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Theorizing Publics

Under Authoritarian Rule

Workshop Program, June 19-21, 2019

Foto: David Ausserhofer

Wednesday, June 19

19:00 Welcome dinner

Thursday, June 20

09:00 – 09:15 Opening of the workshop

09:15 – 10:30 Input presentations:

Slavko Splichal (University of Ljubljana)
The Orwellian doublethink: Private (sphere) is public (sphere)
Florian Toepfl (FU Berlin)
Theorizing authoritarian publics: A proposal
Moderator: Anna Litvinenko (FU Berlin)

10:00 – 10:30 Coffee break

11:00 – 12:30 Discussion panel I: Old and new arenas: Benefits and challenges of studying
(the) public(s) (spheres) in authoritarian contexts?
Contributors: Anke Fiedler (FU Berlin), Carola Richter (FU Berlin), Michael
Meyen (LMU München), Svetlana Bodrunova (St. Petersburg University)
Moderator: Katrin Voltmer (University of Leeds)

12:30 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 15:30 Discussion panel II: Can/should we adopt the concept of (the) public(s) (sphere)
to study political communication in authoritarian contexts?
Contributors: Barbara Pfetsch (FU Berlin), Daniela Stockmann (Hertie School
of Governance), Hartmut Wessler (University of Mannheim),
Lincoln Dahlberg (independent scholar, New Zealand)
Moderator: Slavko Splichal (University of Ljubljana)

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee break

16:00 – 17:00 Discussion panel III: Operationalization: How can we empirically analyze (the)
(digital) public(s) (spheres)?
Hanan Badr (FU Berlin)
Habermas in Tahrir: The public sphere and the Arab Spring
Andrei Zavadski (FU Berlin)
Counterpublics in authoritarian regimes

Marcus Kreutler (TU Dortmund)
Applying the concept of transnational public spheres to post-colonial media
Annett Heft (FU Berlin)
Digitalization and the transnational public sphere
Moderator: Florian Toepfl (FU Berlin)

17:00 – 17:45 Closing remarks and discussion

Closing notes: Lincoln Dahlberg (independent scholar, New Zealand),
Natalia Roudakova (Södertörn University)

18:00 Dinner

Friday, June 21

09:00 – 9:30 Input presentation:

Katrin Voltmer (University of Leeds)
Understanding publics in hybrid regimes: Communicating politics under uncertainty
Moderator: Svetlana Bodrunova (St. Petersburg University)

9:30 – 10:00 Coffee Break

10:00 – 11:30 Discussion panel IV: How can we compare public communication and (the)
public(s) (spheres) across different political contexts?
Contributors: Ingrid Volkmer (University of Melbourne),
Natalia Roudakova (Södertörn University), Susanne Fengler (TU Dortmund),
Anna Litvinenko (FU Berlin)
Moderator: Daniela Stockmann (Hertie School of Governance)

11:30 – 11:45 Coffee Break

11:45 – 12:15 Closing remarks & Discussing ideas for joint publications
Moderator: Anna Litvinenko (FU Berlin)

12:15 – 13:15 Lunch

13:30 Walk in Potsdam

This workshop is funded by an Emmy Noether grant sponsored by the German Research
Foundation DFG (grant number TO 699/3-1) and organized by the Emmy Noether research group
“Mediating (Semi-)Authoritarianism: The Power of the Internet in the Post-Soviet Region,”
Freie Universität Berlin.


Florian Toepfl -, +49 176 55227505 (group leader)

Anna Litvinenko -, +49 157 85352927
Daria Kravets -, +49 176 57606426
Andrei Zavadski -, +49 152 07786362


Name: conference
Password: zhnf95bj