital networking and new communication opportunities threaten autocracies and how do they react to this threat? To what extent and by which means can autocrats use digital media themselves in order to better control their citizens and effectively get hold on democratic resistance?

In processes of transformation and turmoil, as the so-called Arab Spring, one has to ask which role new media actually can play in overthrowing a non-democratic regime and which role they can play for protest and turmoil. Is digital communication continuously meaningful, even when protests are over? Can mobilization lead into new and different structures and which role do digital media play therein? Which mutual effects can be observed between digital activists and the erection of democratic structures and processes? Can newly established democratic governments use digital media in order to secure certain processes of democratization?

 

 

Products of our work

Publications

 

2018

Kneuer, Marianne; Schünemann, Wolf J. (eds): E-Government und Netzpolitik im europäischen Vergleich (2nd ed.). Baden-Baden: Nomos 2018. (forthcoming)

2017

Kneuer, Marianne (2017): Digitale Medien und Kommunikation in der Vergleichenden Politikwissenschaft. In: Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft. Jahrgang 11, Online First. pp. 1-9.

Schünemann, Wolf J./Baumann, Max-Otto (eds.): Privacy, Data Protection and Cybersecurity in Europe. Berlin [et al.]: Springer 2017.

Stier, Sebastian; Schünemann, Wolf J.; Steiger, Stefan (2017): Of activists and gatekeepers. Temporal and structural properties of policy networks on Twitter. In: New Media & Society 44 (2).

2016

Kneuer, Marianne (2016): E-democracy: A new challenge for measuring democracy. In: International Political Science Review. Special Issue "Measuring Quality of Democracy", guest editors: Marianne Kneuer, Brigitte Geissel, and Hans-Joachim Lauth, November 2016: 666-678.

Kneuer, Marianne/Salzborn, Samuel. 2016. Web 2.0 – Demokratie 3.0. Digitale Medien und ihre Implikationen für Prozesse und Qualität von Demokratie. Sonderheft der Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft. Wiesbaden: Springer

Kneuer, Marianne; Harnisch, Sebastian (2016): Diffusion of e-government and e-participation in Democracies and Autocracies, in: Global Policy, Vol. 7, Issue 4, November 2016: 548-556.

Schünemann, Wolf J./Steiger, Stefan/Stier, Sebastian. 2015. The net neutrality debate on Twitter, in: Internet Policy Review (4) 4. [zum Beitrag]

2015

Kneuer, Marianne. 2015. „Digitale Medien“, in: Lauth, Hans-Joachim/Kneuer, Marianne/Pickel, Gert (eds.) Handbuch für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Kneuer, Marianne; Richter, Saskia (2015): Soziale Medien in Protestbewegungen. Neue Wege für Diskurs, Organisation und Empörung? Frankfurt/New York: Campus.

Kneuer, Marianne/Richter, Saskia. 2015. „Empörungsbewegungen: Der Einfluss von sozialen Medien auf die Protestbewegungen seit 2011“, in: Rademacher, Lars/Remus, Nadine. Hrsg. Handbuch für NGO-Kommunikation. Wiesbaden: Springer Verlag.

Kneuer, Marianne. 2015. „Mehr demokratische Qualität durch das Internet?“, in: Journal of Self-Regulation and Regulation, Special Issue: Wer regiert das Internet? Regulierungsstrukturen und -prozesse im virtuellen Raum, 1(1), pp. 47-63. 

Kneuer, Marianne/Richter, Saskia. 2015. Soziale Medien in Protestbewegungen. Neue Wege für Diskurs, Organisation und Empörung? Frankfurt/New York: Campus Verlag. (unter Mitarbeit von Melanie Rudolph)

Schünemann, Wolf J./Harnisch, Sebastian. 2015. Wer regiert das Internet? Regulierungsstrukturen und -prozesse im virtuellen Raum. Special Issue Journal of Self-Regulation and Regulation. Heidelberg: Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg. [zum Open Access Journal]

2014

Demmelhuber, Thomas. 2014. „'Befreiungstechnologie' Internet: Social Media und die Diktatoren“, in: Bürger im Staat, pp. 206-211.

