A research team based in LSE’s Department of Media and Communications (Professor Nick Couldry, Dr Damian Tambini, and Ruth Garland, a former public sector communications professional) received initial funding in 2014-15 from the LSE research seed fund to develop a major ESRC research proposal requesting funding for an intensive analysis of the impact of media transformations on the processes of government. The project will contribute to an exciting and emerging area of international scholarship, and aim to offer insights that can assist government in developing long-term strategic relations with media.
The relations between government and media have intensified significantly during recent decades in most countries. Some fear a crisis for government through compressed time-scales, a reduction in the amount and quality of internal and external deliberation, and a greater danger of rushed policy making and delivery that may not serve the public interest. Research on these processes from the perspective of government is relatively recent, and has focused largely on countries other than the UK, especially Australia, Scandinavia and the Netherlands. Yet the problem may well be greater in the UK because of its highly centralised and adversarial press and political system.
A round table event involving around 25-30 academics, senior civil servants and media and policy specialists took place at the LSE on June 26th under Chatham House rules (which was opened by Lord Gus O'Donnell, former Cabinet Secretary and LSE Visiting Professor), and was followed by a small number of semi-structured interviews with participants. You can read the presentation given by the research team here. A copy of the bibliography is available here.
Nick Couldry is Head of Department and Professor of Media, Communications and Social Theory in Media & Communications at LSE. As a sociologist of media and culture, he approaches media and communications from the perspective of the symbolic power that has been historically concentrated in media institutions, looking at how media and communications institutions and infrastructures contribute to various types of order (social, political, cultural, economic, and ethical). His analysis of media as ‘practice’ has been widely influential. A former lawyer, Nick taught previously in the LSE Departments of Sociology and Media and Communications (2001-2006), and before re-joining LSE in September 2013 was joint Head of the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Ruth Garland worked for more than 20 years in public sector media relations in public health, local government and the BBC, before starting her PhD in political communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she is researching into modern UK government communications. She is research assistant to the LSE’s Government and the Media project.
Damian Tambini is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media & Communications, LSE, and Director of the Media Policy Project. From June 2002-August 2006 he was Head of the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at Oxford University, and before that he was at Nuffield College, Oxford (Postdoctoral Fellow, 1998) Humboldt University, Berlin (lecturer, 1997) and the European University Institute, Florence, Italy (PhD 1996). His research interests include media and telecommunications policy and democratic communication.
Garland, R., Tambini, D. and Couldry, N. (2017) Has government been mediatized? A UK perspective. Media, Culture & Society, 40:4, 496-513. Read here.