Hi! I am Reader in Media and Communication, in the Department of Sociology, at the University of Surrey, UK. I am also the University's incoming Theme Champion for the new cross-faculty Research Theme 'Technology and Society'- a vibrant new research theme which kicked off in August, 2020. You can find a few of my recent talks on Notist - I've only begun to collect these since the 2020 turn-to-online, but here goes: https://noti.st/drranjanadas
I am a Communications Studies researcher, and I am interested in the social uses, and consequences of new and emerging communication technologies. I have researched media audiences and users in numerous projects. My work has been funded by the Wellcome Trust, the British Academy and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. My recent work has focused on parenting, parenthood and technology, with a particular focus on health and wellbeing.
I hold a PhD in media and communications from the Department of Media and Communication at the London School of Economics(2008-2011) where I was supervised by Professor Sonia Livingstone. I was Post-doctoral Fellow at Leuphana, University of Luneburg(2011-2012), Lecturer at the School of Media, Communication and Sociology at the University of Leicester (2012-2017), Senior Lecturer at the University of Surrey (2017-2019), and Reader at the University of Surrey since 2019. I have directed a research consortium on the future of audiences in the context of emerging technologies (funded by the AHRC, 2015-2018), and have been Chair of the Audience and Reception Studies division of the ECREA (2014-2017).
Areas of specialism
University roles and responsibilities
- University Role: Theme Champion, Technology and Society
- Departmental Role: Programme Director: BSc in Media and Communication
Parenting, driverless cars and work humour among topics of free talks and events with leading academics
Research explores the impact of masculine expectations on new fathers’ mental health
Put simply, I am interested in the uses of tech, in people's lived, daily lives. I started off research audiences of diverse media formats/genres, and since have developed a keen interest in people's stories around technology - the contexts, practices, purposes, hopes, expectations, worries, emotions - around data and digital tech. I have a longstanding interest in the social uses and consequences of new and emerging technologies. I used to call myself an audience researcher, and not sure if I should say I am a 'user' researcher now (doesn't sound quite right!) - but below and under Publications is a clear picture of my interests in tech use, users, user stories, and always, in many ways, audiences!
My work is located within my ongoing interest in users and audiences in my past projects, spanning a variety of media genres.
- With funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, I directed CEDAR - Consortium on Emerging Directions in Audience research, where I led a 29 member research team with Brita Ytre-Arne. The team conducted a foresight analysis exercise on the future of audiences' engagement with media technologies in the context of the IOT and datafication in 2030. This work was funded by the AHRC, UK, and has led to a range of publications (please see publications section)
- My book with Brita Ytre-Arne - The Future of Audiences (2018)
- In the past, my work has included young people's digital literacies on social media
- People's reception of television and film genres
- Public reactions to 'offensive' television content (my new book Provocative Screens with Anne Graefer, Palgrave) and people's regulatory expectations,
- Conceptual developments in communication research in the transformation of audiences to users.
Parenthood, technologies and wellbeing
My current work is positioned as an interdisciplinary and policy-relevant space where media technologies, sociology, communication and cultural studies interface with parenthood, health and well-being. In this space, I converge my interests in media and evolving technologies, motherhood and fatherhood, family relationships, e-health and parent/patient discussion platforms, public engagement with families and healthcare policy. Please see the publications section for details of my writing in this area. You can also find my blogs on the topic on the Surrey Sociology Departmental Blog.
This draws upon -
- My very recent rapid response work during the COVID19 pandemic on the impacts of he pandemic and its social distancing measures on maternal mental health. The full report is here.
- My Wellcome Trust project (2018-2019) on the health communication practice of South Asian migrant mothers with postnatal mental health difficulties;
- My Surrey - FASS funded project with Paul Hodkinson on new fathers, mental wellbeing and social media technologies
- My just concluded British Academy project (2016-2018) investigating digital technologies and women's peri-natal experiences in the UK - looking at apps, forums, social networking sites, vlogging sites and other areas
- A research monograph with Routledge on the above titled Early Motherhood in Digital Societies (Routledge, 2020), and related journal articles.
- A co-authored book with Paul Hodkinson titled New Fathers Mental Health and Digital Communication (under contract with Palgrave).
This project gathered evidence relating to the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health and wellbeing during pregnancy and maternity. The full report contains findings from a qualitative project with 14 pregnant women and new mothers, conducted during May 2020. The project investigated the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic and resultant social distancing and lockdown measures on perinatal mental health, and the role, efficacy and nuances of formal and informal digital support at such a time.
