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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2021

Echo Chambers

A Further Dystopia of Media Generated Fragmentation

From the book Digital Roots

  • Maria Löblich and Niklas Venema

A Further Dystopia of Media Generated Fragmentation



With his reflections on echo chambers, American legal scholar Cass R. Sunstein provided one of the most prominent buzzwords for pessimistic views on online communication. Although it refers to the latest changes of the media environment, the idea of echo chambers replicates past worries regarding fragmentation of public discourse. Statements about internet users and their selective exposure form the cornerstone of the echo chambers argumentation. Against this background, the chapter analyzes the concept of echo chambers in a historical perspective on media use. It provides a history of ideas and discourses on audiences as well as a social history of media use and its relations to the public sphere. Research shows that the concept of echo chambers and earlier depictions of fragmentation are based on rather simplistic assumptions regarding media use.

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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