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IP 8 (Phase I): Democracy in the media society - Theoretical support and empirical validation of a societal term

Do the media (still) offer a service to society, democracy, and politics? What social ties do the media (still) have and how do they offer a public service? Which structural changes have affected the media since the last third of the 20th century, and which effects do they have on public communication?

These questions are highly important because public communication is crucial for the (self-) regulation of democratic societies. Democracy requires that problems can be defined, discussed and “brought” to the political system; second, generally all citizens have to be able to participate in building opinions, forming will and making decisions; third, politics has to be controlled.

The project examines how the mass media have changed over the last 40-50 years, developing considerably in potency and emerging as an institution in the public sphere. It measures both the transformation of media structures (by developing a System of Media Society Indicators SMI) and the effects of this transformation on public communication by conducting content analyses in order to find out how media coverage has changed over time. The project compares the media systems and media coverage of Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain and Switzerland form 1960 to 2005.

More information on the project:

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Patrik Ettinger and Linards Udris

Project leader:
Prof. Kurt Imhof, University of Zurich


Dr. Jens Lucht, University of Zurich
Linards Udris, University of Zurich
Anna Vetsch, University of Zurich
Andrea Wäckerle, University of Zurich