The Institute for Comparative Media and Communication Studies (CMC) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) and the University of Klagenfurt (Alpen-Adria-Universität / AAU) was founded on 1st January 2013. It succeeds the ÖAW Commission for Comparative Media and Communication Studies, which was founded on 1st February 1994 and was originally named the Commission for Mass Communication History, based on a study group founded in 1991.
Media and communication research is one of the key disciplines of the modern media and information society. With the increasing dynamism and complexity of the political and social environment, the opportunity for individual primary experience is diminishing, as a result of which the mediated experience is becoming more important. At the same time, the growing diversity of communication technologies is leading to new approaches to content channeled through the media. In consequence, not only the conditions of media production, but also the processes of public opinion formation as one of the fundamental pillars of a democratic community are changing.
CMC investigates the connection between media change and the changing forms of political communication and public opinion formation (including both traditional mass media, professional journalism and new forms of digital communication that are increasingly driven by social networks and algorithms), as well as the accompanying consequences for action and responsibility on the macro-, meso- and micro-level.
Rooted in the social sciences, research at CMC is independent, methodologically innovative, interdisciplinary, and internationally collaborative. Investigation of the communication performance of the media, of their structural preconditions and their societal consequences calls for an approach that is comparative in many respects – be it across time or between various countries, media, and populations.
The partnership of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the University of Klagenfurt in operating CMC is an excellent opportunity to focus on long-term basic research and follow Humboldtian ideals, bringing research findings directly into education as well as into public and political discourse, and giving support to the younger generation of researchers.