The starting point of the legal analysis, drawing on social science control and communication theory, was the idea that – by using classic instruments in certain fields of regulation and with regards to certain aims of regulation - the regulation of social processes will be increasingly difficult. That the processes of differentiation, which characterise the way into information society, present themselves as a restriction for governance because they could lead to a communicative isolation of milieus or subsystems, becomes a commonality of different explanatory approaches for this phenomenon. Looking at existing studies, it became obvious that they are rarely going any further than the analysis of the problem. Building on the debate on control theory, this project sought out to reduce this deficit. This project also builds on considerations that have been developed in the course of the debate on the reformation of general administrative law, which demand an adjustment of the dogmatic of administrative law and forms of administrative actions in order to fit the needs of the information society. The following questions led the examination: Where and how are the public sphere and information management used as control instruments? Where are deficits in the regulation? And under what circumstances could further use of regulation instruments, which use the public sphere and information management as ‘control mediums’, make reaching the goal more effective? What term of ‘public’ is required by legislation – based on German Constitutional Law – and how do these instrumentalisations have to be evaluated against this background? The questions were examined by using the example of regulation in the area of communication and mass media, in particular for legal regulation that aims at influencing media content directly, and by looking at so-called new media such as digital television and computer-mediated communication.
Volkswagen Stiftung (Hannover) (1998-2001)