Alexander Rihl: Youth, Media and Distinction

In order to understand youth‘s media actions as acts of distinction in Bourdieu's sense, the ideas of his social theory are linked with those of the media habitus and applied to the (media) actions of young people.

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Youth is just a word Bourideu wrote in 1993 and to this day his social theoretical reflections on capital, habitus and field are hardly related to adolescents. Yet the socialisational dimension of the habitus concept (Fröhlich & Rehbein, 2014, p. 289) already includes that the habitus of an actor can be present in adolescence, albeit with a less developed hysteresis. Media actions of young people as a cultural form of practice and expression of taste could accordingly be described by the idea of a media habitus. 

To test these considerations, sub-areas of this theoretical complex must be examined first. Thus, the question arose whether adolescent’s media behaviour in the sense of a media habitus is also used for distinction. While media usage as a distinctive feature has already been studied in various ways, the distinctive media use of young people represents a research desideratum. With the help of a multi-method design (qualitative, ethnographic, possibly quantitative), the theoretical framework is to be expanded and specified and the question of the distinctive function of young people's media behaviour is to be answered.

  • Project lead: Alexander Rihl
  • CV: Alexander Rihl studied Sociology and Educational Sciences (B.A.) at the University of Rostock and Media Studies (M.A.) at the Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen. His master's thesis "Young People and Pornography. Motives and User Typologies of Adolescents" was awarded the Medius 2012. He works as a freelance media researcher since 2012 and was a research assistant in the Digital Media Culture course at the Film University from 2013 to2014. Since 2014, he has been a research assistant in the Media Studies programme at Filmuniversität Babelsberg KONRAD. His work focuses on media usage, effect and reception research, quantitative and qualitative methods, interdisciplinary communication and media studies and (media) sociology.
  • Contact: a.rihl(at)
  • PhD Advisors: 
  • Scientific PhD in the discipline:  Media Studies