Professor Peter Lunt
BSc Psychology, University College London, 1984, First Class Honours, G.C. Drew Examination Prize
DPhil in Social Psychology, Oxford, 1988
Head of Department
Professor of Media and Communication
I previously held academic posts at the University of Kent, University College London, and Brunel University and have been a visiting lecturer at the LSE, SPS in Cambridge, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, Notre Dame (London Programme) and the University of Oslo.
My research interests include media audiences, public participation in popular culture (talk shows and reality TV), media regulation, consumption research and the links between media and social theory.
I have been interested in consumer studies or consumption research for over twenty years. In the late 1980s and early 1990s I was interested in what appeared to be a growing link between consumption and identity and particularly the way that regulatory changes were opening up personal finances allowing an increase in personal debt and accompanying shifts in social attitudes and ethical responses to consumer society. In audience studies and the study of popular culture I have worked mainly on the talk show genre which anticipated the increasing mediation of public participation which has developed in reality TV and new media. I originally (also with Sonia Livingstone) was interested in the links between the mediation of public engagement and political culture and the changing conception of public service media. I am still writing about talk shows and in recent years have been interested in sensational talk shows such as the Jerry Springer Show and the Jeremy Kyle Show. I am also working on other popular culture TV genres including makeover TV and am working (with Claire Lynch at Brunel) on the relation between identity, memory and history in Who Do You Think You Are?
More recently I have become engaged in media policy research focusing on the changing regime of regulation of media and communications in the UK through a study of the work of Ofcom. The findings and ideas from this research (funded by the ESRC) have been published in a number of papers and appear in my book (again with Sonia Livingstone) Media Regulation: Governance in the Interests of Citizens and Consumers published by Sage in 2011.
I have held research grants from the ESRC, EC and the DTI as well as conducting a number of projects that have been funded as consultancy research for bodies such as Ofcom, the EC and the Office of Fair Trading.
List of Research Grants
- Operation EXIT, Linacre College, University of Oxford, 1986-1987. (£180,000). This was a field trial of aircraft safety that was funded by the Civil Aviation Authority and a variety of industrial sponsors. Directed by J. Vant, with R. Cecil, S. Livingstone, L. Jole and S. Henderson.
- The Cultural And Economic Conditions Of Decision-Making For The Sustainable City. 1992-5. Grant from the European Community (£107,299) under Directorate General XII, Science, Research and Development, Contract no. EV5V-CT92-0151. Other grant holders: S. Livingstone, G. Myerson, Y. Rydin. I played a role in all stages of the research process and was particularly involved in managing the data collection and in organising the researcher’s efforts, including training and supervising the researcher in interview methods.
- The Virtual Consumer: broadening the scope of Teleshopping, an ESRC grant (£112,000) under the Virtual Society Programme. (1997-1999). I was the sole grant holder on this project.
- Risk and household savings behaviour. (£160,000) with James Banks and Richard Blundell of the Institute of Fiscal Studies and the Department of Economics at UCL, ESRC (1998-2001). James Banks was the principal grant holder. I was a grant holder. We developed the proposal together and roughly half of the overhead came to UCL Psychology.
- AIMedia: Personal Advertising on Interactive Media, an EC funded ESPRIT Project Number 26983 (1998-2001). The project leader is Professor Treleaven in Computer Science at UCL. I was one of the partners and £28,000 of this grant comes to the Psychology Department.
- In collaboration with my graduate students have been successful in attracting funding for graduate students from a variety of sources: ESRC, BT, NCR, UCL postdoctoral interdisciplinary fellowship, UCL psychology department demonstrator positions, Greek and Turkish government scholarships. (over £200,000 worth of funding).
- Risk and its social contexts (ESRC Priority Network. £2.3 million) (2003-8) Director Peter Taylor-Gooby I am the principal researcher for one of the projects in this network in collaboration with Sonia Livingstone (direct portion of grant to UCL £120,000).
- Co-evolving roles and technologies in the NHS: barriers and forces for change. Collaboration with Ann Blandford at UCL. Funded under the ESRC E-Society programme (£180k)(2003-6)
- Research Consultancy Consumers’ Association – 4k in 2004-5 to research, give presentations and write articles on consumer policy issues.
- Research on Psychological Detriment in Consumption. Office of Fair Trading (22k) 2004-5.
- Intelligent Awareness in the Built Environment. DTI award in collaboration with Arup, Central St Martins School of Art and Design, Imperial College Computer Science department – award granted and contract under negotiation (total funds c £1m), 2005-2007.