Siegfried J. Schmidt

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Signature under a dedication, 1994

Siegfried Johannes Schmidt (born October 28, 1940 in Jülich ) is a German philosopher and communication scientist . Schmidt is considered a representative of constructivism .


Schmidt attended schools in Essen . From 1960 he studied philosophy , German , linguistics , history and art history at the universities of Freiburg , Göttingen and Münster . There he was in 1966 with a thesis on the relationship between language and thought from Locke to Wittgenstein at Hermann Lübbe and Peter Hartmann doctorate . Since 1965 he worked as a scientific assistant at the Philosophical Seminar of the TH Karlsruhe . Schmidt completed his habilitation there in 1968 with Simon Moser and Peter Hartmann for philosophy. In 1971 Bielefeld University appointed him a professorship for text theory , and from 1973 for literature theory . In 1979 he became Professor of German Studies / General Literary Studies at the University of Siegen , where he headed the Institute for Empirical Literature and Media Research (LUMIS), which he co-founded . In 1990 he was accepted as a full member of the Academia Europaea .

From 1997 he was professor for communication theory and media culture at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster and from 1997 to 1999 and from 2001 to 2002 head of the institute for communication studies. Schmidt retired at the end of the 2005/2006 winter semester .

Schmidt is the editor of the "LUMIS" series and of "DELFIN". In addition to his teaching and research activities, he also works as an artist in the field of visual poetry. In Bielefeld, together with Klaus Ramm and Jörg Drews , he organized the Bielefelder Colloquium Neue Poesie , an annual meeting between 1978 and 2003 of international poets and artists, particularly from the field of concrete poetry . In 1979 he curated the exhibition Languages ​​Beyond Poetry (catalog) on the occasion of the 1st Lyricists' Meeting in Münster at the Westfälischer Kunstverein together with Thoma Deecke , Axel Marquardt , Lothar Jordan and Manfred Sundermann .



Schmidt is considered the founder of empirical literature .

The objectives of empirical literary studies can be characterized as follows: Enlightenment is sought in the sense of the ability to criticize and self-criticism, self-responsibility and rationality; Solidarity as a reduction in the rule of people over people, as a reduction in knowledge and truth terrorism; Cooperativity as conflict-reducing interaction and joint problem-solving. From such objectives it follows for scientific action that wants to contribute in its field of action that it must be explicit, allow systematic experience and be intersubjectively communicable and verifiable. In addition, it must have application relevance for social and individual needs ”( Vom Text zum Literatursystem , p. 157).

Schmidt has also dealt intensively with questions of communication and media theory since the 1990s .

The traditional distinction between media mediated and medially unmediated experiences has long since become obsolete. The omnipresence of media offers changes individual and social constructions of reality, and at the same time changes their categorical order and relevance assessment. [...] If reference and authenticity are primarily media problems, then knowledge becomes central and not the objects. However, media culture can make people just as aware of the constructiveness of cognition and communication as our indivisible responsibility for dealing with media ”( Media, Culture: Media Culture , p. 447).

Schmidt is also a committed advocate of socio-cultural constructivism .

The "integrative media model"

In his book “Kalte Faszination. Media, culture, science in the media society ” , Schmidt tries to develop an integrative media model (on the following: Schmidt 2000, 94-104). In Schmidt's view, such a model is necessary because the two major schools of thought in media studies, the technology-centered and the anthropological approach, have such different basic assumptions. With his model, Schmidt wants to combine the advantages of both directions in a complex and coherent media model. Constructivism and Luhmann's system theory serve as a theoretical foundation . Schmidt differentiates media into semiotic communication instruments , media technology , social systemic institutionalization and media offers . He understands semiotic communication instruments to be material conditions that are permanent and repeatable and contain societal and structural couplings (e.g. spoken language, images, writing, sounds). According to Schmidt, media technologies influence production and reproduction. The handling of media technologies is taught to people through socialization. Schmidt names the fact that the implementation of a means of communication is tied to social institutions (e.g. school) as social systemic institutionalization . According to Schmidt, the media offers are shaped by the three other aspects. Schmidt also considers the possibility of relationships with the media. Accordingly, media are dependent on people, work through the user and are otherwise without function. However, individual users do not have the media, only many media users as a collective. Schmidt also emphasizes that people can only do with media what the media allow within the framework of the four component dimensions (semiotic communication instruments, etc.). Finally, Schmidt goes into greater detail on the effects of media. He differentiates between the effect of individual media offers, the effect of discursive systems, the effect resulting from technical-media dispositifs and the effect of changing communication, communalization and observation relationships in societies. Natural language plays a special role in Schmidt's media model. For him it is a prototype of communication tools and is part of the media, not an independent medium. Rather, the natural language of media technologies is taken up.


