Dr Ranjana Das


Reader in Media and Communication; University Theme Champion for Technology and Society
PhD, MSc, MA, BSc, FHEA
+44 (0)1483 683766
38 AD 03

Academic and research departments

Department of Sociology.

Biography

Areas of specialism

Digital societies and technologies; Users; Media and audiences; Big data, Emerging Technologies, the Internet of Things ; Parenthood, parenting and families

University roles and responsibilities

  • University Role: Theme Champion, Technology and Society
  • Departmental Role: Programme Director: BSc in Media and Communication

My qualifications

2011
PhD in Media and Communications
London School of Economics (LSE)
2008
MSc in Media and Communications (Research)
London School of Economics (LSE)
2007
MA in Mass Communication
AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, New Delhi
2005
BSc in Geography
University of Calcutta, India

Research

Research interests

Research projects

My teaching

My publications

Highlights

Books

Hodkinson, P. & Das, R. (Under Contract, 2020). 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. LondonRoutledge

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?

     

    Papers

    GUEST-EDITED SPECIAL ISSUES

    1. 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
    2. 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).
    3. Das, R. Eds (2013). Audiences: A cross-generational dialogue. A special issue of The Communication Review 16 (1)

     

    JOURNAL ARTICLES

    1. Ytre-Arne, B.; & Das, R. (2020). Audiences’ communicative agency in a datafied age: Interpretative, relational and increasingly prospective. Communication Theory 
    2. Das, R. & Hodkinson, P. (2020). Affective coding: Strategies of online steganography in fathers’ mental health disclosureNew Media and Society
    3. Das, R., & Hodkinson, P. (2019). Tapestries of intimacy: Networked intimacies and new fathers’ emotional self-disclosure of mental health strugglesSocial Media+ Society5(2), 2056305119846488.
    4. Das, R. (2018). Temporally inexpensive, affectively expensive: Digitally mediated maternal interpersonal ties in the perinatal monthsCommunication, Culture and Critique 
    5. Das, R. (2018). A Field in Flux: The Intriguing Past and the Promising Future of Audience Analysis. Television and New Media
    6. Ytre-Arne, B. &; Das, R. (2018). An agenda in the interest of audiences: Facing the challenges of intrusive media technologies. Television and New Media
    7. 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
    8. Das, R. (2018). The mediated subjectivities of the maternal: A critique of childbirth videos on YouTube. Communication Review.
    9. 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). 
    10. Das, R. & Graefer, A. (2017). Regulatory expectations of offended audiences: The citizen interest in audience discourse. Communication, Culture and Critique. Online First.
    11. Das, R. (2017). Speaking about birth: Visible and silenced narratives in online discussions of childbirth. Social Media + Society.
    12. 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*
    13. 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
    14. 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.
    15. Das, R. (2017). Stories about a queen: Viewing Bengali television drama in urban India. Critical Studies in Television 12(3).
    16. Graefer, A. & Das, R. (2017). Towards a contextual approach: Audiences, television, and 'offensive' humour. European Journal of Cultural Studies.
    17. 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)
    18. Das, R. & Ytre-Arne. B. (2016). After the excitement: An introduction to the work of CEDAR. Participations 13(1). pp 280-288
    19. 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)
    20. Das, R. (2014) An appropriate inheritance: On being and not being an audience researcher. International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics 10 (2)
    21. Das, R. (2013). Introduction. In - Audiences: A cross-generational dialogue. A special issue of The Communication Review 16 (1)
    22. 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)
    23. Das, R. (2012). Children reading an online genre: Heterogeneity in interpretive work. Popular Communication 10 (4)
    24. Das, R (2012). The task of interpretation. Participations: The international journal of audience and reception studies. 9 (1)
    25. 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
    26. Das, R (2010). Meaning at the Interface: new genres, new modes of interpretative engagement? Communication Review13 (2), 140-159
    27. Das, R (2010). Digital youth, heterogeneity and diversity. Journal of Media Practice 11: 3

     

