Dr Ranjana Das
Lecturer in Media and Communication
Department of Media and Communication
e-mail: rd207 (at) le.ac.uk
Post-doc – 2011-2012 (University of Luneburg, Germany); PhD in Media and Communications - 2008-2011 (LSE, UK); MSc in Media and Communications (Research; Distinction) – 2007-2008 (LSE, UK)
My research converges around the study of media audiences. In theoretical terms, this includes an interest in - The history of audience research; Theories of reception - from literary aesthetics to critical cultural theories; The implications of interactive media for audience reception studies; The applicability of audience reception theory across diversely mediated conditions; The interaction of reception theory with other areas of scholarship; The role of reception studies within contemporary media and communication studies. These interests above inform my empirical research which includes or has included - Child audiences; Television genres; Genres in general - including social network sites, fantasy literature, comedy, soap operas; Media and digital literacies.
Current research: Audiencing media offense (2012-2013)
Funded by the College of Social Sciences and the Department of Media and Communications, from January 2013, I will be conducting a project titled - I've got complaints! The ethics, emotions and potentials of interpreting offensive comedy.Informed by the findings of my joint review of the literature with Sonia Livingstone, for the BBC, in 2009, this qualitative project examines the ethical choices, emotional engagement and potentially emancipatory interpretations, if any, of 'offensive' themes in British television comedy, involving in-depth face-to-face research with 75 adult viewers in the Midlands and Greater London. Taking offense as the keyword, and audience discussions of televised offensive comedy as a case study, in this project, I interrogate the ethics, emotions and potential (if any) of encountering and negotiating offensive texts in an increasingly mediatised life. On the one hand, I respond to public policy discourses about offensive content on the media, the endless desire to prevent and protect from offense and the regulation of what might offend (cf BBFC, 2005; Bolton, 2006; Barker et.al 2001; Cumberbatch, 2002; Millwood Hargrave, 2000; see Millwood Hargrave & Livingstone, 2010 for a review). On the other hand, I speak to a host of concerns within communication and cultural studies about the ethics of engaging with media texts, the emotional potential of these moments of engagement, and the socio-political potentials that extend far beyond the moment of consumption. I converge critical conversations within communication studies, especially on media ethics (cf. Couldry) with my core interests in hermeneutics and the role and limits of the 'reader' (cf Iser, Jauss, Eco) towards the convergent approach of a critical hermeneutics (cf Riceour, Thompson, Scannel).
The preliminary outputs from this project are due to be presented at the 2013 conference of the International Communication Association in a panel co-chaired with Jonathan Ong.
Past research: Child audiences and their emotional responses to fantasy (2011-2012)
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 have been written up over 2012. 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.
Past research: Children going online: Revisiting concepts in audience reception studies (2008-2011)
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 list on the link
Leadership roles with academic associations
- I convene and teach on the core post-graduate module MS7003 Approaches to Media Audiences on the MA in Mass Communications
- I convene and teach on the optional post-graduate module MS7042 Researching Social Media
- I contribute lectures to the Post-graduate module on Research methods (teaching on online ethnography, new media and new methods, and interviewing) and two Under-graduate modules (The Study of Media Audiences and Music as Communication)
- I am the Admissions Tutor for the Department's under-graduate programmes