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.
My current work in the area is a joint endeavour with Paul Hodkinson and funded by the ESRC's Impact Acceleration account. This is a partnership with the Institute of Health Visiting and the National Childbirth Trust. Pooling together academic research and professional expertise in the area of mental health support for new parents, we will be developing resources for parents and practitioners to better support perinatal mental health over the course of 2020 and 2021. Please visit the project website for more information.
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.
- 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. & Beszlag, D. (2021). Migrant mothers' experiences of perinatal mental ill health in the UK and their expectations of healthcare. Journal of Health Visiting Online First.
- Das, R. (Under Review). COVID-19, perinatal mental health and maternal anxiety: Gender and individualisation amidst the English lockdown of spring 2020
- Das, R. (Under Review). The turn-to-digital amidst COVID-19 impacts on pregnancy and maternity in the UK: An agenda for stronger digitally-supported mental health during and beyond the pandemic
- 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. & Hodkinson, P (2020). Building Resources for Maternal and Paternal Perinatal Support. https://ihv.org.uk/news-and-views/voices/building-resources-for-maternal-and-paternal-perinatal-support/
- 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.