    BOOK CHAPTERS

    1. 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
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Das, R. (2018). From implications to responsibilities. In Das, R. & Ytre-Arne, B. (Eds). The Future of Audiences: A foresight analysis. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Das, R., Kleut, J., & Bolin, G. (2014). New Genres-New Roles for the Audience?. Audience Transformations Shifting Audience Positions in Late Modernity, 30-46.
    9. 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
    10. 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

    RESEARCH REPORTS

    1. Das, R. (2020). COVID19, Perinatal Mental Health and the Digital Pivot. Guildford, Surrey.
    2. Das, R. & Hodkinson, P. (2019). New Fathers, Mental Health and Social Media. Guildford, Surrey. 
    3. Das, R. (Eds.) (2019). Migrant mothers' mental health communication in the perinatal period. Guildford, Surrey. 
    4. Das, R. & Ytre-Arne, B. (2017). Audiences 2030: CEDAR Final Report. Surrey: CEDAR.
    5. Livingstone, S., & Das, R. (2010) Media, communication and information technologies for the European family: a Report for Family Platform.
    6. Livingstone, S., & Das, R. (2010) POLIS Family and Media Report. POLIS, LSE, UK
    7. Das, R. & Beckett, C. Eds. (2010) Digital Natives: A Myth? A POLIS Paper from the Silverstone Panel on Digital Natives at the LSE, 2009.
    8. 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
    9. Livingstone, S., & Das, R. (2009) Public Attitudes, Tastes and Standards: A Review of the Available Empirical Research: A Report for the BBC.
    10. 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

    SHORT PIECES

    1. Das, R. (2020).‘Down will come baby, cradle and all’: Maternal anxiety in giving birth and raising infants amidst COVID19. BSA Everyday Society. 
    2. 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.
    3. Das, R.  & Hodkinson, P. (2020).Dad, distanced: The turbulence of new fatherhood amidst a pandemic. Discover Society.
    4. Das, R. (2020).Covid19, new motherhood and the digital pivot. Discover Society.
    5. New Book: Key Conclusions from Early Motherhood in Digital Societies – Ideals, Anxieties and Ties of the Perinatal. Surrey Sociology Blog.
    6. Das, R. (2019). New Book: Key Conclusions from Early Motherhood in Digital Societies – Ideals, Anxieties and Ties of the Perinatal. Surrey Sociology Blog.
    7. Das, R. (2019). Showcasing Mental Health Research at Surrey Sociology: At the Intersections of Sociology, Criminology and Media and Communications. Surrey Sociology Blog.
    8. Das, R. (2019). New Report: Migrant Mothers’ Mental Health Communication in the Perinatal Period. Surrey Sociology Blog.
    9. Das, R. (2019). UK Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week: Mums Matter in Digital Societies. Surrey Sociology Blog.
    10. Das, R. (2019). Mothers’ Day: Ambivalences, Fractures and Ambiguities of ‘Mother’ . Surrey Sociology Blog.
    11. Das, R. (2019). The Web is 30 at Surrey Sociology: A Grand and Glorious Trajectory. Surrey Sociology Blog. 
    12. Das, R. & Hodkinson, P. (2019). Rescinding the ‘Rock’: Masculine imperatives to support and mental health struggles among new fathers. Surrey Sociology Blog. 
    13. 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. 
    14. Das, R. & Hodkinson, P. (2019).  Evidence to the Womens and Equalities Select Committee on the Mental Health of Men and Boys.
    15. Das, R. & Hodkinson, P. (2019). Is Dad OK?. Blog for NCT.
    16. 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. 
    17. Das, R. (2018). Social media and maternal perinatal wellbeing: Findings from fieldwork with new mothers. Surrey Sociology Blog. 
    18. Das, R & Hodkinson, P. (2018). Paternal mental health and social media: Early fieldwork reflections on disclosure, affective coding and disconnection. Blog for Surrey Sociology.
    19. Das, R. (2018). Alfie’s Army, misinformation and propaganda: The need for critical media literacy in a mediated world. Blog for Surrey Sociology.
    20. Das, R. (2018). Maternal wellbeing and the internet: Balancing optimism and caution. Blog for Parenting for Digital Futures, LSE.
    21. 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.
    22. Das, R. & Graefer, A. (2017). Offended audiences and regulatory expectations: Of red flags and red herrings. Article for Think Leicester, January 2017.
    23. Das, R. (2017). Mothers, parenting and online networks. Interview aired on BBC Three Counties Radio.
    24. Das, R. (2016). Peer to peer forums for mums. Interview given to GEM Radio Leicestershire.
    25. Das, R. (2016). Why we need to pay attention to online peer to peer support forums for new mothers. Think Leicester.
    26. Das, R. & Graefer, A. (2016). What really makes something offensive? The Conversation.
    27. 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/
    28. Das, R. (2016). 5 reasons why we need to study childbirth and the media. Think Leicester. July 2016.
    29. Das, R. (2013) LSE POLIS blog. Entry for the Raped! The Indian polity in shamblesDas, R. (2013).
    30. Livingstone, S. & Das, R (2013) Interpretation/reception. Oxford Bibliographies
    31. Das, R (2011): Soap Opera and Telenovelas. Entry for the Encyclopaedia of Consumer Culture, Sage Publications.
    32. Das, R. (2011). Parents Trust, but Kids not Critical Enough Online. Invited entry for the LSE Media Policy Blog.
    33. Das, R. (2011). Teenagers and the Internet: new research on the reality of social media and youth. Invited entry for theLSE POLIS blog.