Demmelhuber, Thomas/ Badr, Hanan. „Autoritäre Regime, Neue Medien und das Regimedilemma: eine Fallstudie zu Ägypten“, in: Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen, 1.

Kneuer, Marianne. 2014. „Mehr oder weniger demokratische Qualität durch das Internet?“, in: Bürger im Staat, 4, pp. 196-205.

Richter, Saskia/Bürger, Tobias. 2014 „E-Petitionen als Form politischer Partizipation. Welchen Nutzen generieren digitale Petitions-Plattformen?“, in: Der Bürger im Staat, pp. 252-260.

2013


Demmelhuber, Thomas. 2013. „Neue Medien, Protest und politische Veränderung im Nahen Osten. Überlegungen am Beispiel des Arabischen Frühlings“, in: Kneuer, Marianne. Eds. Das Internet. Bereicherung oder Stressfaktor für die Demokratie? Baden-Baden: Nomos.

Kneuer, Marianne. Hrsg. 2013. Das Internet: Stressfaktor oder Bereicherung für die Demokratie? Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlag.

Kneuer, Marianne. 2013. „Bereicherung oder Stressfaktor? Überlegungen zur Wirkung des Internets auf die Demokratie“ in: Kneuer, Marianne. Hrsg. Das Internet: Stressfaktor oder Bereicherung für die Demokratie? Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlag, pp. 7-31. 

Kneuer, Marianne. 2013. Mehr Partizipation durch das Internet? Mainz: Landeszentrale für Politische Bildung Rheinland-Pfalz. (Broschüre)

Richter Saskia. 2013. „Politische Partizipation und soziale Bewegungen in sich wandelnden Gesellschaften. Von Bürgerinitiativen zu Online-Netzwerken“, in: Kneuer, Marianne. Hrsg. Das Internet:
Bereicherung oder Stressfaktor fur die Demokratie? Baden-Baden: Nomos. pp. 145-171.

Richter, Saskia. 2013. „Zivilgesellschaft und Sozialunternehmen. abgeordnetenwatch.de als Motor für politische Partizipation jenseits von Parteien?“, in: Jansen, Stephan A. /Heinze, Rolf G./ Beckmann, Markus. Hrsg. Sozialunternehmen in Deutschland. Analysen, Trends und Handlungsempfehlungen (Ergebnisse Mercator Forscherverbund), Wiesbaden, pp. 167-185.

Gorr, David; Schünemann, Wolf J. (2013): Creating a secure cyberspace - Securization in Internet governance discourses and dispositives in Germany and Russia. In: International Review of Information Ethics 12/2013.

2012


Demmelhuber, Thomas. 2012. „Der Emir und das Internet. Zur Modernisierung der Tradition in den arabischen Golfmonarchien“, in: Inamo, 69.

Kneuer, Marianne. 2012. „Demokratischer durch das Internet? Potenzial und Grenzen des Internets für die Stärkung der Demokratie“, in: Politische Bildung (Themenheft „Alte und neue Medien in der Politik“).

Kneuer, Marianne. 2012. „Die Zukunft der Demokratie im Internetzeitalter – Anmerkungen zur Idee einer Revitalisierung durch das Internet“, in: Bitburger Gespräche, Zukunft der Demokratie – Demokratie der Zukunft. München: Beck Verlag, pp. 51-61.

Kneuer, Marianne/Demmelhuber, Thomas. 2012. „Die Bedeutung Neuer Medien für die Demokratieentwicklung. Überlegungen am Beispiel des Arabischen Frühlings“, in: Informationen zur Politischen Bildung Bd. 35, Innsbruck-Wien-Bozen, pp. 30-38.

Schünemann, Wolf J.; Weiler, Stefan (Hrsg.): E-Government und Netzpolitik im europäischen Vergleich. Baden-Baden 2012: Nomos.

Events

4 - 6 December 2017 - Hannover, International Conference "Political Science in the Digital Age" International Political Science Association (Program Chair Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuer).

