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About this book

This book provides a selection of international perspectives in the interdisciplinary field of media and communications research with emphasis placed on methodological approaches and new research domains. It includes critical reflections on how to conduct research on digital media culture, especially concerning the potentials and limitations for mixed methods research and online research strategies, as well as a series of hands-on case studies. These range from digital fan cultures, through environmental communication, news media, digital politics during conflicts and crises, to digital media psychology and the emerging field of medical humanities. Diverse in its examples and angles, the book provides a rich snippet of how media research practices are determined by practical factors and research interests.

Table of Contents


Challenges and Opportunities in Media and Communication Studies


Introduction: Understanding Media and Society in the Age of Digitalisation

The introduction sets the context by outlining the goals and scope of the book and emphasises the international outlook and focus on research practices and methodologies. It provides a brief account of recent developments in the field that highlight why the discipline and its methods constantly re-invent themselves but also why traditional method will coexist with new approaches. It then outlines how each of the parts is connected to each other and what chapters they include. The main goals of this chapter are outlining the context of the book, which is to discuss, explain, and evaluate the diversity in practices, views, and methodologies in contemporary media studies and communications research, and providing a summary of parts and chapters, including information about the authors.
Dennis Nguyen, Ivonne Dekker, Sergül Nguyen

Media and Communication Studies in the Age of Digitalization and Datafication: How Practical Factors and Research Interests Determine Methodological Choices

Digital and computational methods promise to fundamentally change research practices in media and communications studies. However, due to economic and other practical reasons, access to digital data is often restricted. For example, acquiring the necessary skills in developing and applying tools for data collection and analysis is a time-consuming process. Often, researchers have no other choice than using traditional methods for various reasons. Also, their research interests may also not fit a heavily data-driven approach. This chapter discusses some of the obstacles to digitalizing research practices in the field but also makes the argument why new research strategies should be embraced where possible.
Dennis Nguyen

User Tactics and Algorithms: A Digital Humanities Approach to YouTube and Tumblr

The emergence of digital media and platforms led to a renewed interest in data-driven tools in the humanities, often labelled “digital humanities”. Such data-driven methods offer interesting insights, especially when they are combined with qualitative data on platforms, users, data and communities. By relying on both close reading and distant reading of data, this chapter shows how users produce data and actively reflect on related components, such as filtering, moderation and algorithms. Specifically, the analysis focuses on user responses to the change in policies and algorithms on Tumblr (2018) and YouTube (2019). These cases are illustrative of how content moderation, through new policies and algorithms, can affect user cultures. Overall, users are not passive audiences in these processes but identify tactics to cope with these changes.
Nicolle Lamerichs

Making Sense of the (Internet) Archive: Negotiating Meaning, Memory and History in Artistic Practice

This chapter presents an analysis of the work with the archive developed by the artist Daniel Blaufuks, whose work centres around history and memory, with particular attention to the Holocaust. For the analysis a series of photographic compositions, Constellations, created from Internet content was analysed. Two questions—how can the discursive and physical dimension of the archive be explored as an artistic (specific) medium and how does Blaufuks’ work engage with the media archaeology goal of re-presencing the past—directed the research. The construction of a theoretical approach to explore a discursive and non-discursive archive structured the analysis and proved useful to explore the complex ways in which making sense of the world is, to a large extent, a mediated experience.
Dulce da Rocha Gonçalves

Slow Tourism Joining New Media in Global Sustainability and Environmental Communication: Inspiring Individual and Industry Travel Practices and Media Expressions

This research addresses the gap at the intersection of the three fields of slow tourism, environmental sustainability, and new and digital media studies. It does so through the lens of the contemporary global concern of environmental sustainability as it is reflected in tourism research and within selected conceptual and methodological frameworks of environmental communication. That research gap has hitherto only been addressed by a single scientific source. This research furthers that source conceptually with slow and fast travel and tourism forms and expressions regarding their environmental sustainability potentials. Methodologically, it advocates the use of the transdisciplinary framework of environmental communication for including other literary genres and sources. It concludes with recommending benefits of new and social media applications for individual travellers and tourism industry representatives.
Konrad Gunesch

Researching Meaning, Representation, and Politics in Digital Media


Combining Qualitative and Digital Methods for Exploratory Framing Analyses: The Case of Alternative Video Coverage of the Syrian War on YouTube