    Publications

    In this essay, I examine the ten years between 2004 and 2014 as a
    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.
    Das R (2010) The task of interpretation. Converging perspectives in
    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
    Das R, Ytre-Arne B (2016) After the excitement: An introduction to the work of CEDAR,Participations 13 (1) pp. 280-288 Participations
    This Themed Section brings together the work done by CEDAR ? an AHRC funded European consortium of audience researchers, who, at an early stage in their careers came together to map trends, gaps and priorities emerging over the past decade in the field. The consortium was born towards the end of European COST Action ? Transforming Audiences Transforming Societies ? which, over four years, reflected a substantial amount of passionate interest in the changing field of audience research. Media environments had changed, thereby putting question marks around our previously stable categories of texts and readers. The ways in which people engaged with their media environments, to what purposes, and in which ways ? had all changed reflecting not only the affordances (Hutchby, 2001) of technologies around us, but the diverse ways in which people used the media in personal relationships, across distance and boundaries (Madianou & Miller, 2011), for a variety of political and civic purposes (Carpentier 2011, Livingstone, 2013). Ultimately, as it stood in 2015-2016 ? audience research could only be defined with great difficulty, for it had spread its roots amongst a variety of sub-fields and new fields, and yet ? people continued to do (their own kind of) audience research. So what had happened over the past decade that would allow audience researchers today to make sense of what the field looks like now? Which were the burning conversations and what new paradigms of looking at the field were being proposed?....
    Das R, Pavlí
    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
    In this paper we employ a conceptual repertoire from philosophical hermeneutics and literary aesthetics to examine people?s expectations of and trust in interactive media. Drawing on data from two projects, first, with young professionals on their perceptions of the informational value of various media, and second, with youthful users of the online genre of social networking sites, we present findings on perceptions of authorial presence and constructions of an imagined author. We conclude that an (imagined) author plays a key role in media users? ability to critically use interactive media and evaluate the relevance and reliability of media content, rather than functioning as an authoritative originator of the meaning. We argue that this is important not only for contemporary research in critical digital literacies, but also for the intrinsic importance of trust in any act of communicative engagement.
    Das R (2014) An appropriate inheritance: On being, and not being ? An audience researcher,International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics 10 (2) pp. 227-232 Intellect
    The title for this article1 is inspired by a compelling novel I once read, by an
    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?.
    Das R (2012) Children Reading an Online Genre: Heterogeneity in Interpretive Work,Popular Communication 10 (4) pp. 269-285 Taylor & Francis
    In this article, a conceptual repertoire from audience reception studies is mobilized to interpret findings from conversations with children navigating the online genre of social networking sites. Divergence and consensus across age, in children's perception of authorial presence and intention, perceptions of other readers/users, and their collection of stories around the text, is indicated with the use of a repertoire derived from many decades of research with audience reception analysis. It is concluded that the act of interpretation was always one that involved a range of responsibilities (literacies) on the part of the audience/spectator and in the case of textually unstable, immersive media, new media literacies as interpretive work continue to involve a range of responsibilities in navigating textual conventions, figuring out opportunities, coping with contextual resources and restraints, and tackling interruptions in the text.
    Das R (2014) Digital youth, diversity and heterogeneity,Journal of Media Practice 11 (3) pp. 293-299 Intellect
    Das R (2013) Introduction - Special Issue: Audiences: A Cross-Generational Dialogue Edited by Ranjana Das,The Communication Review 16 (1-2) pp. 1-2 Taylor & Francis
    This special issue results from the work of the cross-generational workshop on audience research that was co-organized by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action IS0906 ?Transforming Audiences, Transforming Societies? and the Young Scholars Network of the European Communication Research and Education Association (YECREA)?at the Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis (FUSL) Brussels, in April 2012. The event was presented in collaboration with the ?Audience and Reception Studies? section of the ECREA.
