Prof. Dr. Friedrich Krotz
ZeMKI, University of Bremen

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Scopic Media. A Comparative Study of their Constitution, Use and Implications for Theories of Interaction and Global Society

Project leader: Prof. Dr. Karin Knorr Cetina

Project assistants: Stefan Beljean, Dr. Niklas Woermann, Dr. Werner Reichmann

This project is a comparative study of the production, functioning and consequences of scopic media for a theory of global social forms and will be conducted in areas of global, as well as interactional and bodily levels of scopic media use. Scopic media are screen-based technologies for monitoring and projection that render distant and invisible phenomena situationally present and hence open up new and remote spaces and information worlds, i.e., spaces of observation. The embedding of scopic media transforms one of the most fundamental concepts in sociology, the face-to-face situation, into mediatised “synthetic situations”. The empirical work of the first phase of the research project brought forward three important characteristics of this transformation which will be elaborated upon in the second phase of the research project: (1) The emergence of interaction, or rather media systems, by way of fission, pairing and coupling of situations, demanding particular forms of coordination as well as opening up links to the suppliers of the various scopic components; (2) media-typical consequences of the transformation, as for example in the form of audience and display effects and a 'celebrisation' of experience, as well as; (3) information-emotional consequences of synthetic situations, in the form of social imaginaries of the future, fatefulness and perceptions of risk. In the project we hold that the notion of a social situation prevailing in sociology, i.e., as based on face-to-face interaction, is in need of elaboration in accordance with these characteristics. To this purpose, the following case studies are part of the second phase of the project: finance (national debt management and „algorithmic trading“); e-sports; the military (infantry); telepresence and; brain imaging.


Research field: Action and interaction forms


Dirksen, Vanessa/ Huizing, Ard/ Smit, Bas (2010): Piling on Layers of Understanding: the Use of Connective Ethnography for the Study of (Online) Work Practices. In: New Media & Society, 12 (7), pp. 1045-1063.

Knorr Cetina, Karin (2014): Scopic Coordination. In: Lundby, Knut (Ed.): Mediatization of Communication. Berlin: de Gruyter, forthcoming.

Knorr-Cetina, Karin (2012): Skopische Medien: Am Beispiel der Architektur von Finanzmärkten. In: Krotz, Friedrich/Hepp, Andreas (Eds.): Mediatisierte Welten: Beschreibungsansätze und Forschungsfelder. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, pp. 167-195.

Knorr-Cetina, Karin (2012): What is a Financial Market? Global Markets as Microinstitutional Social Forms. In: Knorr Cetina, Karin/Preda, Alex (Eds.): Handbook of the Sociology of Finance. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 115-133.

Reichmann, Werner (2014) Wie wissen wir Wirtschaft? Die Quantifizierung der Wirtschaft als Mediatisierung & Wissenskultur. In: Cevolini, Alberto (ed.): Die Ordnung des Kontingenten. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, forthcoming.

Reichmann, Werner (2013): Epistemic participation: how to produce an economic forecast. In: Social Studies of Science, online first on 5 September 2013, doi: 10.1177/0306312713498641.

Reichmann, Werner (2012): Wirtschaftsbilder – Visualisierung wirtschaftswissenschaftlichen Wissens über Gegenwart und Zukunft. In: Lucht, Petra/Schmidt, Lisa‐Marian/Tuma, René (Eds.): Visuelles Wissen und Bilder des Sozialen. Aktuelle Entwicklungen in der visuellen Soziologie. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, pp. 341-355.

Woermann, Niklas (2012): On the Slope is on the Screen. Prosumtion, Social Media Practices and Scopic Systems in the Freeskiing Subculture. In: American Behavioral Scientist, 56 (4), pp. 618-640.

Woermann, Niklas (2012): Die unmögliche De-Visualisierung von Wissen – Über einige Sehpraktiken einer extremen Gemeinschaft. In: Lucht, Petra/Schmidt, Lisa-Marian/Tuma, René (Eds.): Visuelles Wissen und Bilder des Sozialen. Aktuelle Entwicklungen in der visuellen Soziologie. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, pp. 87-103.

Woermann, Niklas (2011): Innovation – Coordination and Evolution through Media Systems. In: Woermann, Niklas: Seeing Style. Intelligibility, Visual Order, and Social Practices. Dissertation at the Univerity St. Gallen, pp. 479-517. 


