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Socio-cultural and comparative approach to digital representations. Privacy and “digital hygiene” in Germany


KeywordsTriple Keywords
Electronic media
Digital media
New media (Digital media)
Individuals (Philosophy)
Individuation (Philosophy)
Particulars (Philosophy)
Electoral politics
Mass communication
Communication, Primitive
Grammar, Comparative and general--Context
Context (Linguistics)
Situation (Linguistics)


The aim of this text is to develop a confrontational model that helps to understand the socio-cultural roots of the representations of digital technologies. It is based on the observation of continuities of phenomena in several comparative research on the use of digital media in Franco-German contexts. We have chosen the place of privacy management as an example of the tension between localised and globalising representations, guided by the data from our surveys. On the basis of concrete results of studies on digital media cultures, both individual representations and clear narratives in professional sector opinion polls and supported by official statistical data, we propose to link the observed phenomena to the respective socio-historical and cultural contexts, in a “process of imaginary institutions of social forms” and constituting “embedded social knowledge”; practices and representations are related to “social imaginaries”. On the basis of this theoretical position, we sketch out the opposite perspectives that a comparative posture brings to the Information and Communication Sciences.

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