    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 (4) pp. 454-469 SAGE Publications
    Audience aesthetics and responses to popular culture genres which were once considered low
    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
    interpretive pathways.
    Das R (2010) Meaning at the Interface: New Genres, New Modes of Interpretative Engagement?,Communication Review 13 (2) pp. 140-159 Taylor & Francis
    As audience reception scholars commute from audiences to literacies, both of which share the concept of interpretation, this article sets out to draw together themes around the changing nature of interpretive work, from 6 texts that have reflected recently, in different ways, on interpretation in new media environments. In reviewing a multithreaded conversation across 4 books from literacy studies, media and communications, and user studies, I select 2 essays, written at a crucial moment for reception studies, to provide her a narrative. Speaking from diverse fields, these works suggest a widespread agreement that there is a need to rethink terminologies and concepts from mass-mediated communication in the age of interactive media, not because they no longer prove useful, but because they provide constructive intellectual challenges in thinking through the changing natures of texts and readers, genres and interpretation, literacies, and legibilities, as we await new modes every day, for all of these, but also perhaps, new modes of interpretative engagement.
    Das R (2011) Converging perspectives in audience studies and digital literacies: Youthful interpretations of an online genre,European Journal of Communication 26 (4) pp. 343-360 SAGE Publications
    Engaging with a set of ideas proposed in an article published in this journal in 2004, this article transposes concepts from one mediated condition to another, as it applies selected theories from audience reception studies to research on media and digital literacies. In approaching multi-method qualitative data from a project that researched youthful digital literacies on social networking sites, the article presents a discussion on anticipations of genre and modes of interpretative engagement. It is concluded that the text?reader framework of audience reception studies pushes the digital literacies discussion away from treating literacies as practical skills, encouraging a critical examination of people?s interpretative engagement with media texts. By doing this, the article also explores how concepts lying at the core of the reception studies repertoire need to be retained and revised in the age of the internet.
    Livingstone S, Das R (2010) POLIS media and family report,
    Livingstone S, Das R (2013) The End of Audiences?
    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
    Das R (2011) Soap opera and telenovelas,In: Southerton D (eds.), Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture. SAGE Publications
    Funded by the European Commission?s Seventh Framework Programme and co?ordinated by
    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
    research funding.
    This Working Report has been produced for the first stage of the project, and is part of a
    series of reports.
    Das R, Beckett C, Livingstone S, Buckingham D, Davies C, Willett R (2009) ?Digital Natives?: A Myth?
    A POLIS Paper
    ,
    In this brief essay, we review insights from a European experience exchange panel which brought together scholars from diverse epistemological, intellectual and regional locations to reflect on their careers. It was with two contrasting questions in mind that we set out to organise an experience exchange panel: on the one hand we asked ourselves, how best can an academic career be planned? That is, how do we seek out the right opportunities? How do we prepare ourselves for unexpected moves, and how, if at all, do we prepare for intellectual changes of direction? What counts as important in building an academic CV? On the other hand, we were perplexed by the range of stories around us about successful careers being founded on chance meetings, impulsive ideas and unanticipated dilemmas. How then, can a career be planned at all? It was with these two opposing views in mind that we set out on this task of bringing together scholars at diverse points in their careers to focus on three themes, as they spoke to a new generation of researchers. We focused on (1) aspects of planning; (2) decisions involved in mobility; and (3) dilemmas in the early days of an emergent career. In selecting these themes, we knew we would open up a European network of experiences, where 'what counts' and 'what plans are the best', would soon become relative questions. And this all, doubtless, in the context of intense competition, financial uncertainties and a changing field of media and communication research which throws up newer interdisciplinarities every day.
