Dr Ranjana Das
PhD, MSc, MA, BSc, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Lecturer in Media and Communication
CEDAR: An AHRC Network (2015-2017): Since 2014, I have brought together and begun to coordinate a 14 country European network of audience researchers who are interested in mapping emerging themes in audience research as it stands today and in conducting a foresight exercise on the future priorities for the field. In early 2015 this network was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK for a period of two years. CEDAR's work is simultaneously geared towards theoretical enrichment of the field of audience studies and towards outlining constructive and critical ways for audience researchers to speak to those on other fields and disciplines and to stakeholders involved with audiences, outside of academia. The first phase of the network's research has now been published (May, 2016) - to view please click here. In its second phase this network is conducting a foresight exercise comprising of trend mapping, stakeholder consultations and scenario development for the future of audiences in 2030.
Birth Stories: A British Academy funded project (2016-2018): This project investigates immigrant and non-immigrant women’s experiences of childbirth in the UK, focusing on the role of the media in shaping fears, anxieties and expectations and the emotional implications of traumatic and ‘ideal’ births. The project engages with media, migration and the sociology of childbirth and investigates the cultural shaping and mediation of birth experiences.
Provocative Screens (2014-2017) With Anne Graefer, funded by the College of Social Sciences and the Department of Media and Communications, I am working on a new project that looks at people's responses to themes and content in television that they find offensive. Informed by the findings of my joint review of the literature with Sonia Livingstone, for the BBC, in 2009,my initial inquiry into the topic examined the ethical choices, emotional engagement and potentially emancipatory interpretations, if any, of 'offensive' themes in British television , involving in-depth face-to-face research with 20 adult viewers in the Midlands and Greater London. Taking this forward now with Anne Graefer, we are embarking on a cross-cultural study involving Germany and the UK, using a variety of methods to explore, affect, emotion and morality in public interpretations of controversial television. This work will be published by Palgrave (Pivot) in 2017.
Past research: children as audiences/users: Between May 2011 and March 2012, I was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Leuphana University of Luneburg, Germany. My research, funded by the Moving Image Lab at Leuphana, involved observation and interviews with families and children in Greater London focusing on children’s relationships with the Harry Potter series. I conducted my fieldwork over Autumn 2011 and the results of this project are available here and here. I focused closely on children's introspections about real life relationships when reading Harry Potter (in press, 2013), the role of moral sentiments and ethical judgements in responding to the text (under review) amongst others. Between October 2008 and May 2011, I did my doctoral research at the Department of Media and Communication at the London School of Economics defending my thesis in September 2011. My thesis is available here. Briefly – I explored how concepts from German reception aesthetics which informed mass media audience studies can be of use when researching new media use. I applied a set of concepts from hermeneutic theories of interpretation to children's interfaces with social networking sites. My findings reported on the diversity of children's engagement with this 'text' across the span of teenage, but my core conclusions involved extensions, revisions and retentions of concepts from audience reception theory in the age of the internet. This research has now been fully published in a set of journal articles and book chapters. For this, please see below.
Publications: Please see the link
My teaching revolves around media audiences. I lead the MS7003 PG module on media audiences and contribute to the UG modules on audiences as well. I supervise PhD students and my interests involve - media audiences (across all ages, genres, contexts and platforms), media and youth, controversial media content, media literacies, and the mediation of early parenting.