Media education and (media) socialisation in the mirror of central social challenges of the 21st century

Spring Conference of the Media Education Section (DGfE) on Thursday, 30 and Friday, 31 March 2023 at Leuphana University Lüneburg.

A cooperation of the Leuphana University and the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), organised by Henrike Friedrichs-Liesenkötter, Jane Müller, Anja Schwedler-Diesener and Mareike Thumel.

Here you can find the Call for Papers.


More information on the conference programme will follow in early 2023.

More information will follow soon.


"In the 21st century, Germany and Europe are faced with the task of coping with major changes that are influenced by drivers such as climate change, globalisation, digitalisation and demography" (BMBF 2022). Currently, a wide range of global challenges can be identified that are closely intertwined. At this point, we would like to name three as examples:

The topics of the environment and sustainable development are central issues in our society that are widely discussed and for which young adolescents in particular (Quenzel et al. 2019) are vociferously advocating through the strikes of the Fridays for Future movement. Their overarching goal is to meet the climate targets that countries agreed to in the 2015 UN World Climate Agreement in Paris. Climate change has recently been taken up in the media under the impact of natural disasters. Parallel to this, society is experiencing a digitalisation surge. Digital media are central means of communication and organisation in leisure time and at work - intensified by the COVID 19 pandemic - and in education, at least at school, the equipment with digital technologies is also being promoted. A high innovation density is a central characteristic of the profound mediatisation. As a result, more and more new devices are being brought onto the market - be it for reasons of economic exploitation and/or for reasons of actual improvements to the existing technology, sometimes without taking into account the resulting consequences (e.g. ecological rebound effect). Whether the respective new digital device is actually needed, becomes necessary due to a software update or the need again arises from a capitalist market logic is a matter of debate. There is no doubt that resource consumption, the need for conflict minerals, the demand for electrical energy and the CO2 emissions associated with digitalisation are increasing (Sühlmann-Faul & Rammler 2018). In contrast, digital tools are central to being able to deal with challenges such as extreme weather phenomena (e.g. through warning systems) (Barberi, Grünberger, Himpsl-Gutermann & Ballhausen 2020) and are also, first and foremost, those technical tools that make something like climate change calculable in the first place (Chun 2015). Among other things, the question arises of how society, its actors and, in this context, (media) education can act with a view to achieving a responsible balance between digitalisation and sustainability (Schluchter & Maurer 2021).

However, the question of a more sustainable development of our society should not be limited to the ecological dimension, as digitality can also shake up democratic structures in particular and thus requires more democratic negotiation processes and "arenas of discourse" (WBGU 2018): Digital media, above all the internet, with their wealth of information, are seen as a gateway to the world. The issue of disinformation has been well known in this context for several years. However, in the wake of the Corona pandemic and the conspiracy myths that emerged with it, as well as manipulated images and videos, e.g. on the war in Ukraine, the topic of disinformation has recently become even more explosive and is now increasingly being taken up in media education materials and projects. The often formulated risk that disinformation can become a danger to democracies is becoming increasingly explosive in current political events (Schünemann 2021). Accordingly, the omnipresence of the media and technologies that are difficult to understand confront each other in many ways as challenges, but also as opportunities. This goes hand in hand with changing constellations of actors, interests and offers. Furthermore, the negotiation of rules and norms of coexistence, which are often irritated by digitality (e.g. algorithmicity, datafication), is gaining in importance (Grimm et al. 2019). In this context, one question that arises is how media education can contribute to the promotion and strengthening of democracy and support citizens to critically engage with social and political issues and enable everyone to actively participate in political life.

