Subprojects | Project Area B | Spaces of Communication

Translocal Networks: Public Sphere in the Social Web

The project, led by Prof. Dr. Annie Waldherr (University of Vienna) and Prof. Dr. Barbara Pfetsch (FU Berlin), investigates digital urban public spheres, focusing on the Twitterspheres of Berlin and Jerusalem. The research is conducted in cooperation with Dr. Neta Kligler-Vilenchik and Dr. Maya de Vries Kedem (Hebrew University of Jerusalem).

Asking how virtual urban spaces are constituted through networked communication, the team investigates communicative relations among Twitter users, their spatial locations, and the topics they talk about. Daniela Stoltenberg and Alexa Keinert (FU Berlin) conduct research for the Translocal Networks project. In it, the team investigates the urban public spheres forming on Twitter in the cities of Berlin and Jerusalem: With whom, in what locations, and about what topics do Twitter users communicate? How do virtual urban public spheres emerge from this usage? How do users synthesise global and local, virtual and material, as well as public and private spatial reference points into individual figurations of space? What subjective spatial knowledge do they relate to this?

To approach these questions, the researchers collected Twitter data, which they investigate using network analysis, geo-coding, and automated content analysis procedures. To tie in this evidence on the societal level with subjective experiences, ego-networks and survey data were be collected for a group of particularly active users.

Project results reveal that places and spatial proximity remain critically important, even in digital networks with potentially global reach. At the same time, places become integrated into novel, translocal arrangements of public communication. Moreover, material conflicts and structures of spatial marginalization often become visible and are reproduced in digital communication.


Kligler-Vilenchik, N., de Vries, M., Maier, D., & Stoltenberg, D. (2020). Mobilization vs. Demobilization Discourses on Social Media. Political Communication.

Kligler-Vilenchik, N., Stoltenberg, D., de Vries, M., Gur-Ze'ev, H., Waldherr, A., & Pfetsch, B. (2020). Tweeting in the Time of Coronavirus: How Social Media Use and Academic Research Evolve during Times of Global Uncertainty. Social Media + Society.

Maier, D., Niekler, A., Wiedemann, G., & Stoltenberg, D. (2020). How document sampling and vocabulary pruning affect the results of topic models. Computational Communication Research, 2(2).

Pfetsch, B., Heft, A., & Knüpfer, C. (2019). Transnationale Öffentlichkeiten in der Digitalen Gesellschaft: Konzepte und Forschungsperspektiven. In A. Hofmann, N. Kersting, C. Ritzi & W. Schünemann (eds.), Politik in der digitalen Gesellschaft Bielefeld: transcript, p. 83-101.

Stoltenberg, D., & Maier, D. (2019). Descriptive Methods for Investigating Dynamics in Online Networks. In Müller, P., Geiß, S., Schemer, C., Naab, T. & Peter, C. (eds.), Dynamische Prozesse der öffentlichen Kommunikation Methodische Herausforderungen Köln: Herbert von Halem, p. 144-173.

Stoltenberg, D., Maier, D., & Waldherr, A. (2019).  Community detection in civil society online networks: Theoretical guide and empirical assessment. Social Networks, 59, p. 120-133.

Wehden, L.-O. & Stoltenberg, D. (2019). So Far, Yet So Close: Examining Translocal Twitter Audiences of Regional Newspapers in Germany. Journalism Studies, 20(10), p. 1400-1420.