Maria Bakardjieva

senior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2014/2015
discipline Communication
Full Professor, University of Calgary

Research project

The Structures of the Lifeworld Revisited: A Critical Phenomenology of the Internet


This project investigates the transformations in the experienced lifeworld brought about by Internet technologies and practices through the  lens of the phenomenological sociology of Alfred Schutz. It inquires into the wider social and political consequences of these transformations by expanding Schutz’ framework with concepts  and questions stemming from schools of thought such as Phenomenology of Technology, Medium Theory, and Critical Theory. This conceptual work is substantiated through analysis of an  extensive dataset of in-depth interviews with various categories of Internet users that the author has conducted over a period of ten years. A wide range of existing qualitative studies of Internet use spanning different social and cultural contexts is also examined with a view to its theoretical and practical implications. The results of this analysis will offer novel understanding of the distinctions and interactions between the public and private spheres, laymen and experts, ordinary citizens and power elites, self-identity and community in the network society. In addition, they will suggest directions for user-centered technological design, media policy and education that take into account the substantive changes in the human condition associated with the penetration of digital  communication technologies in all areas of life. The new ways in which citizens in the network society experience their positions, responsibilities and possibilities for action vis-a-vis the public and political world will form a major focus of the project.




Maria Bakardjieva is Full Professor at the Department of Communication, Media and Film at the University of Calgary. She holds a Ph.D in Communication from Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada; and a Ph.D in Sociology from The Institute of Sociology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. She is the author of Internet Society: The Internet in Everyday Life (2005, Sage). Maria served as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication from 2011 to 2013.


Her research has examined Internet use practices across different social and cultural context with a focus on users’ active appropriation of new media. Her current projects seek to understand the role of digital media in civic mobilization and their potential to enhance democratic participation in the public sphere.

Selected publications

‘Social Media and the McDonaldization of Friendship’, The European Journal of Communication Research, vol. 39, no. 4, 2014, pp. 369–387.


‘Rationalizing Sociality: An Unfinished Script for Socialbots’, The Information Society [online journal], forthcoming in May 2015, DOI: 10.1080/01972243.2015.1020197.


'Mundane Citizenship: New Media and Civil Society in Bulgaria', Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 64, no. 8, 2012, pp. 1356-1374.


‘Reconfiguring the Mediapolis: New Media and Civic Agency’, New Media and Society [online journal], vol.14, no. 1, 2012, 63–79. Available:


‘Web 2.0 Technologies of the Self’, with G. Gaden, Philosophy & Technology, vol. 25, no. 3, 2012, pp. 399-413. Available:

‘Subactivism: Lifeworld and politics in the age of the Internet’, The Information Society, Vol. 25, no. 2, 2009, pp. 91-104.


Internet Society: The Internet in Everyday Life, Thousand Oaks, London, 2005; Sage, New Delhi, 2005; Chinese translation, Weber Academic Publishers, 2011.


senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2011/2012
Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM)
discipline Philosophy
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2016/2017
Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM)
discipline Literature
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2013/2014
Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM)
discipline Media
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2017/2018
Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM)
discipline History