    Livingstone S, Das R (2013) Interpretation/Reception,Oxford Bibliographies Oxford University Press
    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
    ,
    COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) pp. 1-9
    © The Author(s) 2009
    Das R (2012) The task of interpretation: Children walking
    ?Facebook streets?
    ,
    Particip@tions : journal of audience and reception studies 9 (1) pp. 1-25 Stanford University
    In this paper, I ask in what ways our knowledge about the interpretation of genres,
    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.
    Das R, Graefer A (2017) Provocative Screens.
    Offended Audiences in Britain and Germany
    ,
    Palgrave Macmillan
    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?
    Das R, Ytre-Arne B (2017) Critical, agentic and trans-media: Frameworks and findings from a Foresight Analysis Exercise on Audiences,European Journal of Communication 32 (6) pp. 535-551 SAGE Publications
    We write this paper presenting frameworks and findings from an
    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.
    Das R (2017) Speaking about birth: Visible and silenced narratives in online discussions of childbirth,Social Media and Society 3 (4) SAGE Publications
    In this article, I present an analysis of 1930 posts from 12 discussion threads from an online
    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.
    The mediation of parenting has recently occupied sociologists, media,
    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.
    Das R (2017) Stories about a queen: Viewing Bengali television drama in
    urban India
    ,
    Critical Studies in Television 12 (3) pp. 256-272 SAGE Publications
    In this essay, I return to the soap opera - but in a context hardly ever explored ? an urban
    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.
    Das Ranjana, Graefer Anne (2017) Regulatory expectations of offended audiences. The citizen interest in audience discourse,Communication Culture and Critique 10 (4) pp. 626-640 Wiley
    In this article we analyze fieldwork with 90 people in the UK and Germany, exploring the expectations audiences articulate about regulatory processes behind television content they find offensive. First, mapping people?s responses on to the conceptual pairing of citizens and consumers, we find audiences aligning themselves with citizen interests, even when, often on the surface, they respond to media regulation and institutions with suspicion. Second, we find that complaints that make it to media regulators are just the tip of iceberg. Third, in investigating people?s expectations of actors and institutions in their responses to television content that startles, upsets, or just offends them, we note that it is crucial to treat a conversation on free speech and censorship with caution.
    Das Ranjana (2018) Mediated subjectivities of the maternal: A critique of childbirth videos on YouTube,The Communication Review 21 (1) pp. 66-84 Taylor & Francis
    This paper presents an illustrative analysis of amateur You Tube videos portraying a
    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.
    Graefer A, Das R (2017) Towards a contextual approach: Audiences, television, and ?offensive? humour,European Journal of Cultural Studies SAGE Publications
    The fine line between humour and offence has long been of interest for scholars and media outlets alike. While some argue for an avoidance of offence at all costs, others defend the ?right to offend? as an essential part of humour. By bringing critical sociological studies in humour into dialog with feminist writings on affect and the politics of emotion, this article argues for a more nuanced and contextualised understanding of offensive humour. Based on empirical data from an audience study about offensive television content in Britain and Germany, we consider what exactly people do with humorous content they find offensive, not what it does ?in general?. Such a contextualised approach illustrates the ethical and transformative potential of so-called negative affect. Thus, rather than perceiving offence as an ?ugly? feeling with merely negative consequences for society, this article contents that the avoidance of offence can also operate as a strategy for evading responsibility and action and thereby hindering social change.
    Das Ranjana, Ytre-Arne Brita (2017) Audiences, towards 2030 Priorities for audience analysis,In: CEDAR ? Consortium of Emerging Directions in Audience Research
    This report presents outcomes of the second phase of CEDAR?s work: a foresight exercise aiming to present a research agenda for the field as it would stand in the year 2030. In order to do this, the consortium, having used a systematic literature review already, conducted a trend analysis exercise, a stakeholder consultation exercise and a horizon-scanning exercise to arrive at a set of implications and research recommendations for the field of audience studies looking into the immediate future.

