Hartmut Rosa presents a working paper on ‚Social Media Filters and Resonances: Democracy and the Contemporary Public Sphere‘

Democratic conceptions of politics are tacitly or explicitly predicated upon a functioning arena for the formation of public opinion in an associated media-space. Policy making thus requires a reliable connection to processes of ‘public’ will-formation. These processes formed the focus for Habermas’ influential study on the Public Sphere. This contribution presents a look at more recent ‘structural transformations, the causes of which are by no means limited to social media communication, and examines its consequences. It proceeds in three steps: 1) In some proximity to Habermas, but also by means of the theory of resonance, it seeks to determine the kind of public sphere that a democratic polity requires. 2) An analysis of problems within the contemporary public sphere will feed into 3) a discussion of the conditions for the restoration of a ‘functioning political public sphere’. These include changes in the realms of participation, representation and spaces of encounter

Gabriel Malli presents a working paper on ‚Religious subjectivity in new social media: the discursive construction of the modest self‘

The following paper addresses the construction of moral subject positions – understood as normative templates for “proper” religious conduct and self-understanding – in Islamic Web 2.0 discourse. In the first section, I discuss four distinctive features of online based social media (participatory potentials, community building, multisensory character, technical infrastructure) with regard to their consequences for the production and reception of religious discursive knowledge. Acknowledging that also purist and fundamentalist Islamic agents make use of Web 2.0 potentials, in the second part of the paper I present empirical findings from certain positions of Islamic gender discourse on YouTube, labelled as religious-authoritative. In their discursive practice they produce strictly binary moral codes of gendered con-duct based on certain conceptions of a God-willed order. Relating to every-day situations of a mostly young audience, they constitute a certain model of subjectivity – the modest self – characterized by self-disciplination and rigid gender practice.