Alexa Keinert

B05: Translocal Networks

Research Associate

Freie Universität Berlin
Institute for Media and Communication Studies
Otto-von-Simson-Straße 3
14195 Berlin


  • Since 10/2020

    Research associate on project B05 “Translocal Networks” of the CRC 1265 “Re-figuration of Spaces”, Department of Media and Communication Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

  • 02/2019 – 01/2021

    Research associate on project “Digital Transformation of Local Public Spheres” (Prof. Dr. Ulrike Klinger), Department of Media and Communication Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

  • 10/2016 – 12/2018

    M.A. “Media and Political Communication”, Freie Universität Berlin

  • 02/2014 – 12/2018

    Student assistant on a sub-project of the DFG-funded research group “Political Communication in the Online World”, Institute for Media and Communication Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

  • 10/2012 – 09/2016

    B.A. “Media and Communication Studies” and “Political Science”, Freie Universität Berlin

Research Focus

    • Public spheres theory

    • Communication and space

    • Social media and social movements

    • Mixed methods design, especially network and content analysis


Working Title: The emergence of public communication

As a central category and research interest in communication studies, the concept of the public sphere, while being subject to constant scrutiny, provides a good indication of the current discussions in the discipline. In line with profound technological and societal transformations and several so-called turns in the social sciences, such as the spatial turn or the practice turn, the theory of a public sphere as predominately developed by Jürgen Habermas has been questioned time and again. This has led to many important theoretical developments, adapting the concept to new realities of communicating in a digitalised and globalised reality. But how can we research and investigate those forms and networks of public communication that cross borders and scales, that blur distinctions between private and public, speaker and recipient? And from which practices and imaginations does public communication emerge and become institutionalised? While conceptual approaches emphasise the complex, processual, relational and interactive nature of public communication, empirical research all too often only investigates certain forms and aspects of public communication and public spheres. Applying a mixed-methods design, the dissertation project will combine and integrate different commonly-used methods of investigating public communication and public spheres to give consideration to these characteristics of public communication. Using mapping techniques and visualisations, the thesis aims to retrace and create a comprehensive picture of the processes and practices which let public communication emerge. These insights will eventually aid in identifying conceptual and methodological desiderata of public sphere research.


    • Keinert, A., Heft, A., & Dogruel, L. (2019): Wie sehen News Entrepreneurs die Zukunft ihrer Profession? Vier Thesen zum Journalismus von morgen. In: Journalistik. Zeitschrift für Journalismusforschung, 2(3), S. 171-188.

    • Maier, D., Waldherr, A., Miltner, P., Wiedemann, G., Niekler, A., Keinert, A., Pfetsch, B., Heyer, G., Reber, U., Häussler, T., Schmid-Petri, H., & Adam, S. (2018): Applying LDA topic modeling in communication research: Toward a valid and reliable methodology. Communication Methods and Measures (Special Issue: Computational Methods), 12(2-3), 93-118.