Conference Report: Workshop: "What is the Smell of Spring"? Invective Dynamics of Digital Visual Communication as a Challenge for Qualitative Social Research

  • Mei-Chen Spiegelberg Technische Universität Dresden
Keywords: invectivity, interculturality, internet communication, analysis of visual data, membership categorization analysis, communication analysis, comment analysis, YouTube, Hornbach


In March 2019, the German DIY store chain Hornbach published on the online video hosting platform YouTube, an advertisement named "The Smell of Spring." The video led to a heated online debate and triggered a transnational wave of indignation in various media. Based on this explosive media event, the fine line between humor and invective particularly in relation to the global context, was addressed in an interdisciplinary workshop. The discussions focused on methodological diversity and the challenges in the analysis of digital communication. In this report I give an overview of the joint work and document the presentations and discussions. The program included lectures on invectivity heuristics in digital communication research by Heike GRESCHKE, ethnomethodological analysis of visual data by Ruth AYAß, and media-linguistic multi-level analysis of commentary by Jannis ANDROUTSOPOULOS. In addition to the summary of the lecture series, I also outline how the multi-perspective exchange of methods and theories reveals and brings together a multitude of possibilities for investigating invective phenomena.


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Author Biography

Mei-Chen Spiegelberg, Technische Universität Dresden

Mei-Chen SPIEGELBERG ist wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin im Teilprojekt R "Invektive Kodierung von Interkulturalität: Ethnografische Situationsanalyse in interkulturellen Trainings und Integrationskursen" des SFB 1285 an der Technischen Universität Dresden. In ihrer Promotion forscht sie zu den Aushandlungsprozessen der sozialen Ordnung(-svorstellungen) in Wissensvermittlungssettings der (inter-)kulturell kodierten Invektiven. Ihre Forschungsinteressen sind unter anderen: (Auto-)Ethnografie, transnationale Prozesse, Medien- und Kommunikationssoziologie.

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