Research Projects

Since 02/2022

Reconciling China and the West, joint network between Prof. Xuelian Jin, PhD, Deshan Yang M.Ed., Prof. Dr. Marc Oliver Rieger, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Thomas Herdin, M.A., Prof. Dr. em. Eberhard Sandschneider, Ivana Beveridge, PhD

The global order in a post-pandemic world is increasingly dominated by geo-political and economic tensions between the West and the Non-Western world, especially with regards to China. The digitalization of all life-spheres aside post-pandemic challenges bear both opportunities and challenges for the world order to come in the next decades. For example, China is usually ascribed a ‘Soft Power’ strategy in dealing with the rest of the world whereas the West sees its core competencies in promoting its cultural values such as strengthening of democratic values.

In this context, it remains essential to establish nuanced, balanced, and moderate theoretical and empirical approaches to counteract discourses that fall in line with so-called novel Cold-War-narratives between China and its allies and the West. In this network and in various sub-research-projects, we seek to overcome dichotomous approaches and diversify the perspectives in order to promote inter-, trans- and cultural understanding between China and the West. Moreover, we aim to strengthen ambiguity tolerance in an increasingly pluralistic and poly-centric world order to address sustainable, long-term oriented and viable exchange and solutions between the different global powers. In an ideal setting, mutual respect, based on various levels of analytic research enquiry and policy-making, will contribute to tackling the prosperous co-existence of both China and the Western World.

03/2018 - 03/2020

De-Westernizing Visual Communication and Cultures, led by Assoc. Prof. Thomas Herdin, in cooperation with Prof. Guo-Ming Chen

The edited volume as an output of the project gave voice to pluralized avenues from visual communication and cultural studies regarding the Global South and beyond, including examples from China, India, Cambodia, Brazil, Mexico and numerous other countries. Defining visual communication and culture as an umbrella term that encompasses imagery studies, the moving image and non-verbal visual communication, the first three chapters of the book describe de-Westernisation discourse as a way to strengthen emic research and the Global South as both a geographical concept and, even more so, a category of diversity and pluralism. The subsequent regional case study-based chapters draw on various emic theories and methodologies and find a complex arrangement of visuality between sociocultural and sociopolitical practices and institutions. This book targetsa wide range of scholars: academics with expertise in (regional) visual studies as well as researchers, students and practitioners working on the Global South and De-Westernisation. With contributions by Jan Bajec, Sarah Corona Berkin, Ivana Beveridge, Birgit Breninger, Guo-Ming Chen, Uttaran Dutta, Maria Amália Vargas Façanha, Maria Faust, Hiroko Hara, Thomas Herdin, Thomas Kaltenbacher, Fan Liang, Xin Lu, C.S.H.N.Murthy, Ana Karina de Oliveira Nascimento, Simeona Petkova, Radmila Radojevic, Renata Wojtczak.

04/2017 - 04/2018

Visual Online Communication in BRICS countries

Visual Online Content here referred to imagery, GIFs, emoticons, pictures and other visual means that accompany text in an online environment, non inclusive of the audiovisual content and moving images. Despite the increasing prominence of visual online content on social media such as WeChat, Weibo, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as traditional mass media websites across the BRICS countries, comparative academic studies focused on visual content were scarce. Recent discussions focused on plurality of emoticons such as hijabs, or emoticons with different facial color. Despite discussions in the public sphere, there was a lack of cross-cultural studies looking at the differences in imagery. This special section therefore filled this research desiderate. Arguably, a lack of visual communication research in the BRICS countries is attributed to the prevalent Western tradition in communication research. This special section also overcame the dominance of Western approaches in visual communications research.

06/2013 - 01/2014

Theory Development in Communication Studies, led by  Prof. Hans-Jörg Stiehler, in cooperation with Dr. Felix Frey, Sebastian Hagen M.A. and Sebastian Koch M.A.

This research project aimed at collecting and advancing methodological tools and practices for theory building in communication and media studies.“Theory building” or “theory development” was characterized as a creative problem solving process of generating novel or modifying existing conceptual structures (statements about concepts and their relations) with the aim of describing and explaining phenomena better than be-fore. The edited collection was interested in a methodological discussion of cognitive operations, individual and social practices, and empirical approaches researchers use in this process of theory building. It, moreover, aimed at stimulating the scholarly reflection and discourse about methods and methodology of theory building across all sub-fields of communication studies.

01/2012 - 12/2012

Yin Yang –A New Perspective on Culture, led by Prof. Tony Fang, PhD, in cooperation with Gabriele Ziese M.A.; funded by Stockholm University School of Business with a global cross-cultural management workshop in 2012

Based on the indigenous Chinese philosophy of Yin Yang, culture was conceptualized as possessing inherently paradoxical value orientations, thereby enabling it to embrace opposite traits of any given cultural dimension. It was posited that potential paradoxical values coexist in any culture; that, they give rise to, exist within, reinforce, and complement each other to shape the holistic, dynamic, and dialectical nature of culture. Seen from the Yin Yang perspective, all cultures share the same potential in value orientations, but at the same time they are also different from each other because each culture is a unique dynamic portfolio of self-selected globally available value orientations as a consequence of that culture's all-dimensional learning over time.

01/2011 - 10/2012

Setup of a literature data base on time as part of the Network ‘Time Research’, part of the German Society for Time Politics (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Zeitpolitik e.V. (DGfZP e.V.), in cooperation with Dipl. Elke Großer

The project aimed at developing a literature data base, compiling time literature from various fields of social and natural sciences as well as novels, essays, non-fictional works and other genres. The data base was compiled in Citavi and consisted of more than 1.500 titles as of 2012.