This project is a collaboration with Paul Hodkinson, and analyses in-depth, qualitative material on new fathers’ experiences of mental health difficulties after having a baby and, in particular, their use of online communications as part of their coping practices. Arising out of a project funded by the Faculty of Arts and Social Science at the University of Surrey that centred on in depth interviews with 15 fathers, we have produced 2 journal papers, quite a few blogs and are now beginning to write a book. Our book (under contract with Palgrave) plans to set out the intense difficulties men can endure in recognizing the nature of perinatal struggles and communicating with others about them, before going on to provide a detailed analysis of the complex and varied engagements they have with digital communications as part of their experience.
This is new Wellcome Trust funded project (2018-2019) where we have conducted interviews with South Asian migrant mothers and healthcare professionals on the challenges, complexities and roadblocks facing migrant mothers seeking to communicate about perinatal wellbeing. This project is a collaboration with Nadine Page from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.
As part of this British Academy funded project I have interviewed mothers and healthcare professionals, and collected online data, on the ways in which women make use of the internet in the perinatal period. This work has been published as numerous journal articles and blogs, and is shortly due out as my monograph titled Early Motherhood in Digital Societies, with Routledge.
I have recently directed CEDAR - a 29 member team which conducted a foresight analysis exercise on the future of audiences' engagement with media technologies in the context of the IOT and datafication in 2030. This work was funded by the AHRC, UK, and has led to a range of publications, including the book The Future of Audiences: A Foresight Analysis of Interfaces and Engagement with Palgrave Macmillan (jointly edited with Brita Ytre-Arne).
With my colleague Anne Graefer, we conducted fieldwork in Britian and Germany to investigate people's responses to media content they find 'offensive'. This work has been published as various articles, and our book Provocative Screens: Offended Audiences in Britain and Germany with Palgrave.
I am the Programme Director of our BSc in Media and Communication where students delve into theories of media power, regulation and audiences, critical studies of data and datafication, platform societies and global media and communication.
My teaching in the Department is entirely devoted to compulsory modules in our BSc in Media and Communication, where I teach on topics directly related to my research interests and expertise. For the forthcoming future, subject to any last minute changes my teaching portfolio includes -
Doctoral Supervision: I have supervised/am currently supervising and/or involved in supervisory teams dealing with topics related to LGBTQ Dating Apps, very young audiences, political audiences, television and soap opera audiences, media representations of students etc. I welcome PhD applications on any topics that deal with digital societies, media and communication technologies, media audiences and users. Other topics might also be of interest, in which case, please do get in touch with me.
Courses I teach on
Hodkinson, P. & Das, R. (In Press, 2021). New Fathers, Mental Health and Digital Communication. London: Palgrave
This book analyses in-depth, qualitative material on new fathers’ experiences of mental health difficulties after having a baby and, in particular, their use of online communications as part of their coping practices. Arising out of a project funded by the Faculty of Arts and Social Science at the University of Surrey that centred on in depth interviews with 15 fathers, at the heart of the book are the ways discourses of masculinity and fatherhood can exacerbate fathers’ difficulties and prevent them from communicating with others, and the extent to which social media may provide opportunities to negotiate, escape from or contest such discourses through engaging with information and others, disclosing struggles and seeking support. We examine the digital mediation of emotions around paternal mental health, the emergence of new, networked paternal intimacies, and new forms of connection and disconnection which shape, resource, and potentially empower fathers communicating about mental health.
Das, R. (2019). Early Motherhood in Digital Societies: Ideals, anxieties and ties of the perinatal. London: Routledge
Early Motherhood in Digital Societies offers a nuanced understanding of what the digital turn has meant for new mothers in an intense and critical period before and after they have a baby, often called the ‘perinatal’ period. The book looks at an array of digital communication and content by drawing on an extensive research project involving in-depth interviews with new mothers in the United Kingdom and online case studies. The book asks: what does the use of technology mean in the perinatal context and what implications might it have for maternal wellbeing? The book argues for a balanced and context-sensitive approach to the digital in the context of perinatality and maternal wellbeing in the critical perinatal period.
Das, R. & Ytre-Arne, B. (2018). The future of audiences: A foresight analysis of interfaces and engagement. London: Palgrave Macmillan
This book brings together contributions from scholars across Europe to present findings from a foresight analysis exercise on audiences and audience analysis, looking towards an increasingly datafied world. The book uses knowledge emerging out of three foresight exercises, produced in cooperation with more than 50 stake-holding organisations and building on systematic reviews of audience research, to arrive at a renewed agenda for audience studies.
Das, R. & Graefer, A. (2017).Provocative Screens. Offended Audiences in Britain and Germany. Palgrave Macmillan (Pivot)
This book offers a nuanced understanding of ‘offensive’ television content by drawing on an extensive research project, involving in-depth interviews and focus groups with audiences in Britain and Germany. Provocative Screens asks: what makes something really offensive and to whom in what context? Why it offence felt so differently? And how does offensive content matter in public life, regulation, and institutional understandings?
