General information

One of the main assumptions about the impact of Internet and social media points to a transformation of the public sphere. Against the backdrop of decreasing trust in the institutions and processes of modern democracies, digital technologies have repeatedly been loaded with hopes for increasing citizen engagement and participation through a broad range of democratic innovations. In contrast, optimistic scenarios have been countered by more pessimistic outlooks like the fragmentation and atomization of the public sphere and the creation of filter bubbles and echo chambers. This perspective would include the discourse hegemony of some few as well as the potential of manipulation. Besides this normatively loaded debate, other open questions refer to aspects like the possibility of a transnational public sphere based on online-connectivity, the quality of public deliberation and new forms of networked publics.

The international workshop on the "Transformation of the public sphere" shall be the start of a series of events on “transformations in the digital age”, organized by an international network of academic institutions, including LUISS University in Rome, Scienes Po in Paris, Hildesheim University, University of Perugia, USI in Lugano, the University of Urbino and the University of Prague.

The first workshop will take place at the Center for Digital Change at Hildesheim University on 25 and 26 April 2019. The workshop is supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) within the program framework “University dialogue with Southern Europe”. 

Conveners: Marianne KneuerWolf J. SchünemannEmiliana De BlasioMichele Sorice

Key dates

Call for Papers

Practical information


Hildesheim is a medium-sized city in Northern Germany close to Hannover. The next international airport is Hannover airport from where Hildesheim can be easily reached by local train via Hannover main station in about 60 minutes.

The workshop will take place at the historical site "Domäne Marienburg".
To reach this place from the hotel, you can go to the bus stop "Ostertor" or "Theater" and take the bus line 1 (destination "Marienburger Höhe/Itzum") to the bus stop "Itzum/Scharfe Ecke". From there, you cross the bridge and turn left into the avenue to reach the entrance of the "Domäne Marienburg".

Further details on the location including directions are available on the University's website.

Travel information

Due to the support of the German Academic Exchange Service within the framework "University Dialogue with Southern Europe", all travel expenses of active participants from the following five countries will be covered: Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Accepted participants are required to book their flights (economy class, train 2nd class) individually. They get their reimbursement (see the list below) after the end of the workshop.

  • Italy: 250 EUR
  • Spain (mainland and Balearics): 200 EUR
  • Spain (Canaries): 375 EUR
  • Greece: 300 EUR
  • Portugal: 375 EUR
  • Cyprus: 225 EUR

Please consult the organization team for further information.

Workshop Program

The workshop will start on 25th of April at 9:00 am. It will end on 26th of April at 2:30 pm. There will be a Pre-Conference Dinner on 24th of April at 7:30 pm.
The detailed workshop program can be downloaded below:

Partner institutions