The Center for the Study of Transgressive Media

Mediatrans will establish a new interdisciplinary paradigm for research that allows us better to understand the societal and ethical implications of transgressive media experiences.

Transgressive media are defined as media that disturb, provoke, and disrupt traditional conventions, and challenge established norms.

Drone photography brings journalists closer to new spaces of public interest, but also presents new challenges relating to surveillance and privacy. Crowdfunding and user-generated content have created new opportunities for fan participation, although angry fans create online campaigns to change what they dislike.  

While social media has transformed our opportunities to participate in public conversations, it also complements and sometimes sidelines traditional media, creating political echo chambers and increasing polarization. Transgressive media thus offer users options for exploration and expression, but are also a potentially destabilizing force.

While transgressive media have traditionally been understood either through the lens of social psychology, audience research, and aesthetics, there is an urgent need for a comprehensive perspective that addresses transgressive media across disciplines. MEDIATRANS will establish an interdisciplinary paradigm for research on the societal and ethical implications of transgressive media that connects media aesthetics, media use, and the design of media technology in new ways. By combining perspectives from visual studies, game studies, information science, journalism studies, media design, law, and sociology, the center will break new ground by providing a holistic perspective that tackles transgressive aesthetics, use, and design not as separate issues but as interdependent and conditioned by technology. 

This research will help us understand the complex social factors involved in shaping the relationship between media and their users and provide us with new frameworks through which to cope with contested media practices and ensure that future media maintain their ability to promote enlightened citizenship.