Communication in Networks – Networks of Communication

"Kommunikation in Netzwerken – Netzwerke der Kommunikation"

Workshop Conference, organized by the research network "Historical Network Research" and the Center for Media, Communication and Information Research ZeMKI of the University of Bremen

12th HNR Workshop "Communication in Networks - Networks of Communication. Thematic, methodological and theoretical perspectives of historical network analysis between history and communication science".

Date: April 20 and 21, 2018

Location: Center for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZeMKI), Linzer Straße 4, 28359 Bremen, Germany

Organization & Contact: Dr. Erik Koenen ( and Matthias Bixler (

Topic and contents of the conference

Social networks and communication are inextricably linked. Networks are created through communication and structure communication. The formation and maintenance of social relationships is inconceivable without communicative exchange between actors. Communication is the prerequisite for information to spread along relationships in a network or for resources to be activated through relationships. And the breaking off of relationships can also be traced back to communication - for example if it is conflictual or fails to occur at all.

Relational sociology stresses in this context that both the relationships and the identities of the actors in social structures are communicatively constructed. However, traces of such processes, which can be found in historical sources in the form of communication and interaction, are much more frequent than references to concrete relationships themselves. These are most evident in the case of letter networks and other traditional correspondences. But narrative sources also often contain a multitude of interactions that are suitable for both qualitative and quantitative historical network analyses.

This makes it all the more surprising that network approaches have so far hardly played a role in research on the history of communication. Therefore, the conference aims to strengthen the network perspective on historical communication processes and to focus on the communicative and media dimension of historical networks with the question of the forms, contexts and processes of the mediation of social relationships and the networking of social structures through communication and media. The conference lectures, which will be peer-reviewed, will focus on topics that have been acquired through a call for papers:

methodological approaches and challenges in the survey and analysis of historical networks
interpersonal communication networks and/or interaction networks
communicative construction of identities, social relationships and/or social networks
the role of communication in the stability, change or erosion of historical networks
Communication and access to and activation of social capital
Relationships between communication and other types of relationships

The results of the conference will also be recorded in a special section of the Journal for Historical Network Research. After the workshop, three promising presentations will be invited to submit a paper.

In the run-up to the regular conference sessions, two methodological workshops on historical network research will be held:

1. introduction to the visualization and analysis of network data for historians (Matthias Bixler & Martin Stark)
2. introduction to Nodegoat (

Each workshop is limited to 20 participants.

Registration & Costs

Participation in the method workshops and lecture sessions is free of charge. The costs for travel, accommodation and meals have to be paid by the participants themselves. Unfortunately, we cannot reimburse travel expenses to the lecturers either.
The participation in the lecture sessions is possible after registration also without own lecture (by email to Interested parties should register early, as capacities are limited. The order of registration applies.