September 2016 - Heidelberg, 1st confernce of DVPW-Themengruppe "Internet and Politics" (organized by Prof. Dr. Wolf J. Schünemann)

Oktober 2015 - Rovinj, Croatia: „Communication, Democracy and Digital Technology”. International Conference organized by the IPSA-Research Committees 10 (Electronic Democracy), 22 (Po-litical Communication) and 34 (Quality of Democracy), Rovinj, Croatia, 1.-2.10.2015; (organized by Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuer in collaboration with Oscar Luengo (Granada), Darren Lilleker (Bournemouth), Norbert Kersting (Münster) und Domagoj Bebic (Zagreb)

23-24 September 2014 - Hildesheim, Jahrestagung des AK Demokratieforschung der DVPW: Web 2.0 - Demokratie 2.0 - Digitale Medien und ihre Implikationen für Prozesse und Qualität von Demokratie. (organized by Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuerin collaboration with Prof. Dr. Samuel Salzborn and Prof. Dr. Walter Reese-Schäfer)

20-22 March 2014 - Bad Urach, Autorenworkshop der Landeszentrale für Politische Bildung Baden-Württemberg und der Universität Hildesheim: "Politik und Internet" (organized by Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber)

Juli 2014 - Montreal, Canada: Panel at Global Congress International Political Science Association (IPSA) “Social Media and their Influence on the Quality of Democracy” (organized by Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuer)

16-17 November 2012 - Hildesheim, Gonference of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Politikwissenschaft (DGfP): "Das Internet: Bereicherung oder Stressfaktor für die Demokratie" (Program Chair Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuer)

16 November 2012 - Hildesheim, Conference for young researchers of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Politikwissenschaft (DGfP): "Politische Teilhabe in Zeiten gesellschaftlichen Wandels durch Web 2.0-Medien" (Program Chair Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber)

Invited talks

2014

20. November 2014. Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuer: "Mehr Demokratie durch das Internet? Digitale Medien und ihre Implikationen für die Qualität von Demokratie“; lecture series University of Heidelberg. (Invited Lecture)

23./24. September 2014. Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuer and Dr. Saskia Richter: „Protestbewegungen und soziale Medien. Wie deliberativ und wie transnational?“; Conference of the working group "Demokratieforschung" of the DVPW, University of Hildesheim.

24. September 2014. Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber: „Autoritäre Regime, Neue Medien und das Regimedilemma: eine Fallstudie zu Ägypten“; Conference of the working group "Demokratieforschung" of the DVPW, University of Hildesheim.

19.-24. July 2014.

  • Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuer and Dr. Saskia Richter: „Indignation-Movements and the Role of the Internet. The Quality of Online Deliberation“; IPSA-Conference, Joint Panel RC 34 and RC 22, Montreal.
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber: „Authoritarian Regimes, New Media and the Regime Dilemma. A Case Study on Egypt“; IPSA-Conference, Montreal. (23. Juli 2014)

17. June 2014. Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber: Participation at the Roundtable within the context of the „Eschborner Fachtage“ (Panel): „Offene Gesellschaft – offener Staat? Politik und Verwaltung im digitalen Wandel; Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit“, Eschborn.

20.-22. March 2014.

  • Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuer: „Demokratiequalität und Internet“; Landeszentrale für Politische Bildung Baden-Württemberg, Workshop for authors of the journal „Der Bürger im Staat“, Bad Urach.
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber: „Befreiungstechnologie Internet? Social Media und die Diktatoren“; Landeszentrale für Politische Bildung Baden-Württemberg, Workshop for authors of the journal „Der Bürger im Staat“, Bad Urach. (20. März 2014)

04. February 2014. Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber: Lecture within the context of the course of lectures „Digitale Lebenswelten“ related to the topic: „Befreiungstechnologie Internet? Facebook, Twitter und die Diktatoren“, University of Hildesheim, University of Hildesheim.

2013

28. November 2013. Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber: Lecture within the course of lectures „Deprofessionalisierung in den Künsten und den Medien“ related to the topic: „Medien und politische Transformation im Nahen Osten“, University of Hildesheim.

29. October 2013. Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuer: „Mehr Demokratie durch das Internet?“; Lecture series "Digitale Lebenswelten". Chancen und Risiken für Bürger, Staat und Gesellschaft, University of Hildesheim.

