Research group “(In)Visibility in the Digital Age”

In the digital age, visibility and invisibility become important categories to describe and explain communication, especially on the internet. The research group founded in 2018 investigates the following question: Which meaning does (in)visibility have in the digital world, how does it arise and which consequences does it have for individual actors, organisations, and societally relevant processes?

To answer this question, three dimensions are particularly relevant: The visibility of data, people and institutions, as well as structures and processes. It first concerns conditions of access and availability of information. Second, the visibility of people and institutions raises questions about their speaking competences and opinion leadership. Third but not last, the question of what becomes visible respectively is made (not) visible knowingly or unknowingly emerges. A structure- and process-related view focuses thereby on the significance of how digital communication becomes visible or is made visible.

The international research group approaches the topic of (in)visibility in the digital age from a communication and media research perspective. It consists of scientists from German, Austrian, Swedish, and Swiss universities, universities of applied sciences, and institutes which contribute expertise from central research fields in communication and media research. The participants represent different theoretical and empirical approaches which allow a broad conceptualisation of (in)visibility and depict the design and method spectrum common to the field.

The research group meets in regular intervals and initiates activities like studies and research projects, conferences, publications, as well as measures of knowledge transfer, e.g. for school concepts and young media consumers. The goal is to foster the scientific and public discourse on the topic and establish its discussion in the long term.

The research group was funded by the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS), Bochum, from 2018 to 2021 and will continue as a research network.

Research focus

  • Visibility
  • Invisibility
  • Digitalisation
  • Digital communication
  • Communication and media research