GUEST-EDITED SPECIAL ISSUES
- Das, R. Eds. (2018). A field in flux: The intriguing pasts and the promising future of audience analysis. Special issue of Television and New Media
- Das, R. & Ytre-Arne, B. Eds. (2016). Emerging directions in audience research: Lessons from the Consortium on Emerging Directions in Audience Research. Special Issue of Participations, 13(1).
- Das, R. Eds (2013). Audiences: A cross-generational dialogue. A special issue of The Communication Review 16 (1)
- Das, R. (Under Review). COVID-19, perinatal mental health and maternal anxiety: A qualitative exploration of perinatal anxiety amidst the English lockdown of spring 2020
- Ytre-Arne, B.; & Das, R. (2020). Audiences’ communicative agency in a datafied age: Interpretative, relational and increasingly prospective. Communication Theory
- Das, R. & Hodkinson, P. (2020). Affective coding: Strategies of online steganography in fathers’ mental health disclosure. New Media and Society
- Das, R., & Hodkinson, P. (2019). Tapestries of intimacy: Networked intimacies and new fathers’ emotional self-disclosure of mental health struggles. Social Media+ Society, 5(2), 2056305119846488.
- Das, R. (2018). Temporally inexpensive, affectively expensive: Digitally mediated maternal interpersonal ties in the perinatal months. Communication, Culture and Critique
- Das, R. (2018). A Field in Flux: The Intriguing Past and the Promising Future of Audience Analysis. Television and New Media
- Ytre-Arne, B. &; Das, R. (2018). An agenda in the interest of audiences: Facing the challenges of intrusive media technologies. Television and New Media
- Das, R. (2018). Populist discourse on a British social media patient-support community: The case of the Charlie Gard support campaign on Facebook. Discourse Context and Media
- Das, R. (2018). The mediated subjectivities of the maternal: A critique of childbirth videos on YouTube. Communication Review.
- Zsubori, A. & Das, R. (2018). Twenty years of Pottermania: Youthful experiences of fantasy at the intersections of the fictive and ‘real’. Journal of Children and Media 12 (4).
- Das, R. & Graefer, A. (2017). Regulatory expectations of offended audiences: The citizen interest in audience discourse. Communication, Culture and Critique. Online First.
- Das, R. (2017). Speaking about birth: Visible and silenced narratives in online discussions of childbirth. Social Media + Society.
- Das, R & Ytre-Arne, B. (2017). Critical, Agentic, Transmedia: Frameworks and Findings from a Foresight Analysis exercise on audience research. European Journal of Communication.*Gold Open Access*
- Das, R. (2017). The mediation of childbirth: Joyful birthing and strategies of silencing on a Facebook advice and support group. European Journal of Cultural Studies, Online First
- Das, R. (2017). Audiences: A decade of transformations: Reflections from the CEDAR network on emerging directions in audience analysis. Media, culture and society. Online First.
- Das, R. (2017). Stories about a queen: Viewing Bengali television drama in urban India. Critical Studies in Television 12(3).
- Graefer, A. & Das, R. (2017). Towards a contextual approach: Audiences, television, and 'offensive' humour. European Journal of Cultural Studies.
- Das, R. (2016). “I've walked this street”: Readings of reality in British children's reception of the Harry Potter series. Journal of Children and Media 10(3)
- Das, R. & Ytre-Arne. B. (2016). After the excitement: An introduction to the work of CEDAR. Participations 13(1). pp 280-288
- Das, R. and Pavlickova, T (2014). Is there as author behind this text? A literary aesthetic driven understanding of trust in interactive media. New Media and Society 16 (3)
- Das, R. (2014) An appropriate inheritance: On being and not being an audience researcher. International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics 10 (2)
- Das, R. (2013). Introduction. In - Audiences: A cross-generational dialogue. A special issue of The Communication Review 16 (1)
- Das, R (2013). “To be number one in someone's eyes…” Children's introspections about close relationships in reading Harry Potter.European Journal of Communication 28 (5)
- Das, R. (2012). Children reading an online genre: Heterogeneity in interpretive work. Popular Communication 10 (4)
- Das, R (2012). The task of interpretation. Participations: The international journal of audience and reception studies. 9 (1)
- Das, R (2011). Converging perspectives in audience studies and digital literacies: youthful interpretations of an online genre. European Journal of Communication, 26: 4, 343-360
- Das, R (2010). Meaning at the Interface: new genres, new modes of interpretative engagement? Communication Review13 (2), 140-159
- Das, R (2010). Digital youth, heterogeneity and diversity. Journal of Media Practice 11: 3
- Ong. J. & Das, R. ( 2019). The contributions of television audience studies in the networked age: Looking back to look forward. In Shimpach, S. Eds (2019). The Routledge Companion to Global Television
- Das, R. (2018) Childbirth online: The mediation of contrasting discourses. In Mascheroni, G, Ponte, C. & Jorge, A. (Eds). Digital parenting: the challenges for families in the digital age. Gothenburg: Nordicom.
