Dr Ranjana Das

RD Lecturer in Media and Communication

Email: rd207@le.ac.uk

Personal details

I will be leaving the University of Leicester on 5 July 2017 to take up a position as Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication at the Department of Sociology, University of Surrey.

Until then, I am on sabbatical (study leave) from January to June 2017.

Academic service

  • 2014-2017: Chair of the Audience and Reception Studies section of the European Communication Research and Education Association
  • 2012-2014: Vice-chair of the Audience and Reception Studies section of the European Communication Research and Education Association
  • 2012-2015: Director of the Audience Research Group at Leicester University
  • 2012-2014: Undergraduate Admissions Office for Media and Communications at Leicester University
  • 2011-2013: International Communication Association graduate student representative (Popular Communication division)
  • 2010-2012: YECREA Thematic Section Representative- Thematic section representative for YECREA’s Audience and Reception Studies section. YECREA is the youth network of the European Communication Research and Education Association



I have been the Programme Director for the MA Mass Communications programme at Leicester. It is our oldest and biggest programme and undergoing lots of transformations this year. Unless on leave, I have convened the MS7003 PG module on media audiences and contribute to the UG modules on creative audiences. I have convened and taught the Sociology of New Media PG module in 2016. Our class used Twitter to document their journey through it all.

My teaching interests involve:

  • changing media audiences and users (across all ages, genres, contexts and platforms)
  • media and youth
  • controversial media content
  • media literacies
  • public communication and controversies
  • families and the media
  • motherhood and maternity

I also supervise PhD students.


You can find a list of my publications online.


My research and writing develops two narratives

  • one general to the field of communication studies, framed via media audiences/users - here I am leading research funded by the AHRC (2015-2018)
  • the other, a specialised strand on social media and parenting - here I am leading research funded by the British Academy (2016-2018) and the Wellcome Trust (2018-2020)

Media audiences/users in the context of media transformations is the broadly general strand where I approach audiences as media users, communicators and creators across boundaries of platforms, formats and texts.

I am interested in the changing contexts of audience work, the implications of audience action, and institutional conditions within and against which media audiences operate.

Highlights in this area include:

  • directing CEDAR (2015-2017) a 14 country network, consortium on Emerging Directions in Audience Research, funded by the AHRC on the future of audiences/users in 2030
  • directing out of the above, a horizon-scanning exercise on audiences - to become an edited book in preparation - Audiences 2030: A foresight analysis (with Brita Ytre-Arne) presenting future scenarios for audiences
  • a forthcoming book Provocative Screens - on citizen-audiences, affect and media offence (with Anne Graefer, Palgrave 2017)
  • audience projects with over 200 audiences between the ages of 11 and 80 including two projects with 90 child audiences/users
  • expertise with audiences across
    • platforms including books, films, television and social networking site
    • genres including soap operas, social networks, comedy, reality television, news, films
  • expertise in theories of interpretation, reception and digital literacies in the context of transforming media environments
  • numerous publications and talks on audiences and users

New technologies, motherhood, maternal well-being is an emergent specialist, a policy-relevant strand of my work which occupies the intersect of digital culture studies, communication studies, parenting and mental health.

Some highlights here include

  • a newly funded Wellcome Trust project (2018-2020) on the health communication practice of South Asian migrant mothers with postnatal mental health difficulties
  • an ongoing British Academy project ‘Birth Stories’ (2016-2018) investigating the mediation of childbirth in the UK and USA (see my introduction to this, plus a blog post)
  • a forthcoming research monograph on the above titled Birth Stories: The mediation of childbirth (Routledge, 2018)
  • forthcoming research articles on maternal subjectivities on YouTube, Facebook and online forums
  • developing work with elite professionals in the realm of birth, pregnancy, parenting websites, early parenting support
  • developing research on parental well-being, maternal mental health and digital technologies including linkages with national and regional charities

A sub-section of this research deals with maternal mental health and new technologies, especially peer-to-peer relationships on social platforms (see my recent piece on this).

The longer history of this strand of my work can be found in work in my contributions to Family Platform - a European foresight analysis consortium on the future of the European family (2010-11).

I have been awarded funding by:

  • the Wellcome Trust
  • the Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • the British Academy
  • the National Centre for Research Methods
  • the DAAD and Funds for Women Graduates

Internally, I have won funding competitively from the universities of Leicester, Luneburg and LSE, among others.

Active grants

  • Principal Investigator: Wellcome Trust Grant South Asian migrant mothers, postnatal mental health and communication technologies 2018-2020
  • Principal Investigator: Arts and Humanities Research Council grant for the CEDAR network 2015-2018
  • Principal Investigator: British Academy and Leverhulme Trust Small grant Birth Stories: The mediation of childbirth 2016-2018


My current doctoral students are:

  • Flavio Garcia da Rocha (first supervisor) working on social class and media transformations in Brazil (2014-)
  • Anna Zsubori, (first supervisor) winner of departmental Graduate Teaching Assistantship, working on Hungarian children, Disney films and national/ethnic identity (2016-)

Prospective PhD students can email me informally with a draft proposal at rd207@le.ac.uk. 

Reflecting my current research, I am interested in supervising PhD students on any of the following strands:

  • strand 1: media audiences and users (spanning all media genres, formats, platforms and all kinds of audiences)
  • strand 2: parenting, well-being, family lives and social/digital media
  • strand 3: media controversies, offense, free speech and regulation


You can listen to an audio file online.

  1. Das, R. (2017). Mothers, parenting and online networks. Interview aired on BBC Three Counties Radio.
  2. Das, R. (under review at New Media and Society). Speaking about birth: Visible and silenced narratives in online discussions of childbirth.
  3. Das, R. (2016). Peer to peer forums for mums. Interview given to GEM Radio Leicestershire.
  4. Das, R. (2016). Why we need to pay attention to online peer to peer support forums for new mothers. Think Leicester.
  5. 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/
  6. Das, R. (2016). 5 reasons why we need to study childbirth and the media. Think Leicester. July 2016.
  7. Livingstone, S., & Das, R. (2010) Media, communication and information technologies for the European family: a Report for Family Platform.
  8. Livingstone, S., & Das, R. (2010) POLIS Family and Media Report. POLIS, LSE, UK

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