Ricarda Drüeke is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Salzburg, Austria, where she has been working as a researcher and lecturer since 2007. Her research interests are political communication and digital publics, digital activism and networked feminism and medial representations of ethnicity and gender.
She is currently working on projects within the broader field of cultural and gender media studies. Specifically, she has conducted research on media representations of refugees and migration-related issues as well as on constructions of spaces of identities in and through the media from a critical ethnic studies perspective. In addition, she is an affiliated member of the “Contemporary Arts & Cultural Production” program area – a joint cooperation of the University of Salzburg and the Mozarteum University Salzburg. There, she conducts together with Elisabeth Klaus and Anita Moser research on intervention practices in various publics with a focus on cultural productions as well as on the media and artistic discourses on migrants and refugees. Furthermore, she is working together with Elisabeth Klaus on right-wing movements and actors such as the racist and nationalist Identitarian Movement in Austria and Germany. This project sheds light on the problems and risks of digital publics.
Her ongoing research project deals with media repertoires in contemporary protest movements, such as feminist protest articulations and movements. She uses a comprehensive approach to address different forms of protest within social movements ranging from established actors to temporary networks to fluid articulations. During her stay as a visiting scholar, she plans to continue her work on a framework for digital publics and protest movements. She is interested in the question of how digital publics build an “activist” or “advocacy sector” for feminist issues and how they question hegemonic structures, including cultural and mediated forms of political interventions in which multi-faceted, disturbing counter-conventional interpretations are offered. The project aims to describe, using case studies, how digital publics can be considered contested spaces that, on the one hand, enable feminist activism and, on the other hand, are increasingly occupied by reactionary movements through the adaptation of communicative practices by right-wing and antifeminist actors. In addition, the aim of the project is to work out how resistance and protest in digital publics can continue to be pursued in an emancipatory sense and how hegemony and privilege can be continually called into question.