- Das, R. & Ytre-Arne, B. (2018). A new crossroads for audiences and audience analysis. In Das, R. & Ytre-Arne, B. (Eds). The Future of Audiences: A foresight analysis. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Das, R. (2018). From implications to responsibilities. In Das, R. & Ytre-Arne, B. (Eds). The Future of Audiences: A foresight analysis. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Das, R., Ytre-Arne, B. Mathieu, D., & Stehling, M. (2018) Our methodological approach: The intuitive-analytical balance. In Das, R. & Ytre-Arne, B. (Eds). The Future of Audiences: A foresight analysis. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Vesnic-Alejevic, L., Seddighi, G., Mathieu, D., & Das, R. (2018). Drivers and scenarios for 2030. In Das, R. & Ytre-Arne, B. (Eds). The Future of Audiences: A foresight analysis. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Ytre-Arne, B. & Das, R.( 2018). Where next for audiences in communication? An emergent research agenda. In Das, R. & Ytre-Arne, B. (Eds). The Future of Audiences: A foresight analysis. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Das, R., Kleut, J., & Bolin, G. (2014). New Genres-New Roles for the Audience?. Audience Transformations Shifting Audience Positions in Late Modernity, 30-46.
- Livingstone, S & Das, R. (2012). The End of Audiences? Theoretical echoes of reception amidst the uncertainties of use. Chapter for the Blackwell Companion to New Media Dynamics, edited by John Hartley, Jean Burgess and Axel Bruns
- Das, R (2010). The task of interpretation: converging perspectives in audience research and digital literacies? In Nico Carpentier, et. Al. (Eds.)Media and Communication Studies Intersections and Interventions. Tartu: University of Tartu Press
*New*: Latest Research Reports
- Das, R. (2020).COVID-19, Perinatal Mental Health and the Digital Pivot: Findings from a qualitative project and recommendations for a 'new normal'. Guildford, Surrey.
- Das, R. & Hodkinson, P. (2019). New Fathers, Mental Health and Social Media. Guildford, Surrey.
- Das, R. (Eds.) (2019). Migrant mothers' mental health communication in the perinatal period. Guildford, Surrey.
- Das, R. (2020). COVID19, Perinatal Mental Health and the Digital Pivot. Guildford, Surrey.
- Das, R. & Hodkinson, P. (2019). New Fathers, Mental Health and Social Media. Guildford, Surrey.
- Das, R. (Eds.) (2019). Migrant mothers' mental health communication in the perinatal period. Guildford, Surrey.
- Das, R. & Ytre-Arne, B. (2017). Audiences 2030: CEDAR Final Report. Surrey: CEDAR.
- Livingstone, S., & Das, R. (2010) Media, communication and information technologies for the European family: a Report for Family Platform.
- Livingstone, S., & Das, R. (2010) POLIS Family and Media Report. POLIS, LSE, UK
- Das, R. & Beckett, C. Eds. (2010) Digital Natives: A Myth? A POLIS Paper from the Silverstone Panel on Digital Natives at the LSE, 2009.
- Livingstone, S., Witschge, T., Das, R., Hill, A., Kavada, A., Hallett, L., Starkey, G., Lunt, P. (2010). Existing and emerging audience research in the UK: A review for the Transforming Audiences, Transforming Societies COST Action, August 2010
- Livingstone, S., & Das, R. (2009) Public Attitudes, Tastes and Standards: A Review of the Available Empirical Research: A Report for the BBC.
- Das, R. (2009): Researching Youthful Literacies: Concepts, boundaries, questions. First report as Silverstone Scholar 2009-2010 for POLIS, the Media and Society think-tank, Summer 2009. Available at POLIS Papers:http://www.polismedia.org/workingpapers.aspx
- Das, R. (2020).‘Down will come baby, cradle and all’: Maternal anxiety in giving birth and raising infants amidst COVID19. BSA Everyday Society.
- Das, R. (2020).Birth and beyond in a pandemic: Findings from a project with mothers in the England lockdown of spring 2020 . Centre for Research on Families and Relationships.
- Das, R. & Hodkinson, P. (2020).Dad, distanced: The turbulence of new fatherhood amidst a pandemic. Discover Society.
- Das, R. (2020).Covid19, new motherhood and the digital pivot. Discover Society.