Beljean, Stefan: The Soldier of the Future: An Essay about Powerful New Technologies and the Power of Myth. Presentation at Graduate Students Conference der Harvard University, "Soldiering: The Afterlife of a Modern Experience" 2011-04.22 until 2011-04-23 in Cambridge, held 2011-04-23.

Dirksen, Vanessa: Scopic Media - Brain Imaging Technologies. Presentation at the Priority Program workshop „Handlungs- und Interaktionsformen“, 2011-12-21 until 2011-12-22 in Konstanz, held 2011-12-21.

Dirksen, Vanessa: Scopic Media and Telepresence: An Empirical Investigation of the Synthetic Situation. Presentation at the international conference "Mediatized Worlds: Culture and Society in a Media Age", 2011-04-13 until 2011-04-15 in Bremen, held 2011-04-15.

Knorr Cetina, Karin: Skopische Medien. Presentation at the „eikones“-Jahrestagung „Welterzeugung durch Bilder“, 2011-11-17 until 2011-11-19 in Basel, held 2011-11-18.

Knorr Cetina, Karin: KoEvolution der Aufmerksamkeit.  Presentation at the conference Ko-Evolution, 2011-09-14 until 2011-09-16 in Frankfurt am Main, held 2011-09-15.

Knorr Cetina, Karin: Theorizing the Market as an Organization Outside Organizations. Presentation at the ASA Theory Panel on Organizations, 106th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, 2011-08-20 until 2011-08-23 in Las Vegas, held 2011-08-22.

Knorr Cetina, Karin: Maverick Markets. Presentation at the 23rd Annual Meeting der Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, 23.06.2011-06-23 until 2011-06-25 in Madrid, held 2011-06-25.

Knorr Cetina, Karin: Synthetische Weltgesellschaft? Aspekte der medialen Grundlage von Vergleich und Welt. Presentation at the plenum ‘"Mikrostrukturen transnationaler Vergesellschaftung" of the Annual Conference of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie, 2010-10-11 until 2010-10-15 in Frankfurt am Main, held 2010-10-13.

Reichmann, Werner: Die seltsame, mächtige Visualisierung der wirtschaftlichen Zukunft. Skopische Medien - Wissenskulturen und Sehgemeinschaften. Presentation at the conference "Visualisierung - Mediatisierung" organized by the "visual communication" division within the DGPuK (German Communication Association) in cooperation with the priority program "Mediatized Worlds" at the University of Bremen, 2013-11-21 until 2013-11-23, held 2013-11-23.

Reichmann, Werner: Scientific Failure - The Meanings of Economic Forecast. Presentation at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in Denver (USA), 2012-08-17 until ­2012-08-20, held 2012-08-18.

Woermann, Niklas: Screen realities, synthetic situations, and scopic media. Session chair and organizer at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) and the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) conference 2012, 2012-10-17 until 2012-10-20 in Copenhagen.

Woermann, Niklas: Arenas of Style. Dissemination and Deliberation of Style in face-to-face versus screen-mediated social encounters. Presentation and Workshop at the Consumption Studies Research Group of the University of Southern Denmark, 26-06-2012 in Odense.

Woermann, Niklas: Reading Faces, Seeing Lines. On the Epistemic and Aesthetic Work of Extreme Sport Athletes. Presentation at the 10th Conference of the International Institute for Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis, 2011-07-11 until 2011-07-14 in Fribourg, held 2011-07-13.

Woermann, Niklas: Timeflow in Consumption Practices: Conceptualizing Temporality in two Lifestyle Sports (with Joonas Rokka). Presentation at the CCT6 Consumer Culture Theory Conference, 2011-07-07 until 2011-07-10 at the Northwestern University in Chicago, held 2011-07-09.

Woermann, Niklas: Towards a Mediatization of Seeing? On the Impact of Online Media Practices on Offline Practices of Seeing. Presentation at the Conference “Mediatized Worlds: Culture and Society in a Media Age”, 2011-04-15 in Bremen.

Woermann, Niklas: Die unmögliche De-Visualisierung von Wissen. Über einige Sehpraktiken einer extremen Gemeinschaft. Presentation at the conference “Visualisierung von Wissen und Bilder des Sozialen“ at the Technische Universität Berlin, 2011-04-09 in Berlin.

Woermann, Niklas: How to See ‚Showing off’ – Material Aspects of the Visual Production and Perception of Identities. Presentation at the 3rd ESA European Sociological Association RN Sociology of Culture mid-term Conference at the Università Bocconi, 2010-10-08 in Milan.