Jun.-Prof. Dr. Ulf Tranow
Fellow am CAIS from October 2019 to February 2020
How do (polarized) political identities emerge on the Internet? How does digital conflict mobilization work, and how do conflicts escalate? The project addresses these questions from a ritual-theoretical perspective. Rituals are understood as focused and rhythmically coordinated social interactions with the potential to build solidarity among the participants as well as moral feelings and emotionally charged collective symbols. Ritual theories offer an understanding of the interrelationship between community building and conflict. Since they refer to face-to-face interactions and ascribe special significance to physical co-presence, the question remains to what extent digital interactions can be understood as interaction rituals. Empirical studies point in the direction that this is possible, but so far there is no theory of digital interaction rituals. The objective of the project is to apply Randall Collins’ theory of interaction rituals to the digital sphere and to develop hypotheses in relation to the questions raised above.