- New Book: Key Conclusions from Early Motherhood in Digital Societies – Ideals, Anxieties and Ties of the Perinatal. Surrey Sociology Blog.
- Das, R. (2019). New Book: Key Conclusions from Early Motherhood in Digital Societies – Ideals, Anxieties and Ties of the Perinatal. Surrey Sociology Blog.
- Das, R. (2019). Showcasing Mental Health Research at Surrey Sociology: At the Intersections of Sociology, Criminology and Media and Communications. Surrey Sociology Blog.
- Das, R. (2019). New Report: Migrant Mothers’ Mental Health Communication in the Perinatal Period. Surrey Sociology Blog.
- Das, R. (2019). UK Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week: Mums Matter in Digital Societies. Surrey Sociology Blog.
- Das, R. (2019). Mothers’ Day: Ambivalences, Fractures and Ambiguities of ‘Mother’ . Surrey Sociology Blog.
- Das, R. (2019). The Web is 30 at Surrey Sociology: A Grand and Glorious Trajectory. Surrey Sociology Blog.
- Das, R. & Hodkinson, P. (2019). Rescinding the ‘Rock’: Masculine imperatives to support and mental health struggles among new fathers. Surrey Sociology Blog.
- Das, R. (2019). Going online for maternal mental health? A balanced, context-sensitive approach to placing maternal mental health on the digital health roadmap. Surrey Sociology Blog.
- Das, R. & Hodkinson, P. (2019). Evidence to the Womens and Equalities Select Committee on the Mental Health of Men and Boys.
- Das, R. & Hodkinson, P. (2019). Is Dad OK?. Blog for NCT.
- Das, R. (2018). Data-walking in Guildford: Final year forays into the sociology of datafication. Surrey Sociology Blog. Das, R. (2018). Data-walking in Guildford: Final year forays into the sociology of datafication. Surrey Sociology Blog.
- Das, R. (2018). Social media and maternal perinatal wellbeing: Findings from fieldwork with new mothers. Surrey Sociology Blog.
- Das, R & Hodkinson, P. (2018). Paternal mental health and social media: Early fieldwork reflections on disclosure, affective coding and disconnection. Blog for Surrey Sociology.
- Das, R. (2018). Alfie’s Army, misinformation and propaganda: The need for critical media literacy in a mediated world. Blog for Surrey Sociology.
- Das, R. (2018). Maternal wellbeing and the internet: Balancing optimism and caution. Blog for Parenting for Digital Futures, LSE.
- Das, R. & Hodkinson, P. (2018). Fathers in the spotlight: Why this matters and why we are researching new fathers’ mental health. Blog for Surrey Sociology.
- Das, R. & Graefer, A. (2017). Offended audiences and regulatory expectations: Of red flags and red herrings. Article for Think Leicester, January 2017.
- Das, R. (2017). Mothers, parenting and online networks. Interview aired on BBC Three Counties Radio.
- Das, R. (2016). Peer to peer forums for mums. Interview given to GEM Radio Leicestershire.
- Das, R. (2016). Why we need to pay attention to online peer to peer support forums for new mothers. Think Leicester.
- Das, R. & Graefer, A. (2016). What really makes something offensive? The Conversation.
- Das, R. (2016). Mediated parenting wars. Parenting for digital futures. LSE. http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/parenting4digitalfuture/2016/08/10/mediated-parenting-wars-a-new-mums-account/
- Das, R. (2016). 5 reasons why we need to study childbirth and the media. Think Leicester. July 2016.
- Das, R. (2013) LSE POLIS blog. Entry for the Raped! The Indian polity in shamblesDas, R. (2013).
- Livingstone, S. & Das, R (2013) Interpretation/reception. Oxford Bibliographies
- Das, R (2011): Soap Opera and Telenovelas. Entry for the Encyclopaedia of Consumer Culture, Sage Publications.
- Das, R. (2011). Parents Trust, but Kids not Critical Enough Online. Invited entry for the LSE Media Policy Blog.
- Das, R. (2011). Teenagers and the Internet: new research on the reality of social media and youth. Invited entry for theLSE POLIS blog.
reflections from the CEDAR network on emerging directions
in audience analysis,Media, Culture & Society 39 (8) pp. 1257-1267 Sage
transformative, if uncertain, decade for audience analysis, faced with
rapidly fragmenting media environments. Next, reflecting on the research
done by a 14 country network ? Consortium on Emerging Directions in
Audience Research (CEDAR), funded by the Arts and Humanities Research
Council, UK ? I examine the features of this decade of transformation,
paying attention to the intellectual markers that punctuate this decade and
make it stand out in the history of audience studies. I focus on four pivotal
axes of transformations which emerge out of the analysis conducted by the
CEDAR network and argue that these four represent significant ways in
which audience analysis has lived through an uncertain but exciting
decade. These axes are ? audiences? changing coping strategies with
hyper-connected media, audience interruptions of media content flows, the
co-option of audience labour, and the micro-macro politics of audience
action. I conclude by locating this transformative decade 2004-2014
against a longer backdrop of uncertain moments and periods of flux in the
field, arguing, that not unlike those points in time, now too, audience
analysis has reached a newer, more unknown, but very significant phase.
