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.


Maier, D., Stoltenberg, D., Pfetsch, B., & Waldherr, A. (2022). Talking to My Community Elsewhere: Bringing Together Networked Public Spheres and the Concept of Translocal Communities. In Million, A., Haid, C., Castillo Ulloa, I., & Baur, N. (eds.), Spatial Transformations. Kaleidoscopic Perspectives on the Refiguration of Spaces London: Routledge.

Keinert, A., Sayman, V., & Maier, D. (2021). Relational communication spaces: Infrastructures and discourse practices. Media and Communication, 9(3), p. 86-96.

Keinert, A., Stoltenberg, D., Pfetsch, B., & Waldherr, A. (2021). Auf der Suche nach translokalen Öffentlichkeiten. In Hoerning, J. & Misselwitz, P. (eds.), Räume in Veränderung – Ein visuelles Lesebuch (p. 190-201). Berlin: Jovis Verlag.

Maier, D., Baden, C., Stoltenberg, D., de Vries-Kedem, M., & Waldherr, A. (2021). Machine Translation Vs. Multilingual Dictionaries: Assessing Two Strategies for the Topic Modeling of Multilingual Text Collections. Communication Methods and Measures.

Pfetsch, B., Maier, D., Stoltenberg, D., Waldherr, A., Kligler-Vilenchik, N., & de Vries Kedem, M. (2021). Topographies of Local Public Spheres on Social Media: The Scope of Issues and Interactions. International Journal of Communication, 15, p. 3645-3670.

Stoltenberg, D. (2021). Issue Spatiality: A Conceptual Framework for the Role of Space in Public Discourses. Media and Communication, 9(3), p. 48-58.

Stoltenberg, D., Pfetsch, B., & Waldherr, A. (2021). Geolokalisierung digitaler Daten. In Heinrich, A.J., Marguin, S., Million, A., & Stollmann, J. (eds.), Methoden der qualitativen Raumforschung. Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch (p. 445-456). Bielefeld: transcript.

Waldherr, A., Klinger, U., & Pfetsch, B. (eds.). (2021). Spaces, Places, and Geographies of Public Spheres [Special Issue].

Waldherr, A., Klinger, U., & Pfetsch, B. (2021). Spaces, Places, and Geographies of Public Spheres: Exploring Dimensions of the Spatial Turn. Media and Communication, 9(3), p. 1-4.

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 (p. 83-101). Bielefeld: transcript.

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 (p. 144-173). Köln: Herbert von Halem.

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.