Fellow Caja Thimm

Prof. Dr. Caja Thimm

University of Bonn

  Fellow at CAIS from April to October 2022

Autonomy and autonomous systems

Autonomy, originally a core concept of the Enlightenment and modernity, is one of the central and particularly high-profile concepts in the debate on digital transformation. The debate itself comprises a polarizing perspective oscillating between the restrictive or dangerously uncontrollable effect of digital technologies, such as facial recognition, surveillance or ‚autonomous weapons‘ and the liberating, autonomy-enhancing function (’smart home‘, ‚assisted living‘. Publications point to the  ‚paradox of autonomy‘ and refer to autonomy as simultaneously manifesting a new conception of normativity and its own conception of freedom (Thimm & Bächle, 2018).

Based on these initial observations, the planned CAIS project concerns a  (DFG/ German Science Foundation) proposal for a larger research group , a ‘Transregio’. This research group conceptualizes ‚autonomy‘ as essentially relating to a profound and ubiquiteous structural change in the relationship between humans and digital technologies. With the attribution of autonomy to technical systems, the modern idea of autonomy – tied to human actors – is itself called into question and requires a categorical re-location. The focus on autonomy as a central approach to the differentiation of a future society can sharpen the analysis on technological and social figurations of modernity under digital conditions and thus to open up disciplinary, but above all, inter – and  transdisciplinary perspectives.


Thimm, Caja, Bächle, Thomas (Hrsg.) (2019). Die Maschine – Freund oder Feind? Mensch und Technologie im digitalen Zeitalter. Wiesbaden: Springer.

Main Research Topics
  • Social Media and media culture
  • Digital democracy
  • Algorithms and power
  • Datafication and society
Curriculum Vitae

2020         Head of the Department of Language, Media and Music

2014          Professeur invité, Université de Bourgogne/Dijon

2009-17    Director of the Institute of Communication and Media

2003-16    Director of the Institute of Communication and Phonetics

Lectures and Publications

Thimm, Caja, Bächle, Thomas (eds.) (2019): Die Maschine – Freund oder Feind? Mensch und Technologie im digitalen Zeitalter. Wiesbaden: Springer.

Thimm, Caja, Anastasiadis, Mario, Einspänner-Pflock, Jessica (eds.) (2018): Media Logic(s) Revisited. Modelling the Interplay between Media Institutions, Media Technology and Societal Change. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Brachotte, Gilles, Frame, Alex, Mercier, Arnaud, und Thimm, Caja (eds.) (2016): Political Campaigning on Twitter: the EU Elections 2014 in the Digital Public Sphere. Frankfurt, New York: Lang.

Thimm, Caja (2022): Mediengrammatik: Ein Ansatz zur Systematisierung und Kontextualisierung digitaler Zeichen am Beispiel von Hashtag Storytelling. Erscheint in: Erscheint in: Laurent Gautier / Sascha Michel (Hrsg.): Linguistik des Hashtags. Berlin: De Gruyter.

Thimm, Caja (2021):  Hate Speech, Fake News, Filter Bubbles & demokratische Öffentlichkeit.  In: Sander, Uwe, von Gross, Friederike, Hugger, Kai-Uwe (Hrsg.), Handbuch Medienpädagogik, 2. Aufl., Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Thimm, Caja (2021). Digitale Gesellschaft und digitale Werteordnung: Ethische Perspektiven auf politische Diskurse im Netz. In: Amos International, 3.