Communication Science refers to a field within the humanities which employs theoretical and empirical methods in the examination of all manner of communicative phenomena. This definition explicitly sets it apart from other, purely media or media-science based disciplines on offer in Germany, which go by the same name but focus primarily on mass-media communication. By contrast, the Department of Communication Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen is concerned with the description, analysis, and explanation of communicative processes and the processing of information and knowledge. The department takes a fundamentally interdisciplinary approach, particularly in relation to findings contributed by the natural sciences and, above all, the humanities and social sciences.
The joint project between the paediatricclinic of University Hospital Essen (Dr. Oliver Basu) and the Department of Communication Science (Prof. H. Walter Schmitz) is entitled “Telecommunication of Isolated Children in a Clinic with Parents, Teachers and Friends” (abbr.: TKK-ELF). The core purpose of the study is to develop a transferable model for socially optimised telecommunication for isolated young patients in hospital. In cooperation with the city of Mülheim an der Ruhr, Prof. Jens Loenhoff, Prof. H. Walter Schmitz and Dr. Karin Kolb are investigating “Problems of Integration in Complex Societies from the Perspective of Communication Science: Using as an Example the Self-image and Self-portrayal of the City of Mülheim an der Ruhr”.
Prof. Jo Reichertz is heading research pro­jects on “Communicative Culture in Gaming Parlors” (in collaboration with Prof. Ronald Hitzler, Dortmund) and “The Media as Protagonists” (DFG-sponsored). Further research projects at the planning stage include “Fremde Eigenheiten und eigene Fremdheiten. Interkulturelle Verständigung und transkulturelle Identitätsarbeit” [Foreign Idiosyncrasies and One’s Own Foreignness. Intercultural Understanding and Transcultural Identity Performance] in cooperation with the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, KWI, in Essen, and “Vernetzte Polizei” [Networked Police] in cooperation with Prof. Sylvia Wilz, FernUniversität Hagen.