  • Passages - Transitions - Hyper. Ritter Verlag, Klagenfurt, 2014, ISBN 978-3-85415-504-1 .
  • avoiding life - poems. Shoebox House Verlag, Hamburg 2013, ISBN 978-3-941120-13-6 .
  • Siegfried J. Schmidt reading book. Compiled by the author himself. With an afterword by Karl Riha . (Nylands Small Westphalian Library Volume 30). Aisthesis Verlag, Bielefeld 2012, ISBN 978-3-89528-892-0 .
  • Literary Studies from Hermeneutics to Media Culture Studies. CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 12.1 (2010), doi : 10.7771 / 1481-4374.1569
  • The finality of the provisional. Processuality as an argumentation strategy. Velbrück Wissenschaft, Weilerswist 2010.
  • the project. Ritter Verlag, Klagenfurt, 2010.
  • Observation management. About the finality of the provisional . Audio CD, 80 minutes and booklet, 8 pages. supposé, Cologne 2007, ISBN 978-3-932513-79-4 .
  • with G. Zurstiege: communication studies. Systematics and goals. Rowohlt, Reinbek 2007.
  • Between Plato and Mondrian. Ritter Verlag, Klagenfurt 2005.
  • Media and emotions. LIT publishing house. Munster 2005.
  • Corporate culture. The basis for the economic success of companies. Velbrück Wissenschaft, Weilerswist 2004.
  • (Ed.): Manual advertising. Munster 2004.
  • Stories & Discourses. Farewell to constructivism . Rowohlt, Reinbek 2003.
  • Experience. Ritter Verlag, Klagenfurt, 2002.
  • Cold fascination. Media, culture, science in the media society . Velbrück Wissenschaft, Weilerswist 2000, ISBN 3-934730-20-5 .
  • with Guido Zurstiege (Ed.): Orientation Communication Studies. 2000.
  • with Gebhard Rusch (Ed.): Constructivism in Psychiatry and Psychology. Dolphin 1998/99.
  • with Hans R. Fischer (ed.): Reality and World Generation. In memoriam Nelson Goodman. 2000.
  • The taming of the gaze. Constructivism - empiricism - science. 1998.
  • Schmidt, Siegfried J. The Latemar Project . Bozen, Innsbruck; Vienna: EdSturzflug, Studien-Verl, 1998. Print.
  • with Gebhard Rusch (Ed.): Constructivism in media and communication studies. DOLPHIN 1997.
  • with Olaf Breidbach and Gebhard Rusch (eds.): Internal representations. New concepts in brain research. DOLPHIN 1996.
  • with Klaus Merten and Siegfried Weischenberg : The Reality of the Media. An introduction to communication science. 1994.
  • Cognitive autonomy and social orientation. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1994.
  • The head, the world, the art. Constructivism as theory and practice. 1993.
  • Cognition and society. The Discourse of Radical Constructivism 2. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1992.
  • Memory. Problems and perspectives of interdisciplinary memory research. 1991.
  • The self-organization of the literary social system in the 18th century. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1989.
  • (Ed.): The discourse of radical constructivism. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1987.
  • Obituary: Zum Ableben der Konkreten Dichtung, with a chapter on conceptual literature , in: Languages ​​beyond poetry (catalog), Münster 1979
  • Meaning and concept. For the foundation of a linguistic-philosophical semantics. Vieweg, Braunschweig 1969.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. 1034 - Prof. Dr. Siegfried J. Schmidt , Westfälisches Literaturarchiv, accessed on January 6, 2012.
  2. ^ Directory of members: Siegfried J. Schmidt. Academia Europaea, accessed July 17, 2017 .
  3. History - Head of IfK , Department of Communication Studies, Site of the University of Muenster, accessed on January 6, 2012th
  4. Das Lyrikerteffen Münster. City of Münster, accessed on May 4, 2017 (German).