This doctoral program considers the developments, contexts and characteristics of several forms of social communication through theoretically diverse and empirically inter-disciplinary approaches, including mass media communication and contemporary digital practices in the so-called post-mass media era. The program addresses crucial reasons, specifics and consequences of the transformations of social communication from micro perspectives and within broader macro social, cultural and political structures. As such, this doctoral program reflects the selected theoretical notions of communication changes either in the form of concrete critical analyses of recent phenomena, manifested in communication processes and new media platforms, or through comparative case studies of selected media and communication practices within a specific political or historical context.
Therefore, Communication Studies focuses on a conceptual understanding, empirical explanation and critical reflection on the main social changes that come along the intensive rise of convergent, mobile and transmedia culture. Students are invited to address a number of distinctive topics: the political, social or ideological context of the development of media technologies; the formation and transformation of contemporary media systems; the role of the globalization and trans-nationalization of communication and media production; changes in the public sphere and political communication and shifting relations between media, democracy and political power. In addition, the students develop skills related to the dilemmas of media regulation and freedom of communication, privacy and publicness, the influence of communication technologies and practices of citizenship, and civil society. The program also addresses questions related to the rise of populism, nationalism and extremism in the mediatized public sphere, focusing in particular on the role of alternative media and marginalized social groups. Together with such macro issues, Communication Studies critically evaluates contemporary communication practices within other public or semi-public spheres. It identifies, for instance, the notions, theories and conceptual changes of media and digital literacy; transformations of communication and technological culture within families and everyday life or changes in interpersonal relationships (among parents and children, peers or other narrower media publics), which are intensively mediatized and technologically driven.
To facilitate such a thematically diverse inquiry, the study program is also methodologically diverse. Students are offered a palette of research methods that foster a quantitative tradition of media and communication research, and acknowledges more in-depth and critical interpretative analysis. Since social communication is primarily studied as a social phenomenon, the study program implies experiences and skills from social sciences and interest in interdisciplinary approaches. In particular, acquaintance with media and social theories is expected, while expertise in political theory and digital and visual communication is also highly recommended.