Religious Organizations in the Public Sphere. Communication and Reputation in an Era of Digital Change

The project "Religious organizations in the Public Sphere. Communication and Reputation in an Era of Digital Change" addresses the ways that specific religious organizations (phase 1: Christian organizations) and world religions in general describe themselves and are described by others in the (digital) media-based society. Of particular interest are the dynamics of themes in public discourse and the formation of reputation by religious organizations under the conditions of the digital transition.

The aim of this project is a comprehensive consideration of media coverage of religious organizations and world religions, in traditional as well as social media. In addition, we examine the perception of religious organizations among the Swiss population.

The project employs a multi-method approach, including quantitative population surveys, qualitative discourse analyses as well as quantitative and computer-assisted analyses of media content and social networks. By combining classic and digital methods and critical reflection on the results, the project promises to provide a comprehensive view of the objects of research.

The public relevance of the project derives from the assumption that media-mediated communication has a decisive influence on how religion and its organizations are perceived by the public. Topics discussed in the media and on digital platforms as well as the reputational dynamics of the organizations examined here are made available to the general public in the form of a report published at regular intervals.