The collapse of democracies, wars, political or religious persecution or expulsions, but also economic hardship lead to flight and migration movements. Digital media play a central role with regard to flight or migration: images conveyed by the media can shape decisions to flee, for example when particularly embellished images of the destination country are shown. During the flight, mobile phones and smartphones have an existential significance in that escape routes can be navigated or emergency calls can be made (cf. Emmer et al. 2016; Richter et al. 2018). In the phase after the flight, digital media represent the link to family and friends in the country of origin. Furthermore, in the country of arrival, on the one hand, the use of and engagement with digital media in the informal living environment as well as in formal and non-formal educational arrangements can provide orientation, education and participation (Friedrichs-Liesenkötter et al. 2020); on the other hand, in the course of an intensified digitality, existing (digital) inequalities can also be further exacerbated (Fujii et al. 2021). Among other things, this raises the question of how (media) pedagogical practice should be designed in order to meet the challenges in the everyday lives of young people with migration/refugee experience in a way that is appropriate for the target group and to be able to stimulate processes of media education or media literacy (Bruinenberg et al. 2021).

The examples mentioned can be framed as societal challenges, as they potentially, directly or indirectly influence life and growing up. They take place in a society that can be described as (profoundly) mediatised (Hepp 2021) or shaped by a culture of digitality (Stalder 2016). People encounter social challenges through the media via different access routes and are also taken up and processed by them. In doing so, they act within the framework of the possibilities that platform operators, legislators or - in the case of adolescents - guardians prescribe and shape for them. For some groups, this also means that they remain excluded from corresponding processes by the existing social structures. This makes it clear that global societal challenges affect and/or change life worlds and thus today's growing up on different levels. They are thus becoming increasingly relevant for media education as a discipline and as a field of practice.

Against this background, the Spring Conference 2023 of the DGfE Media Education Section would like to offer a platform to address the extent to which the challenges described could and should be taken up in media education.


Barberi, A., Grünberger, N., Himpsl-Gutermann, K., Ballhausen, T. (2020): Editorial 3/2020: Nachhaltigkeit, Digitalisierung und Medienpädagogik? – Über neue Herausforderungen und Verantwortungen. In: medienimpulse, Jg. 58, Nr. 3.

BMBF (2022): Gesellschaftliche Herausforderungen meistern. Online: zuletzt geprüft 02.08.2022

Bruinenberg, H., Sprenger, S., Omerović, E., & Leurs, K. (2021). Practicing critical media literacy education with/for young migrants: Lessons learned from a participatory action research project. International Communication Gazette, 83(1), 26–47. 

Chun, W. H. K. (2015). On Hypo-Real Models or Global Climate Change: A Challenge for the Humanities. Critical Inquiry, 41(3), 675 703.

Emmer, M., Richter, C. & Kunst, M. (2016): Flucht 2.0. Mediennutzung durch Flüchtlinge vor, während und nach der Flucht. Freie Universität Berlin. Berlin: Universitätsbibliothek.

Friedrichs-Liesenkötter, H., Hüttmann, J. & Müller, F.-M. 2020. Teilhabe von geflüchteten Jugendlichen im Kontext digitaler Medien. Digital unterwegs in transnationalen Welten, in: Peterlini, H. K. & Donlic, J. (Hrsg.): Digitale Medien. Jahrbuch Migration und Gesellschaft Band 2019/2020. Bielefeld: transcript, 69 – 84. DOI: 10.14361/9783839444801-005

Fujii, M. S., Hüttmann, J., Kutscher, N. & Friedrichs-Liesenkötter, H. 2021. Participation?! Educational Challenges for Young Refugees in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic, in: Media Education 11(2): 37-47. doi: 10.36253/me-9605

Grimm, P., Keber, T., Zöllner, O. (2019): Digitale Ethik. Leben in vernetzten Welten. Stuttgart: Reclam.

Hepp, A. (2021): Auf dem Weg zur digitalen Gesellschaft. Über die tiefgreifende Mediatisierung der sozialen Welt. Köln: Herbert von Halem Verlag.

Quenzel, G., Hurrelmann, K., Albert, M. & Schneekloth, U. (2019): Jugend 2019: Eine Generation meldet sich zu Wort. In: Shell Deutschland Holding (Hrsg.): Jugend 2019. Eine Generation meldet sich zu Wort, 313-324.

Richter, C., Emmer, M., & Kunst, M. (2018). Flucht 2.0: Was Geflüchtete wirklich mit ihren Smartphones machen. Social Transformations, 2(2). URL:

Schluchter, J.-R. & Maurer, B. (2021): Editorial: Medienbildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung. In merz Zeitschrift für Medienpädagogik. 2021/4.

