Cornelius Puschmann's website

Research & Teaching



Algorithmed Public Spheres (2016-2019, Leibniz Institute for Media Research, Hamburg)

This project brings together international postdoctoral researchers from a variety of fields who study the social implications of algorithms. Largely invisible to the average user, software algorithms construct publics by identifying and connecting users with compatible attributes, interests, and activity patterns; such constructions are presented with the help of the specific affordances for networking, participation and information circulation which particular platforms offer; and users' compliant or resistant utilisation of such platform functionalities in their day-to-day media activities finally determines the longer-term trajectories of these publics. As networked media play a growing role in how news, information, and knowledge are disseminated across contemporary society, it becomes increasingly important to investigate the practices, mechanisms, power structures and dynamics of algorithmed public spheres. This includes developing theories to explain algorithmed public spheres, applying innovative methodologies to track and analyse the communication they entail, and conducting quantitative as well as qualitative empirical study to understand the impact they have on all levels of society. See the project website for details.

Networks of Outrage: Mapping the emergence of new extremism in Europe (2016, Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Berlin)

This project, conducted with Austrian daily newspaper Der Standard, is a collaboration with Jeanette Hofmann, Julian Ausserhofer, Noura Maan and Markus Hametner. Our central objective is to map the relations of right-wing movements in Europe with a focus on German-speaking countries. Such movements are characterized by their opposition to immigration, European integration, and perceived ‘islamization’. Their organizational structures have commonalities with grass-roots civic movements and rely strongly on social media for organization and communication. Since summer 2015, their outrage has had significant impact on public discourse in Europe. The project takes place over a period of nine months, with successive stages of data collection, analysis, and presentation in different formats, and combines multiple methods (network analysis, content analysis, expert interviews). See project website (in German)

Open Science (2013-2015, Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Berlin)

Substantial changes regarding how science and scholarship are conducted are underway as a result of the Internet's increasing ubiquity. Together with Sascha Friesike, Kaja Scheliga and Benedikt Fecher, I was a collaborator in the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society's Open Science project. The project spanned three years and investigated the Internet's impact on knowledge production, both in institutional science (for example, through alternative approaches to measuring scientific impact) and in networked virtual communities, such as Wikipedia. A recent focus has been on crowdsourcing platforms. More information is available on the project website (in English).

Networking, Visibility, Information: A study of digital genres of scholarly communication and the motives of their users (2012-2015, Berlin School of Library and Information Science)

The project, funded by a three-year DFG personal grant, investigated new forms of scholarly communication (especially blogging and Twitter) and their role for academia. My key concerns were usage motives, i.e. why scholars use blogs and Twitter, and how these motives correspond with usage practices (how they blog and tweet). My main methods were qualitative interviews with a sample of 20-25 blogging and/or tweeting academics, along with in-depth content analysis of the material they post in these channels over a prolonged period (>1 year). Identifying usage patterns and relating them to the participants’ narrative about their has been another key objective. See the summary (in German) on the DFG's website.


Since 2016, I have been teaching an MA-level class on Automated Content Analysis and Text Mining for social scientists at the University of Lucerne's Department of Sociology in Switzerland. This class has coalesced into a book-length introduction (in German) that I continue to extend and improve. I have taught similar classes as part of summer schools and methods training workshops. I have also taught classes related to digital discourse and social media at the University of Düsseldorf, the University of Amsterdam, the University of Freiburg, Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen and the University of Hamburg (Department of Media & Commmunication Studies). For more on the code that I write, see my Github page.

Here's an oldish video of me talking about digital methods at the GCDH (in German).

last modified 2019-10-05