It is claimed that the Syrian War is the most socially mediated war in history thus far. This paper explores how the Syrian War is framed and discussed in YouTube, which has become a central stage for reporting and discussing the conflict in a global-transnational setting. The case study focuses on the coverage of the alleged chemical attacks in Khan Sheikhoun on April 2017 in non-mainstream media content published on the platform. The analysis has two purposes: to explore how the conflict is framed by alternative sources and to examine how viewers react to this content. The data yielded with this mixed methods design eventually helps with mapping the discourse in the web.
Ivonne Dekker, Dennis Nguyen

Mediating Fear by Breaking News: A Case Study of CNN Türk and NTV

In Turkey, breaking news has become a daily routine in TV broadcasting and in social media. The quality of journalism and ethical standards are at stake due to the race for the latest information. This chapter aims to explore the communication of “fear” in today’s risk society via breaking news on TV and Twitter. To this end, breaking news which has been broadcasted and published online in a daily routine of two privately owned 24/7 news channels CNN Türk and NTV have been analysed through a mixed methodology which is based on a quantitative content analysis and a critical discourse analysis. Based on the exploratory findings, the chapter provides an overview of challenges for quality journalism and ethics with tentative recommendations for journalists and audiences.
İnci Çınarlı, Sergül Nguyen

Visual Framing and Migrant Discourses in Social Media: The Story of Idomeni on Instagram

The refugee and migration crisis triggered transnational media discourses that included social networking media. Platforms such as Instagram became sites for political communication and framing, especially in the form of visuals that shape the crisis’ imagery. This chapter investigates how Instagram served as a window to the crisis; more specifically, it applies digital methods for collecting data on relevant visuals uploaded at the refugee camp in Idomeni in March 2016. The sample covers one week of activity and includes 367 images. The quantitative-qualitative content analysis covers hashtags and images for mapping the framing of the crisis on Instagram. The chapter illustrates how Instagram is a site for political online discourses and how a combination of digital and conventional research methods allows to explore framing practices in the crisis context.
Radmila Radojevic, Dennis Nguyen, Jan Bajec, Ioanna Ferra

Analysing How Digital Media Changes Interaction


A Quantitative and Qualitative Approach to Analysing Cyberbullying in Classmates’ WhatsApp groups

The study is an exploratory research, aimed at examining the extent, characteristics, and expressions of cyberbullying in classmates’ WhatsApp groups among Israeli adolescents and offering a measurement tool of cyberbullying. With the aim of developing rich insights into students’ cyberbullying experiences and ensuring that all expressions of cyberbullying are measured, a mixed methods approach was chosen. Students studying in 4th to 12th grades (N = 1111) completed a combined self-report questionnaire, which included closed and open sections regarding cyberbullying victimization in WhatsApp classmates’ groups. Findings indicated that the vast majority of participants are members in at least one classmates’ WhatsApp groups; 30.7% of participants experience cyberbullying in their WhatsApp groups, and half of them experience more than one type of cyberbullying simultaneously. Findings indicated differences in cyberbullying expressions across the levels of educational institutions.
Dana Aizenkot

Technology Experience, Health Beliefs or Background? Examining the Factors Affecting the Intention to Use Social Media for Health Purposes

Studies in health-related social media use tend to predict its actual use. However, the academic knowledge on the future intention to such use is scarce. In addition, studies in this field are mostly qualitative, thereby restricting the possibility to provide generalized view of health-related social media use. The goal of this study is to examine the factors associated with health-related social media use by technological, health-related and sociodemographic factors, while employing multivariate (ordinal) statistical models. The results suggest that engagement is searching for health information on social media and cues to action are associated with the outcome variable. As one of the conclusions, the study emphasizes the importance of future quantitative or mixed methods research in the field.
Dennis Rosenberg, Rita Mano, Gustavo S. Mesch

Constructing 24/7 Madness. The Pathology Behind Schizophrenia in Western Urban Screen Cultures

This research examines the cognitive processes of people with schizophrenia as a way of studying today’s conception of the normal and the pathological in Western urban screen cultures. Through a medical humanities approach, which combines textual analysis with genealogy, this research will investigate the cultural construction of what accounts for normal and pathological behaviours. Through the diagnosis of schizophrenia, a cultural threshold is set by psychiatrists on what is different from the norm. By analysing these standards, this research attempts to reassess our conception of the pathological and the normal in these cultures. Eventually, this research argues that it may not be individuals who have pathological behaviour but that these cultures have pathological demands for the subjects that live within them that trigger this behaviour.
Bjorn Beijnon


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