Stalder, Felix (2017): Kultur der Digitalität. 3. Auflage, Originalausgabe. Berlin: Suhrkamp

Schünemann, Wolf J. (2021). Das Desinformationsdilemma – Demokratische Herausforderungen durch Falschnachrichten und ihre Bekämpfung. In: Deichmann, Carl/Partetzke, Marc (Hrsg.). Demokratie im Stresstest. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden, S. 193–210.

Sühlmann-Faul, F. & Rammler, S. (2018): Der blinde Fleck der Digitalisierung. Wie sich Nachhaltigkeit und digitale Transformation in Einklang bringen lassen. München: oekom Verlag.

WBGU, W. B. der B. G. U. (WBGU). (2018). Digitalisierung Worüber wir jetzt reden müssen.

Organisation Team & Contact


Prof. Dr Henrike Friedrichs-Liesenkötter (Leuphana University Lüneburg), Dr Jane Müller (Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg), Anja Schwedler-Diesener (Leuphana University Lüneburg), Mareike Thumel (Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg)

FA ©Henrike Friedrichs-Liesenkötter
Leuphana ©Leuphana

Arrival & Overnight Stay

More information will follow soon.


We welcome contributions that address the following or related questions theoretically or empirically:

  • What is the significance of the challenges (described or further) in the course of the (media) socialisation of children and young people and also across the entire lifespan? How are specific (possibly disadvantaged) groups of people addressed by media education in this context?
  • Which objectives result from the described or further global developments for the role of media education? What (new) theoretical and/or empirical approaches are needed? How can the topics be taken up in media education practice?
  • How do different groups of actors take up current social challenges in their everyday life? To what extent do they relate to them? Which interdisciplinary connections can be made fruitful for the further development of the subject of media education? Which interfaces/topic areas are relevant for the training and further education of educational professionals?
  • What is the role of digital media in dealing with the described or other global challenges of the 21st century? What support do adolescents and educational professionals need with regard to these specific challenges?

Inasmuch as the context of societal challenges is also to a certain extent about anticipating future developments, contributions are also welcome that outline empirical or theoretical approaches as well as trains of thought, the development of which has not yet been completed. In this respect, we would like to open a "discourse arena" at the conference, as called for by the WBGU (2018).

In addition to submissions on the current topic of the spring conference, there will be the opportunity to present (interim) results from ongoing research projects independent of the topic. Contributions should already be identified accordingly in the abstract. The conference would like to invite you to inform about existing research work, but also to open up the possibility of stimulating future (joint) work (possibly also interdisciplinary). For this purpose, a total of four formats of participation are available: Posters, talks, thematic panels and workshops. Interested parties are invited to submit abstracts of 500 words (excl. literature) for posters and individual presentations and a total of 1500 (excl. literature) words for panels (jacket text and individual abstract) or workshop ideas.

Contributions to the Doctoral Students' Forum

Within the framework of the conference, the Junge Netzwerk Medienpädagogik will organise a doctoral students' forum for researchers in the doctoral phase. Contributions independent of the conference topic can be submitted as talks or posters. In the doctoral students' forum, established academics from the specialist community will act as critical friends who will give them critical and constructive feedback on their project and tips for further work following their contribution.

Deadline and timetable

Interested parties are invited to submit abstracts of 500 words (excluding bibliography) by 15 December 2022. For the doctoral students' forum, we also ask for a short vita (approx. 500 characters) as well as the names of the current supervisors and any supervisors and, if applicable, requests for a critical friend.

Abstracts can be uploaded via the ConfTool. Notification of acceptance of abstracts will be made in early 2023.

The contributions of the spring conference can be submitted to a thematic issue of the same name of the journal MedienPädagogik after the conference. Authors are therefore called upon to write up their contributions early on in order to shorten the publication process.

[Translate to Englisch:] Sektion Medienpädagogik der DGfE ©Henrike Friedrichs-Liesenkötter