Socio-Political Impacts of Media, Communication and Culture

Newspaper Politics

ERMeCC Research Theme

Media have a profound impact on the ways in which our reality is constructed; they inform and help shape our ideas and beliefs about society, politics and culture. News and entertainment media offer particular representations of reality through selection, framing and discourse. But the public sphere is also influenced by citizen groups, audiences, profit and non-profit organizations, corporations, lobby groups, which are all engaged in mediatized social, political, commercial and cultural practices. Within these practices, we investigate the struggle over meaning by media and media users; how media and other communications can bear the traces of these struggles, but also how representations are constitutive of them. Hoe can media representations concurrently construct new or reinforce dominant ways of thinking about the social world and relations in it?

We particularly consider the implications for three areas of social life: social relationships and identities, the logic(s) of politics, and the public sphere, devoting specific attention to the ways in which social actors - consumers, citizens, social groups or protest movements, political organizations, and government institutions - use the representational opportunities of media to advocate their views and positions in society. Questions for research are, for instance: How do young people use online media in their political practices? What is the role of media performances in managing and negotiating the consequences of politics? What is the role and position of social media and entertainment media in the representation of diversity? How do organizations contribute to the well-being of local communities? What socio-political impact does popular media culture have on people’s beliefs and values?

The research in this cluster is closely connected with current projects in the EUR-wide Vital Cities and Citizens research initiative.


ERMeCC researchers focus on the following subjects:

  • Social and ethical issues that are connected to media practices, including the proliferating use of algorithms, privacy negotiations, and various forms of surveillance (Lee, Pridmore, Trottier, Gabdulhakov, Huang, Mols, Oomen, Young, Scalvini)
  • Media framing and representation of politics, gender, ethnicity, race, sexuality, religion, conflict, suffering, social movements cultural differences (Engelbert, Hermans, Kester, Krijnen, Van Lienden, Sommier, Van Sterkenburg, Evolvi, Wu)
  • Issues of media, democracy and citizenship, online media, young people and political practices (Awad, Dumitrica, Engelbert, Van Eldik, Goncalvez, Gong, Jansz, Lee, Kneer, Neys, Nikken, Shihomake Uribe Sandoval)
  • Health communication and social policies (Antunes da Silva, Bouman, Lutkenhaus, Yang)
  • Corporate responsibility and the public sphere (Chaudhri, Le, Van Prooijen, Wang, Mittal)


Listed below is a selection of research projects by ERMeCC scholars in this area.

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