Asher Kessler

Asher Kessler

PhD Researcher

Department of Media and Communications

Connect with me

Key Expertise
Facebook, Internet History, Platforms, Political Theory, Social Media,

About me

Research topic

An Intellectual History of Facebook

My research asks which political and philosophical norms and ideas have shaped Facebook’s decision-making process and consequent actions?

I start from the standpoint of viewing Facebook as a product of the historical and geographical context from which it arose – particularly the history of American ideas and the history of computer and internet culture. Can we understand the creation and massive expansion of Facebook as not just a consequence of technological developments but of ideological and intellectual developments?

I examine the ideologies at the fore of American society in the early 21st century, such as neoliberalism, the rise of globalisation and the notion of the ‘End of History’, and the changing perspectives on privacy and state surveillance post 9/11. Taking this intellectual context, my research will question whether these ideas and norms became a part of Facebook, and if so, how the company had to deal (or not deal) with the consequences of those ideas. In particular, I am interested in changing conceptions of political change, what it means to be an individual in the age of big data, and to what extent nation states act as the gatekeepers of information.

Supervisors: Professor Robin Mansell and Professor Nick Couldry


My undergraduate degree was in Philosophy & Politics at the University of Edinburgh where I focused upon the history of social and political thought. I received an MSc in Theory and History of International Relations in 2019, for which I was awarded the Medlicott Prize for top dissertation. My research was concerned with the American UN diplomat Ralph Bunche and his perspective of race, class and colonialism whilst working in Palestine in 1947.

After graduating, I worked as a journalist for three years. In 2017, received the Peter Kirk Scholarship to research and write on refugee integration in Sweden and Germany, spending three months undertaking ethnographic research in both countries. I also covered Science and Technology for the Conversation UK and for two years I reported on British & Irish politics for the Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun. During this time, I edited three non-fiction books on Politics and Foreign Policy for Gilgamesh Publishing.

My research is being supported by an ESRC Scholarship. 

Expertise Details

Facebook; Internet History; Platforms; Political Theory; Social Media;