audience research and digital literacies.,In: Carpentier N, Tomani? Trivund~a I, Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt P, Sundin E, Olsson T, Kilborn R, Nieminen H, Bart B (eds.), Media and Communication Studies Interventions and Intersections The intellectual work of the 2010 ECREA European media and communication doctoral summer school pp. 81-96 Tartu University Press
ková T (2014) Is there an author behind this text? A literary aesthetic driven approach to interactive media,New Media & Society 16 (3) pp. 381-397 SAGE Publications
Indian English author, Kiran Desai. Titled ?The Inheritance of Loss?, the novel
maps out the intertwining lives of a young Indian girl Sai, her grandfather,
and her Nepalese lover, set against the backdrop of the ?messy map? of Indian
borders merging with the borders of Bhutan, high up in the Himalayan mountains.
The protagonists then move negotiating race, class and ethnicity as the
messy map ? of borders and identities ? begins to involve Cambridge, and
the rest of England. What resonated with me the most was the protagonist
Sai?s realization that, in order to make sense of the messy map of her past,
her present and indeed ? her inheritance that shapes who she is ??Never again
could she think there was but one narrative and that this narrative belonged only to
herself, that she might create her own tiny happiness and live safely within it.?
So, borrowing from Sai?s realization about multiple narratives, in this article
I will write, as an ?early career academic?, of my experiences of entering a
field of audience research where many proclaimed it dead to begin with, and
I began, in all earnest ? to prove that indeed, audience research wasn?t dead,
that there was much to do, that there is a particular narrative of the field that
everybody must surely note and value and draw from, and most importantly ?
that I had an identity. I was an audience researcher. It was in being an audience
researcher that I ?might create my own tiny happiness and live safely within it?.
brow have now long occupied the interests of the academy. This is a point to be taken seriously
especially within children?s literature circles, where reading and reception is often generalised
about under the theoretical umbrella of ?the reader? and ?the spectator? who is ?drawn? into a
range of largely unproven pathways by the text. This article explores youthful perceptions of
real-life, close relationships, the projection of these relationships onto those seen in the media
text and the resulting mediation of relationship ideals, desires and wishes. Analysing data from
fieldwork with teen audiences of the Harry Potter series, this article argues that there is more to
the mediation of relationships than the undoubtedly rich discussions of the media bringing people
together at the moment of reception/use, whether online or offline. The findings presented in
the article reveal the intricate and often perplexing ways in which children continue to introspect
long after the act of reception, drawing parallels between relationships in their own lives and
those they read about or view. The article draws attention to the introspective depth with
which children use screen/text relationships as raw material to ponder emotional questions,
ones, for instance, on love, hate, detachment, attachment and friendship, and the many ways the
media mediate real-life relationships not by setting unreachable ideals to emulate but by offering
The End of Audiences?
Theoretical Echoes of Reception Amid the Uncertainties of Use,In: Hartley J, Burgess J, Bruns A (eds.), A Companion to New Media Dynamics Wiley-Blackwell
in the European Family
Working Report, Family Platform
Technical University Dortmund, FAMILYPLATFORM gathers a consortium of 12 organisations
working together to articulate key questions about the family for the European Social
Science and Humanities Research Agenda 2012?2013.
There are four key stages to the project. The first is to chart and review the major trends of
comparative family research in the EU in 8 ?Existential Fields? (EF). The second is to critically
review existing research on the family, and the third is to build on our understanding of
existing issues affecting families and predict future conditions and challenges facing them.
The final stage is to bring the results and findings of the previous three stages together, and
propose key scientific research questions about families to be tackled with future EU
This Working Report has been produced for the first stage of the project, and is part of a
series of reports.
A POLIS Paper,
the UK: a review for the Transforming
Audiences, Transforming Societies COST
Action,COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) pp. 1-9
?Facebook streets?,Particip@tions : journal of audience and reception studies 9 (1) pp. 1-25 Stanford University
emergent from many decades of empirical research with mass media audiences, is useful in
understanding engagement with new media. This conceptual task is pursued empirically by
applying a conceptual repertoire derived from reception analysis to interviews with youthful
users of the online genre of social networking sites (SNSs). A conceptual repertoire from
audience reception studies is used to analyse findings from conversations with children
using the online genre of social networking sites. Drawing a parallel between audience
interpretation and new media use, in this paper, the roles, responsibilities and tasks
involved in navigating an online genre are outlined with the help of four mutually
intersecting categories. The tasks are those of collaboration, critique, intertextuality and
tackling textual interruptions, and their borders interact in messy relationships. The
interpretative contract which symbolises a relationship of mutuality between text and
reader, media and audience, technology and user, is mobilized to conclude that there are
significant parallels between audience reception and new media use, at both theoretical
and empirical levels.