    This report has been produced by the CEDAR network which was funded
    by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, to run between 2015-2018.

    Ytre-Arne B, Das Ranjana (2018) An agenda in the interest of audiences: Facing the challenges of intrusive media technologies,Television and New Media 20 (2) pp. 184-198 SAGE Publications
    This paper formulates a five-point agenda for audience research, drawing upon implications arising out of a systematic foresight analysis exercise on the field of audience research, conducted between 2014 and 2017, by the research network CEDAR ? Consortium on Emerging Directions in Audience Research. We formulate this agenda in the context of the rapid datafication of society, amidst emerging technologies including the Internet of Things, and following a transformative decade which overlapped with the pervasion of social media, proliferation of connected gadgets, and growing interest in and concern about big data. The agenda we formulate includes substantial and intellectual priorities concerning intrusive technologies, critical data literacies, labour, co-option and resistance, and argues for the need for research on these matters, in the interest of audiences.
    This article draws from an ethnographically motivated non-participant observation of an ongoing and very young online patient support community in the UK, to present an analysis of its discursive practices. It demonstrates how it performs populism (c.f. Canovan, 1982, 1999; McRae, 1969), and both draws upon and contributes to a climate of opinion (Gunther et al, 2011) fuelled by what has recently been described as media populism (Krämer, 2014). Using the theoretical lens of populism and climate of opinion, it demonstrates how the more than sixty thousand strong social media ?army? (61,337 members at the time of writing this paper) formed around a terminally ill baby at the centre of a parent-judiciary-hospital legal battle in Britain in 2017, uses key tropes and devices of populist rhetoric to establish lay-expertise in its performance of support for the ordinary patient and their family, de-recognising and vilifying medical expertise and publicly funded healthcare systems built on socio-democratic ideals. The article also demonstrates how ordinary users? mobilisation of populist rhetoric to reject both professional expertise and public institutions, make use of established architectural features of the online community?s socio-technological design (c.f. Escobar, 1994; Ley, 2007), such as immediacy, remediation and protective gatekeeping. Populism has, till now, been used largely for the study of politics and mediated political communication (c.f. Meyer, 2006; Hameleers & Schmuck, 2017). By drawing upon this body of work to inform the analysis of a patient-support community (see also Loader et al 2002; Preece 2010; Armstrong et al, 2011 on online patient communities), this paper also discusses the public implications of these findings, calling for considerations of the impact of digitally mediated populist ideologies, campaigns and rhetoric on public perceptions and expectations of healthcare systems and professionals.
    Das Ranjana (2018) Temporally inexpensive, affectively expensive: Digitally mediated maternal interpersonal ties in the perinatal months,Communication, Culture and Critique 11 (4) tcy029 pp. 586-603 Wiley
    This article presents findings on the internet and maternal interpersonal connections in the critical ?perinatal? period before and immediately after childbirth. Drawing on qualitative interviews and online data from a range of digital sites, I advance the central argument that digitally mediated interpersonal connections are critical components of contemporary motherhoods, but that these ties have complex positive and less than positive nuances in the perinatal period. Unpacking this argument in three steps, I first discuss how the moral weight of motherhood in neoliberal societies, rendered particularly visible in the perinatal period, complicates a central boundary in the study of online interpersonal relationships between information and communication. Second, I note the relative significance, in emotional terms, of temporally-contained social ties in digitally mediated perinatal connections. Third, I consider how the material and emotional roles of traditionally held-to-be-important offline maternal support networks are re-negotiated, re-positioned and even bypassed through online ties.
    Das Ranjana (2018) A field in flux: The intriguing pasts and the promising future of audience analysis,Television and New Media SAGE Publications
    Das Ranjana, Hodkinson Paul (2019) Tapestries of intimacy: Networked intimacies and new fathers? emotional self-disclosure of mental health struggles,Social Media and Society SAGE Publications