8. May 2013. Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber: Lecture within the context of the workshop „Public Sphere, Political Communication and Transition in Egypt“ related to the topic: Social Media and its transformative power. Conceptual Remarks on the “regime dilemma”; Oriental institute Beirut, Kairo.

26. April 2013. Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber: Lecture within the context of the KAAD Jahresakademie 2013 („Communio und Communities“, 25.-28. April 2013) related to the topic: „Soziale Netzwerke als Machtfaktor in Zivilgesellschaft und Politik, Katholischer Akademischer Ausländerdienst, Bonn.

23. January 2013. Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber: Keynote in the GIGA Forum „Soziale Medien in politischen Umbruchprozessen“ related to the topic: „Soziale Medien und der Arabische Frühling“, GIGA, Hamburg.

17. January 2013. Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuer: „Demokratie und Bürgerbeteiligung – Möglichkeiten und Grenzen des Internets“; Event of the Landeszentrale für Politische Bildung, Mainz.

2012


17. November 2012. Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber: Lecture within the context of the yearly conference of the DGfP (16.-17. November 2012) related to the topic: „Neue Medien und politischer Protest im Nahen Osten: Konzeptionelle Überlegungen am Beispiel des Arabischen Frühlings“, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Politikwissenschaft, DGfP, University of Hildesheim.

16. November 2012. Dr. Saskia Richter: „Demokratisierte Demokratien? Soziale Bewegungen in sich wandelnden Gesellschaften“, DGfP-Conference „Politische Teilhabe in Zeiten gesellschaftspolitischen
Wandels durch Web 2.0-Medien“, University of Hildesheim.

6. June 2012. Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber: Lecture within the context of the lecture series „Demokratie und Internet” related to the topic: „Die Macht von Web 2.0: Soziale Rebellion und der arabische Frühling”, University of Hildesheim.

28.-29. March 2012. Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuer: „E-Democracy: Wiederbelebung, Ersetzen oder Unterminieren der repräsentativen Demokratie?“; Paper, Panel „Repräsentation auf dem Prüfstand“, DVPW-Conference Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft, Marburg.

12.-13. January 2012. Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuer: „Alte und neue Verfahren der Bürgerbeteiligung – mehr Demokratie durch das Internet?“; 55. Bitburger conversations „Zukunft der Demokratie – Demokratie der Zukunft“, Mainz.

25. January 2012. Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuer: „Demokratie und Internet“, inaugural lecture, Hildesheim.

Courses

Winter term 2016/17

  • 0917 Internet und politische Transformation (Prof. Dr. Wolf J. Schünemann)

Summer term 2015

  • 0903 Lecture Politik – Medien – Öffentlichkeit: Medienfreiheit in Demokratien und Autokratien (Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber)
  • 0917 Internet und politische Transformation (Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber)

Winter term 2014/2015

  • 0917 Internet und politische Transformation (Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber)

Summer term 2014

  • 0903 Lecture Politik – Medien – Öffentlichkeit: Medienfreiheit in Demokratien und Autokratien (Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber)

Winter term 2013/2014

  • 0910 Politische Partizipation in der Mediendemokratie (Dr. Saskia Richter)
  • 0917 Das Internet und seine politische Veränderungskraft. Das Beispiel des Arabischen Frühlings (Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber)

Summer term 2013

  • 0914 Stuttgart 21, Occupy, Plaza del Sol – Protestbewegungen und Internet im Vergleich (Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuer)
  • 0915 Lecture Politik – Medien – Öffentlichkeit: Medienfreiheit in Demokratien und Autokratien (Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber)

Winter term 2012/2013

  • 0916 Politik, Medien und Öffentlichkeit: al-Jazeera, das CNN der arabischen Welt? (Prof. Dr. Thomas Demmelhuber)

Summer term 2012

  • 0901 Lecture series „Demokratie und Internet: nationale und internationale Aspekte“ (Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuer)
  • 0914 Der Präsidentschaftswahlkampf in den USA: Die Rolle der Medien und des Internets (Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuer)