Dr. Britta Ohm

Research associate, BA student advising

Research focus

  • Formations of the political and the state
  • Media anthropology and visual anthropology
  • Transformations of technological and economic systems
  • Image and genre theory, iconography
  • Mediatisation and (post-)representative power
  • Communication in/of political, social and identity movements
  • digital activism, digital abstinence, digital enforcement
  • Surveillance, interpretation, appropriation, propaganda, hate speech
  • Democracy, (post-)globalisation, transnationalisation
  • (Neo-)nationalism, populism, majoritarianism, fascism
  • Negotiations and dynamics of religion and secularism
  • Legitimisations and discourses of social/political inclusion and exclusion
  1. MA PrS. Thematische Hinführung: Öffentlich-rechtliches Fernsehen im Umbruch: das ZDF Mainz medienanthropologisch erforschen
    Instructor: Dr. Britta Ohm
  2. MA Ü. Datenerhebung (Modul IV): Öffentlich-rechtliches Fernsehen im Umbruch: das ZDF Mainz medienanthropologisch erforschen
    Instructor: Dr. Britta Ohm

SoSe 2024


Britta Ohm is a media anthropologist with a strong interest in formations of the political and the state. Having worked in films and television already during her studies in political science and history, she took up extensive fieldwork in the 1990s on the globalization and commercialization of the television landscapes in India and successively also in Turkey. Thus shifting the comparative focus away from 'the West' towards different conditions of the postcolonial, her work followed the rise of two distinct, yet structurally related populist movements - political (post-)Islam in Turkey and Hindutva ('Hindu-ness') in India - through the respective production modes and conditions of the most popular visual medium at the time. Her PhD-thesis ('The Televised Community: Culture, Politics and the Market of Visual Representation in India') was completed in 2007 in Comparative Cultural and Social Anthropology at the University of Frankfurt/Oder. It explored the significance of transnational TV corporations for the naturalization of Hindu nationalist politics both in journalism and entertainment programming (especially serials/soap operas). The politics of violence and of terminological and visual appropriation, as well as contesting interpretational truth claims were central moments in this process that well preceded current developments of the same kind in the West/in Europe.

As PI in a subsequent research project ('The Meaning of Turkey: Narratives and Negotiations of the Islamic and the Secular on Commercial Turkish Television') at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern, she deepened aspects of genre theory, iconography and questions of increasing medial immediacy and post-representative popular power in the mediatisation of a shifting public and political discourse with regard to 'Europe' as a receding focal point.

While she keeps an ongoing interest in methods and theories of fieldwork and ethnography (especially on questions of temporality), her recent work has been concerned with formations of a rising global fascism and with (im)possibilities of communication and digital (dis-)engagement among minoritized/victimized groups and dissidents in the context of internet-policies and state-supported digitization, hate-speech, surveillance and propaganda.

As a member of the coordinating committee of the Network for Decent Labour in Academia (NGAWiss) another leg of her research is engaged with questions of structural precarity, legality, production of knowledge, and academic freedom specifically in the German, but also in an international academic context.

She has published and presented extensively and has received numerous scholarships and grants for her work; she has been a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Zurich and research/teaching fellow with the Center for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi, with Kadir Has University, Istanbul, with Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, and with the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden/Netherlands. In July 2023 she joined Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology at the University of Mainz as a senior researcher and lecturer.