Centre for Research in Communication and Culture


26 March 2021

Media Use and Collective Identity in East- and West-Berlin in the 1990s. A Biographical Approach.

Presented By Professor Maria Löblich and Elisa Pollack as part of the CRCC Seminar Series

About this event

Even 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, there are still significant differences in the way people in East and West Germany are using and evaluating available media. For instance, up until today public service broadcasters achieve higher rates of approval in the western parts of Germany. Media usage in Berlin is exemplary for these differences. Regional newspapers founded in GDR and in West-Berlin before 1989 still reach either mainly the western part of the city or the eastern. Earlier studies have explained those differences with a lack information processing skills originating from the GDR media system or referred to inhibited career opportunities after reunification. Unlike earlier studies, our approach follows the idea that a comparative approach to West and East Germans might generate another understanding of differences but perhaps also commonalities. Moreover, we develop a broad cognitive interest which integrates different explanations and, at the same time, goes beyond by focusing on a so far widely neglected issue: the connection between media usage and collective (or social) identity. We assume that the differences in the media usage have something to do with how people perceive their social identity regarding East/West. We present the theoretical foundation, design and first results of biographical interviews.

Maria Löblich:1996 to 2003 studied media and communication studies as well as cultural studies at the University of Leipzig. 2003 to 2009 research assistant, 2009 to 2015 academic adviser at the Institute for Communication Science and Media Research at LMU Munich. 2009 PhD on the empirical-social-scientific turn in journalism and newspaper studies. 2007 to 2010 spokeswoman for the junior forum for communication history. 2010 co-spokesperson, 2012 to 2016 spokesperson for the section on communication history of the German Society for Media and Communication Studies (DGPuK). 2012/13 Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University. 2013/14 substitute for Professorship III at the Institute for Communication Studies at TU Dresden. On January 1, 2016, appointment to the professorship for communication history and media cultures at the Free University of Berlin. 2016 habilitation at the LMU Munich.

Elisa Pollack: Since 2018 research assistant in the BMBF-funded research association "The media legacy of the GDR". 2015-2018 studies media and political communication at the Free University Berlin and the Erasmus University Rotterdam (MA). 2011-2015 studies of communication and media studies at the University of Leipzig (BA). Member of the German Society for Media and Communication Studies (DGPuK). Spokeswoman for the youth network communication history (NaKoge) of the section communication history of the DGPuK. Member of the study group for radio and history.

Contact details

  • Questions about this event? Contact the CRCC Seminar Series organisers