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‘Events don’t have an existence independent from the media’

Published on 26. Juni 2015, 00:00 h

Communications expert Hans Mathias Kepplinger to lecture at Bielefeld conference

Does an event exist for its own sake or because it looks good in the media? ‘Many of the events reported by the media are consequences of prior reporting,’ says Professor Dr. Hans Mathias Kepplinger. The communications expert is addressing an international conference being held by the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS) at Bielefeld University from Monday, 29 June to Wednesday, 1 July. Roughly 30 young academics will be discussing such issues as how events occur and proceed and which structures are effective in their backgrounds (the title of the conference is ‘Structures and Events – A Dialogue between History and Sociology’). 

Der Mainzer Kommunikationsforscher Hans Mathias Kepplinger beleuchtet das Zusammenspiel zwischen Ereignissen und Medien. Foto: privat
Der Mainzer Kommunikationsforscher Hans Mathias Kepplinger beleuchtet das Zusammenspiel zwischen Ereignissen und Medien. Foto: privat
‘The events reported by the media do not have an existence independent from the media,’ says Kepplinger. And he even goes one step further: many events, he is convinced, would not occur at all if the media were not expected to report them. ‘In crises, conflicts, and scandals, events are not just causes; reports on them are not always consequences. It is far more the case that the reports on events are frequently a means to an end – they are applied instrumentally to evoke specific impressions and effects. As a result, a purely causal perspective fails to address the crux of the matter.’ In his lecture ‘Ereignisse als Gegenstand öffentlicher Kommunikation’ [Events as an object of public communication], to be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday 30 June, Kepplinger will analyse the interplay between media and events.

Young academics from 13 different countries including India, Nigeria, and the United States will be presenting the results of their research in sociology and history. Topics will include, for example, the ‘Business of Heartache’ in which the speakers will compare the financial consequences of marital separation in Germany and Great Britain. Researchers will examine the debate on abortion in Poland and religious peace movements in Guatemala or reconstruct the origins of the most recent financial crisis. Alongside current topics, they will also discuss historical cases. In addition, two experts will be presenting their findings on the topic: the opening lecture by the sociologist Professor Dr. Tobias Werron (University of Bonn) will deal with simultaneity as a historical and sociological problem. Professor William Sewell (University of Chicago, USA) will show how the structuring of time has changed over the course of human history.

The BGHS annual conference is being organized by five doctoral students working on their PhDs at the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology. Since 2009, the conference has served as a forum at which young academics can discuss their current research work on an international level.

Location:
Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF), Bielefeld University
Time: The conference starts on Monday, 29 June at 3 p.m. Those interested are invited to come and listen at the opening day and join in in the discussions. Participation is free of charge.

The Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS) is an institute providing structured doctoral training in history and sociology at Bielefeld University. It takes an international orientation, is open to topics within the entire breadth of the disciplines involved, and thrives on interdisciplinary exchange. It is one of two projects at Bielefeld University that have been funded since 2007 as part of the German Universities Excellence Initiative.

Further information is available online at:

www.uni-bielefeld.de/bghs/Programm/Ansem
www.uni-bielefeld.de/bghs/

Contact:
Thomas Abel, Bielefeld University
Public Relations, Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS)
Telephone: 0521 106-6527
Email: bghs@uni-bielefeld.de

Ramy Youssef, Bielefeld University
Organization team Annual Seminar 2015
Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS)
Telephone: 0521 106-6515
Email: ramy.youssef@uni-bielefeld.de  
 

 

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