Offended Audiences in Britain and Germany, Palgrave Macmillan
international network on audience research, as we stand 75 years from
Herta Herzog?s (1942) classic investigation of radio listeners, published in
Lazarsfeld and Stanton?s 1944 war edition of Radio Research. The paper
aims to contribute to and advance a rich strand of self-reflexive stocktaking
and sorting of future research priorities within the transforming field
of audience analysis, by drawing on the collective efforts of CEDAR ?
Consortium on Emerging Directions in Audience Research - a 14 country
network (2015-2018) funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council,
UK, which conducted a foresight analysis exercise on developing current
trends and future scenarios for audiences and audience research in the
year 2030. First, we wish to present the blueprint of what we did and how
we did it ? by discussing the questions, contexts and frameworks for our
project. We hope this is useful for anyone considering a foresight analysis
task, an approach we present as an innovative and rigorous tool for
assessing and understanding the future of a field. Second, we present
findings from our analysis of pivotal transformations in the field and the
future scenarios we constructed for audiences, as media technologies
rapidly change with the arrival of the Internet of Things and changes on
many levels occur in audience practices. These findings not only make
sense of a transformative decade that we have just lived through but they
present possibilities for the future, outlining areas for individual and
collective intellectual commitment.
parenting forum, drawing upon a broader project on the mediation of childbirth. I present three
themes in analysis ?the multi-pronged functions of writing birth narratives, the discursive and
perceived silencing of difficult stories and the overt individualisation and self-management
evident in women?s accounts. I locate these as outcomes of the individualisation of maternity in
contemporary society and pendulum swings in cultural and policy level conceptualisations of
how births ?should be?. I argue for greater attention to be paid to the mediation of parenting and
networked maternal subjectivities.
Facebook discussion group,European Journal of Cultural Studies SAGE Publications
communication and cultural studies scholars alike. This paper locates itself
within this developing strand of research, as it explores discourses of
intensive motherhood on a Facebook discussion group providing support
and advice for a specific approach to and philosophy of childbirth.
Presenting findings from an analysis of main posts and comments made on
them, I tease out the brighter and darker sides of the performance of
motherhood in anticipation of birth, on social media, reading these against
discussions about the self-managing, intensive mother responsible for
making the very best decisions for her child.
urban India,Critical Studies in Television 12 (3) pp. 256-272 SAGE Publications
Indian city in the twenty-first century. Deriving insights from an empirical study that make
interpretive negotiations of a specific Bengali television text its analytical object, this
article argues that interpretive practices around the broadcast media texts act as resources
in understanding lived media cultures in a historical frame and therefore provide a
continued impetus to keep audience analysis on the map of communication and cultural
studies without prematurely proclaiming its race is run in the age of digital media.
specific style of natural births called hypno-births, which make use of relaxation and
hypnosis techniques during labour and birthing, and offer an alternative to birthing in
interventionist, obstetrics-led settings. Moving forward from the visible advantages of
relaxation and hypnosis related birthing support, within the context of the natural
birthing movement , to restore women's agency in birthing, resisting and rejecting
hyper-medicalized technocratic cultures of births, this paper suggests that these homemade,
amateur hypnobirthing videos need to be viewed against the feminist critique of
the intensive motherhood discourse, which sees the videos producing the birthing
mother as an individualized, self-regulating and highly invested, neo-liberal subject,
transcending pain in a mythic journey of blissful birthing.
This report has been produced by the CEDAR network which was funded
by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, to run between 2015-2018.
This paper considers the ways in which new fathers use networked media to negotiate, initiate and reciprocate intimate ties with others in the context of mental health difficulties. We shed light on the fluid and cross-cutting networked intimacies (Andreassen et al, 2017) which men negotiate as they cope with their difficulties within broader contexts of silences around male mental health. A particular focus is the disclosure of their struggles to others as an affectively significant moment in the building of intimate ties, taking forward Chambers? (2013, 2016) notion of self-disclosure as the engine that drives intimacies (see also Nicholson, 2013). As part of this, we explore the ways social media platforms and their affordances are worked with, within and against, in the emotionally fraught and liminal moment of mental health disclosure and the connections that ensue. This means we pay attention not just to the establishment of new intimate connections online, but also to the mediated shaping of existing close relationships ? locating our project, at its topmost level, within mediated frameworks (Silverstone, 1999; Thompson, 1995) of interpersonal ties (Baym, 2015).
