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The starting point for the following conceptual considerations are the sometimes massive shifts in the media shifts in media environments that have been observed in recent years in the course of digitization and the associated technical convergence of transmission paths and end devices as well as the differentiation of media and communication services (Couldry 2012, Deuze 2011, Napoli 2011). devices and the differentiation of media and communication services (Couldry 2012, Deuze 2011, Napoli 2011). These shifts are being intensively with regard to their consequences for the communicative foundations of society and a renewed and a renewed “structural change of the public sphere” (Münch/Schmidt 2005) (see also Gripsrud 2009). This article takes up these developments by focusing on “digital public sphere(s)” and providing a conceptual approach to the empirical empirical analysis of the transformation of public spheres.

Social change is often characterized on the basis of the formations of audiences, i.e. the basic structures of public spheres, that are considered typical for the time in question. The mass society was characterized by the audiences of mass media offerings that included the majority of the population, the target group or experience society by the audiences of target group offerings that were finely tuned to specific lifestyles, and the network society by the networked individuality of users of online services. and users of online services. This points to the fact that processes of public communication, through which – at different levels, e.g. local, regional, national, supranational or translocal – public spheres are constituted, involve not only institutionalized communicators, the communication offerings they produce and the the various actors in the intermediary system (Jarren/Steiner 2009), media users also play a significant media users are also significantly involved: Only in the communicative action of those who, primarily in an audience role and usually mediated via media offerings, are with the statements made by institutionalized communicators and who in one way or another exchange and communicate with others in one way or another,
publics are constituted.

About the author

Uwe Hasebrink
After studying psychology and German philology in Hamburg, Prof. Dr. Uwe Hasebrink worked
in Hamburg, he initially worked for three years as a research assistant at the Institute for Social Psychology at the University of Hamburg. He has been working at the Hans Bredow Institute since 1986, initially as a scientific consultant and from 1988 as managing consultant. In 1998 he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Institute. In 1999, he held a professorship for communication science at the Hanover University of Music and Drama. In spring 2001, he was jointly appointed by the University of Hamburg and the Hans Bredow Institute appointed him to a professorship for “Empirical Communication Studies”. Since 2009, he has been a member of the board of directors of the Research Center for Media and Communication (RCMC), which brings together university and non-university media and communication research in Hamburg, and at the same time a member of the spokesperson team of the Graduate School Media and Communication, which is funded as part of the Hamburg Excellence Initiative. He was also from 1998 to 2003, he was also spokesman for the Reception Research Section of the German Society for Journalism and Communication Studies (DGPuK) from 1998 to 2003, co-editor of the publication series “Reception Research” from 2003 to 2007, and a member of the Management Committee of the International Radio Research Network (IREN).
He has been a member of the Executive Board of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) since 2004 and a member of the International Board of the “Journal of Children and Media” since 2009. His research at the Institute focuses on the areas of media use and media content as well as media policy; in recent years these have mainly been: individual usage patterns and media repertoires, convergence of media from the user’s perspective, the consequences of online media for traditional media, media use by children and young people, forms of audience participation and safeguarding user interests vis-à-vis the media as well as European media and European audiences.