Algorithmed Public Spheres



Please see our current call for fellows (2019-2020).

Algorithms have emerged both as a prominent object of academic study and a fixture in the public imagination in recent years. As the use of digital media permeates all areas of life, at least for those citizens who own a smartphone and have regular access to the internet, the processes by which digital media is filtered, selected, and assembled as a result of algorithmic targeting and personalization come under increased scrutiny.

The postdoctoral research network Algorithmed Public Spheres at the Hans-Bredow-Institut for Media Research at the University of Hamburg sets out to study the relevance of algorithms for the constitution of the public sphere. We emphasize in particular the importance of algorithms for filtering, ranking and selecting media content and for structuring digital communication, in contrast to the use of predictive data analytics in areas such as healthcare, credit scoring and general business analytics, where such tech techniques have a long tradition. How are media and communication in particular impacted by transferring the dominant logics of consumption from other industries to news, information and public discourse?


An international and interdisciplinary annual cohort of postdoctoral fellows forms the heart of the network. Postdoctoral fellows stay at the Hans Bredow Institute in Hamburg for a period between three and twelve months and conduct independent research, while also contributing to research at the institute through presentations in the colloquium, joint working papers, and other collaborative activities, such as workshops and roundtable discussions. See our call for fellows.


Affiliate researchers are members of the network who contribute through a range of activities while being present in Hamburg for shorter stays, usually of a few weeks to a month. They are encouraged to give talks on their current research, as well as participate in other activities.


We are looking for applicants from across the social and technical sciences, i.e. from media and communication science, political science, sociology, anthropology and related fields, as well as from computer science, information science, machine learning and computational linguistics. Ideal candidates have completed their PhD no more than two years ago, and have a keen interest in researching the inner workings, immediate effects and long-term implications on the the digital media and communication ecology.

Living and working in Hamburg

Hamburg is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city and a center of the German media industry, with internationally recognized news organizations such as the Der Spiegel and Die Zeit headquartered in the city. The HBI maintains close ties to the University of Hamburg and other research institutes regionally, nationally, and internationally.

The research network is part of the Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research. You can find more information about the Hans Bredow Institute here.

Image credits: The Atlantic