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Application Deadline: April 30, 2021

Cologne Summer School on Opinion Form!ng Processes in Digital Democracies from July 26 - August 6, 2021

We developed a hybrid format with an onsite and online option. In this way we can guarantee you that the summer school will take place regardless of the unforseeable circumstances. Therefore, you can choose between two options:

Eight students participate onsite at the University of Cologne while 20 students take part simultaneously online. The onsite group shares their cultural experiences with the online group during special time slots. If onsite participation is impossible, this group of eight students joins the online group of 20 students.

A group of 20 students participates entirely online while eight students participate at the University of Cologne. If the school must take place entirely online, we will build one group of 28 students in total.


Nowadays, information creation, selection and interpretation are becoming more and more complex since new structures caused by digitization are established. This widens the spectrum within which these processes take place on both individual and societal level.

The program focuses on implications and specific impacts on Law, Politics, Social Media Communications which are to be discussed from the perspective of opinion forming processes. 

Furthermore, we focus on the changes regarding journalistic text production and publishing processes in our digitized world. The questions we will be asking during the summer school are sorted into the following subtopics: Psychology, Mass and Social Media, Journalism, Freedom of Spreech and Freedom of Press in Digital Democracies.



•    How do we form our opinion nowadays? Are there differences in an offline opinion building process and in an online opinion building process?
•    What can (media) psychology teach us about the way we construct our opinions in the digitized world? To what extent is it still possible to construct our reality ourselves and which strategies can we use to cope with the intransparent influence of algorithms?


•    How do the mechanisms of mass media change in a digitized world and how does this (re)shape their role in opinion forming processes?
•    How does social media as a consequence of massive convergence and yet individualization change our access to information and our interpretation of the content we consume?
•    How can we distinguish opinion from valuable information in the internet?
•    In what regard did the role of personal opinion change in times of digitization?
•    What are the changes in journalism that are caused by a constantly increasing struggle for the user’s attention and what are recent techniques to meet the requirements for search engine optimization (SEO) and social media distribution?


•    Does technology change our view on democracy and if yes, how? What is the modern perspective on democracy? Actually everyone is free to express their opinion online, so how can technology be a hurdle for democracy?
•    Which social media instruments are implemented in political contexts as part of election campaigns?


•    Where does social media lead us in a global perspective? How do technology based instruments like social bots and algorithms change the opinion landscape/s in which we immerse on a daily basis? Should it be allowed that global players delete posts like Facebook and Twitter which they regard false and misleading? What is a proper basis for these decisions to be made?
•    How do investigative journalists cooperate internationally in order to reveal illegal conduct in democracies and other forms of government?


Sounds interesting?

Below you will find links to the flyer and the application form. We are looking forward to your application! 

Contact Cologne Summer Schools

Victoria Busch, M.A. & Marina Dikova, B.Sc.
Project Coordinator Cologne Summer Schools / Project Associate Cologne Summer Schools

Universitätsstraße 22a

50923 Cologne

Telefon +49-221-470 1394
E-Mail CologneSummerSchools[at]verw.uni-koeln.de