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Die Echokammer-Hypothese: Fragmentierung der Öffentlichkeit und politische Polarisierung durch digitale Medien?

  • Jan Philipp Rau
  • Sebastian StierEmail author
Literaturbericht

Zusammenfassung

Inwiefern digitale Medien politische Prozesse beeinflussen ist eine intensiv diskutierte Frage inner- und außerhalb der Politikwissenschaft. Besondere Prominenz in dieser Debatte hat dabei die Hypothese sogenannter „Echokammern“ gewonnen, wonach digitale Medien ihre Nutzer darin bestärken, insbesondere solche Nachrichten zu beziehen, deren politische Positionierung sie teilen, und dadurch zu einer gesellschaftlichen Polarisierung beitragen. Während Echokammern in der öffentlichen Debatte zumeist unkritisch als gegeben betrachtet werden, wird das Konzept im wissenschaftlichen Diskurs zunehmend hinterfragt. Als Herausforderungen erweisen sich dabei eine schwache theoretische Aufarbeitung des Phänomens, ein stark zersplittertes Forschungsfeld und eine mangelnde Generalisierbarkeit von Forschungsergebnissen aufgrund des primären Fokus auf den US-amerikanischen Kontext. Der vorliegende Beitrag begegnet diesen Problemstellungen und gibt einen detaillierten Überblick über das Forschungsfeld. Der Literaturüberblick trägt dabei zur theoretischen Erfassung des Untersuchungsgegenstands bei, insbesondere durch eine explizite Differenzierung zwischen Fragmentierung und Polarisierung, und berücksichtigt außerdem länderspezifische Variationen. Insgesamt kommt dieser Überblick zu dem Schluss, dass die im öffentlichen Diskurs geäußerte Furcht vor einer gesamtgesellschaftlichen Fragmentierung durch digitale Medien und einer damit verbundenen politischen Polarisierung empirisch nicht unterstützt wird. So ist aufbauend auf die bisherige Forschung keine Fragmentierung öffentlicher Aufmerksamkeit entlang politischer Präferenzen feststellbar. Auch auf der Wirkungsebene der Polarisierung sprechen die bisherigen Erkenntnisse gegen die vereinfachten Annahmen der Echokammer-Hypothese. Dennoch sind die bisherigen wissenschaftlichen Befunde aufgrund von Limitationen im Datenzugang noch nicht umfassend genug. Der Beitrag verdeutlicht, dass die politische Kommunikationsforschung insbesondere von innovativen, extern validen Designs und komparativer Forschung außerhalb des US-Kontexts profitieren würde.

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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Strategic DialogueLondonGroßbritannien
  2. 2.Abteilung Computational Social ScienceGESIS – Leibniz-Institut für SozialwissenschaftenKölnDeutschland

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