Spaces, Places, and Geographies of Public Spheres: Exploring Dimensions of the Spatial Turn

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Editorial | Open Access

Spaces, Places, and Geographies of Public Spheres: Exploring Dimensions of the Spatial Turn

  • Annie Waldherr Department of Communication, University of Vienna, Austria
  • Ulrike Klinger European New School of Digital Studies, European University Viadrina, Germany
  • Barbara Pfetsch Department of Political and Social Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

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Abstract:  For decades, scholars have been calling out a spatial turn in media and communication studies. Yet, in public sphere research, spatial concepts such as space and place have mainly been used metaphorically. In recent years, the abundance of digital trace data offers new opportunities to locate communicative interactions, sparking new interest in the spatial turn in media and communication and opening up new perspectives on spaces and places also within public sphere research. Digital location data enables one to: study the places and spaces in which (semi-)public communication is embedded; uncover geographical inequalities between countries, regions, cities, and peripheries; and highlight the local contexts of public spheres. This thematic issue gathers some of these endeavors in one place, bringing together conceptual, methodological, and empirical contributions that spell out the spatiality of public spheres in detail and combine the analysis of spaces, places, and geographies with long-standing concepts of public sphere research.

Keywords:  communication geography; place; public communication; public sphere; space; spatial turn



© Annie Waldherr, Ulrike Klinger, Barbara Pfetsch. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.