    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.

    Das Ranjana, Hodkinson Paul (2019) Affective coding: Strategies of online steganography in fathers? mental health disclosure,New Media and Society SAGE Publications
    This paper introduces the idea of 'affective coding' as a form of affectively-loaded, digital social steganography ? a form of hiding messages ? as it presents findings from interviews with new fathers struggling to cope with and disclose mental illnesses, against the context of cultures of silencing. While previous expositions of online social steganography have considered its role in privacy management or its employment in concealing identities, we conceptualize affective coding as an agentic and discursive-material digital practice of attempted revelation, occupying a liminal space between silence and more explicit attempts to reach out, disclose and seek support. Our findings show men undertaking a range of seemingly minor online acts, each demonstrating subtle strategies of managing self-disclosure and social media architecture, and each encoded with a substantial amount of affective investment. We discuss motivations, strategies and outcomes of affective coding, before discussing its significance for self-disclosure in platform societies.
    Das Ranjana, Hodkinson Paul (2019) New Fathers, Mental Health and Social Media, University of Surrey
    About the Project
    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.

    Top Findings
    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.

    Das Ranjana, Beszlag Daniel, Davies Louise, Kapoor Jasmine, Kowalska Dagmara, Page Nadine (2019) Migrant mothers' mental health communication in the perinatal period, University of Surrey
    This report brings together findings from a project on perinatal mental health difficulties amongst migrant mothers, funded by the Wellcome Trust (208437/Z/17/Z), and on early motherhood and digital media, funded by the British Academy (SG151884). Both projects involved interviews with mothers in their homes, with a very small number of them interviewed online. Healthcare professionals were sometimes interviewed on phone. Interviews were qualitative and semi-structured and took the form of free-flowing conversations broadly based on a topic guide. Recruitment through informal channels such as social media and word-of-mouth had limited success and participants recruited through this route accounted for around a quarter of the final set of participants. A recruitment agency was commissioned to administer a door-to-door questionnaire to recruit remaining participants who lived across England, covering mainly the Midlands the South of England and Greater London. Mothers came from a wide range of countries of origin largely in South Asia and Africa and a few from continental Europe. There was a mix of first and second generation immigrants in the final sample. A total of 68 mothers participated across the projects. All participants have been assigned pseudonyms. This report uses selective instances of quotes from interviews to illustrate overall findings and themes.
    Das Ranjana (2020) COVID 19, perinatal mental health and the digital pivot, University of Surrey

    Background

    " 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.

    This article develops a conceptualization of audience agency in the face of datafication. We consider how people, as audiences and users of media and technologies, face transforming communicative conditions, and how these conditions challenge the power potentials of audiences in processes of communication?that is, their communicative agency. To develop our conceptualization, we unpack the concept of audiences? communicative agency by examining its foundations in communication scholarship, in reception theory and sociology, arguing that agency is understood as interpretative and relational, and applied to make important normative assessments. We further draw on emerging scholarship on encounters with data in the everyday to discuss how audience agency is now challenged by datafication, arguing that communicative agency is increasingly prospective in a datafied age. Thereby, we provide a theoretical conceptualization for further analysis of audiences in transforming communicative conditions.