Practitioner’s Perspective: Medialization and Scholarship: A Historian’s Point of View

  • Paul Nolte
Part of the Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook book series (SOSC, volume 28)


The article aims at an exemplary assessment of the relationship between academic scholars and the media and public. Paul Nolte, a contemporary historian at the Free University Berlin and noted German public intellectual, embarks on a self-critical analysis of several tensions that shape the field of medialized academia, particularly in Germany. The role of historians in the media and public discourse has traditionally been significant in this country, and has been reinforced by the Nazi legacy and the role of historians (along with social scientists) as public educators in democracy. Tensions arise at least in three dimensions: (1) The role of the “expert” is to be distinguished from that of the “public intellectual”, yet the media are often confused about this. (2) The media tend to focus on individuals and attempt to brand a name, yet scholars have to be aware of the institutional foundation of their work, i.e., their particular university or research institute as a collective enterprise. (3) Media appropriation of scholars and academic knowledge functions along different mechanisms in written outlets (newspapers, magazines, blogs) as opposed to broadcasts in radio and TV.


Scholarly Work Academic Integrity Public Intellectual Talk Show Current Affair 
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  1. Lepsius, M. R. (1964). Kritik als Beruf. Zur Soziologie des Intellektuellen. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 16, 75–91.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Free University Berlin

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