Dr. des. Robert Dörre

Universitätsstr. 104
44799 Bochum
Room: UNI 104, 2/29

E-Mail: robert.doerre@rub.de

Title of the Dissertation

Broadcast Yourself! Audiovisual Self-Documentation as a Phenomenon and Practice of Digital Culture (Working title)

Project Description

This dissertation focuses on contemporary forms of audiovisual self-documentation. More than ever before, the production and reception of documentary videos have today become a common social practice. As a result, video formats of all kinds have developed on video hosting platforms such as YouTube. People document their everyday lives, record their sexual coming out, test various products, voice their opinions, tell stories, present their underwear, etc.  The main aim of this dissertation is to develop a systematic grounded theory of this phenomenon and related media-dispositifs through an inductive content analysis approach.

Besides the analysis of current German-language video blogs and live streams, I plan to take a closer look at the phenomenon of self-documentation from varied perspectives. A comparison to other forms of self-documentation like the diary, the literary autobiography or the self-portrait are obvious choices. Historically, the work of video artists in the 1960s and 70s are also an important influence. The dissertation examines the thesis of Walter Benjamin, who argues that art can act as a space of anticipation for future cultural practices. Remarkably, these video artworks not only anticipated today’s cultural practices, they themselves became subject to critique, which bears similarity with current critical discourse regarding digital culture.

A further area of analysis is the discourse that develops around modern forms of self-documentation and gives rise to social structures and normative orders that are in turn manifested and renegotiated. In the spirit of Foucault, the dissertation reflects those discursive structures and tries to examine the documentary elements of digital culture as a social practice and a phenomenon of new media.

Scholarly Career

  • Since 10/2016: Doctoral Student Member of the DFG Graduate Research Group on “Documentary Practices. Excess and Privation”, Ruhr-University Bochum
  • 10/2013 to 06/2016: Master studies in Media studies, University of Cologne
  • 10/2010 to 08/2013: Bachelor studies in Film studies and Sociology, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz


  • Dörre, Robert (2016) Ohne Drehbuch. Zur Theorie und Ästhetik der Improvisation im Spielfilm am Beispiel des German Mumblecore. Masterarbeit, Universität zu Köln. Online available at: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/7034/


  • Dörre, Robert (2017) Broadcast Your Body – Video Blogs and The Discourse of Body Positivity. Presented at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III) as part of the NECS Conference 2017.