Digital Society – International Summer School 2019

Social Media as a Digital Agora for Political Arguments, Opinions, and Ideas?


In ancient Greece, a central part of social life took place at the agora. At this physical venue, citizens did not only trade all kinds of commodities, but also deliberate about important societal issues and politics. Therefore, the agora can be considered as the birthplace of democracy. Today, social media seem to bring this ancient Greek idea into a digital world: Services such as YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram enable citizens not only to publish political thoughts or initiatives in the form of videos, pictures, or status entries but also to have civically relevant interactions with other citizens at large scale. While this might be seen as a potentially enriching tool for democratic societies, nowadays, it also has to be discussed in the light of less desirable observations such as uncivilized exchanges (“hate speech”), the spread of misinformation (“fake news”), the presence of manipulative entities (“social bots”), or communication in ideologically homogeneous spheres (“filter bubbles” or “echo chambers”). 

To understand how social media changed our understanding of social interaction and our ways to deliberate on sociopolitical topics, an interdisciplinary approach is needed. Therefore, the Summer School will examine this complex and broad issue from several scientific perspectives.

The International Summer School “Social Media as a Digital Agora for Arguments, Opinions, and Ideas?”, hosted by the Department of Social Psychology: Media & Communication at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, is the 2nd Summer School of the Digital Society research program funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia. The interdisciplinary Summer School addresses PhD students and offers advanced workshops as well as  lectures by local and international speakers, and opportunities to connect senior and junior scholars to outline a research agenda and develop specific research ideas.




Application Deadline: 
April 20, 2019

Acceptance Notifications: 
May 10, 2019

Summer School: 
July 15th - July 19th, 2019


Snow                         Mountains