Dr Ranjana Das

Rd july 16

Dr. Ranjana Das

Lecturer in Media and Communication, Director of MA in Mass Communication

Download my papers from my academia page. I tweet at Twitter @Rdas_Ranjana. Email rd207@le.ac.uk

PhD, 2011: London School of Economics; MSc, 2008: London School of Economics; MA, 2007: AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, New Delhi; BSc, 2005: Lady Brabourne College, University of Calcutta; Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 2014: University of Leicester


My current research deals with parental well-being, family lives, vulnerabilities and social /mobile media. I am the PI of a British academy project on the mediation of childbirth (2016-18), and the role of the media in shaping, supporting and resourcing/hindering birth trauma, birthing choices and post-natal health in the UK and the USA. More broadly, I am interested in vulnerability in the context of parental well-being and family lives, in particular emotional vulnerabilities and motherhood, and the role of social and mobile media in this context.
The prior/earliest years of my research career have involved projects with child and adult audiences within the framework of transforming audiences in the age of networked media where I have worked with a variety of genres, programmes and demographics. I currently direct a 14 country consortium on emerging directions in audience research, funded by the AHRC. For more on my work with audiences, please see my publications.


Current projects -

Birth Stories: A British Academy funded project (2016-2018): Here is an opinion piece summarising 5 reasons that make this project important.The project website is here. 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.

CEDAR: An AHRC Network (2015-2017): Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, 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 studies as it stands today in a transforming mediascape and in conducting a foresight exercise on the future priorities for the field. 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.

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


  • From July 2016 I am 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 convene the MS7003 PG module on media audiences and contribute to the UG modules on creative audiences.
  • I am convening and teaching the Sociology of New Media PG module in 2016. As the name goes, our class will be using Wordpress and Twitter to document their journey through it all!
  • I supervise PhD students and 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 and the mediation of early parenting. Current PhD students include -
  • 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--)

Academic Service

2014-2016 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.


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Contact Details

Media and Communication
University of Leicester
Bankfield House
132 New Walk
United Kingdom

Campus based courses
E: mediacom@le.ac.uk
T: +44(0)116 252 3863

Distance Learning Courses
E: css-dl@le.ac.uk
T: 0116 252 3755

Research degrees (campus-based and distance learning courses)
T: +44(0)116 252 2785
E: mcresearch@le.ac.uk