The research on which this paper is based consisted of 15 interviews with fathers who had suffered mental health difficulties after having a baby. Our overarching research question was: What role, if any, do networked media play in new fathers? negotiations of mental health difficulties? Within this broad framework, we nested subsidiary questions around new fathers? circumstances, support (both seeking and provision) and communication. Our focus on disclosure and intimacies in this paper connects to all of these, but particularly the last two. Following discussions of the literature and our methodology, our findings are divided into two parts. First, in intimacies, negotiated we outline how existing, and often strongly bonded, intimacies are complexified by the arrival of mental health difficulties, and how networked media are sometimes deployed as part of the negotiation of mental health disclosure within these existing relationships. Second, in intimacies, initiated we consider how and why networked media emerges to be central to initiating new intimacies centred upon either explicit or more coded forms of disclosure, and how they mediate the encountering of others? attempts to reach out.
At the heart of our findings across these sections are the complexity and plurality of the mediated ties fathers negotiated in relation to their struggles, the powerful emotion-work that the engagement with or establishment of such connections involves, and the liminality and sometimes even invisibility of some of this emotion-work. Bringing these themes together is our use of the textile metaphor of the tapestry. First, a tapestry is a form of textile art, where threads of diverse kinds and colours are woven together, cross-cutting and overlapping. This aspect of the metaphor brings us close to the overlapping and simultaneous nature of intimacies in the contexts of these men?s lives, where old intimacies co-exist with newly unfolding ones. Second, the weaving in a tapestry is done against a strong backdrop, and this backdrop of the tapestry ? the contexts of these men?s lives ? is one we cannot begin to conceptualise outside of frameworks of mediation (Livingstone, 2008; Silverstone, 1999). And third, tapestries consist of what is called ?weft-faced weaving?, where warp threads are hidden, unlike in plain cloth weaving, where both warp and weft threads are visible. As our analysis demonstrates, a good deal of the emotion-work performed in these networked intimacies is fleeting, hidden, ambiguously coded, but rarely, we suggest, absent.
This project analysed in-depth, qualitative material on new fathers? experiences of mental health difficulties after having a baby.
In particular, we focused on fathers' use of online communications as part of their coping practices.
Arising out of a project funded by the Faculty of Arts and Social Science at the University of Surrey that centred on in depth interviews with 15 fathers in the UK, the project explored the intense difficulties men can endure in recognizing the nature of perinatal struggles and communicating with others about them.
This brief report presents findings from our analysis of the complex and varied engagements they have with digital communications as part of their experience.
New fathers are often are unaware of the possibility of perinatal mental health challenges and
also can experience significant difficulties with seeking support.
We found that isolation and the lack of spaces to speak about their experiences is a significant problem.
Fathers found it particularly difficult to express their difficulties to those close to them because of their investment into close relationships, and a need they felt to not let people down.
Most fathers spoke of masculine pressures to be 'the rock' and their perceived self-conceptions as providers, not recipients, of support.
Fathers sometimes turn to social media to seek information and express themselves. Such online resources can provide an invaluable source of information and interaction but do not always enable them to reach out or receive the support they need.
" The implications of perinatal mental health difficulties for mothers, babies and families is outlined succinctly in NICE guidance on the topic and perinatal mental ill-health remains the leading cause of maternal suicide in the first year. Many do not find diagnosis or support when Health Visiting services are struggling owing to public funding cuts.
" COVID-19 stands to impact perinatal mental health significantly ?
" The pandemic might be reasonably expected to heighten pressures across the board during pregnancy and maternity by bringing higher socio-economic risks for women, exacerbated psycho-social risks, maternal isolation, halted routine contact with health-care professionals and familial/peer networks, relationship stresses and heightened maternal anxiety. These are significant sources of additional pressures perinatally
" COVID-19 and its broader socio-economic impacts, social distancing measures and changes to ante-natal and post-natal support services are likely to impact maternal mental health perinatally (before and after childbirth) with short and long-term risks for women, babies and families.
" In addition, such COVID-19 impacts in pregnancy and maternity will be experienced differently across communities, as evidence already exists that mothers from vulnerable groups and minority communities are at greater risk of poor mental health perinatally. In addition, minority-ethnic mothers face increased risks.
" Amidst this, a rapid digital pivot is starting, with numerous perinatal charity services moving online at speed. These are becoming a much-needed lifeline for many, who, under conditions of COVID-19, are impacted disproportionately by social distancing measures. The efficacy, resourcing, security and consequences of this digital move will need research as the pandemic and its impacts unfold.