Scott Davidson

Lecturer in Media and Public Relations


Personal details

BA (Hons) Modern European Studies (Nottingham Trent University 1989), MSc Social Research Methods (Distinction, Loughborough University 2004), PhD Social Sciences (Loughborough University 2008)

I began my academic career later than most after spending 12 years working in public relations, lobbying and campaigns management. Prior to embarking on my PhD, I managed campaigns for Age Concern (now Age UK), working on the strategic development, organisation and evaluation of campaigns for one of the most respected campaigning organisations in the UK. My campaigns were focused on reforming pensions to reduce poverty in later life and on increasing awareness of age discrimination in public life.

My wider CV includes three years at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, where I was responsible for parliamentary/governments relations, public policy development and campaigns for the professional and trade union body for Britain’s fourth largest health profession. Intellectually inspired by my years in public affairs and campaigning and by the place to help older people in our society from my time at Age UK, I embarked on my PhD at Loughborough University which investigated both political and media responses to the policy implications of an ageing society. I joined the University of Leicester in September 2012 after spending four years in my first lecturing post at De Montfort University (DMU).


I am the course director for the MA in Media and Public Relations and module leader on:

MS7308: Public Relations, Culture and Society

MS7309: Public Relations, Journalism and Networked Media

MS7310: Strategic Communication Management

MS3027: Writing for Public Relations


Journal articles

Davidson, S. (2016). Public Relations Theory: An agonistic critique of the turns to dialogue and symmetry. Public Relations Inquiry 5 (2) 145-167.

Davidson, S & Rowe, O. (2016). "Emerging from the shadows? Perceptions, problems and potential consensus on the functional and civic roles of public affairs practice"Public Relations Inquiry. Vol. 5(1) 5–32

Davidson, S. (2015) Everywhere and nowhere: Theorising and researching public affairs and lobbying within public relations scholarshipPublic Relations Review, Volume 41, Issue 5, December 2015, Pages 615-627

Davidson, S. (2014). Older Voters: A Phantom Tyranny of Numbers? A Response to Berry: Young People and the Ageing Electorate: Breaking the Unwritten Rule of Representative DemocracyParliamentary Affairs. 2014 Volume 67 (3): 726-738.

Davidson, S. (2005). Grey Power, School Gate Mums and the Youth Vote: Age as a Key Factor in Voter Segmentation and Engagement in the 2005 UK General Election. In the Journal of Marketing Management, Volume 21, Number 9, November 2005, pp. 1179-1192(14).

Forthcoming/accepted for publication 2017

Davidson, S. Public Affairs Practice and Lobbying Inequality: Reform and regulation of the influence game. Journal of Public Affairs. Link to paper

Books and book chapters


Davidson, S. (2018). Organisational rhetoric in deeply pluralistic societies: the agonistic alternative. Chapter in Ihlen, Ø and Heath, R (Eds). The Handbook of Organizational Rhetoric and Communication. Wiley Blackwell: Oxford

Davidson, S. Motion, J. (2017). On Mouffe: Radical pluralism and public relations. In Ihlen, Ø. & Fredriksson, M. (Eds.). Public relations and social theory: Key figures and concepts. (2nd Expanded Edition). New York: Routledge.

Somerville, I. Davidson, S. (2017). Security, democratic legitimacy and the “public interest”: Policing and the “communicative ritual” in deeply divided societies. In Johnston, J and Pieczka, M (Eds). Public Interest Communication: Critical Debates and Global Concepts. Routledge.


Davidson, S. (2017). Public relations and the media. Chapter 2 , pages 2--34 in Tench, R and Yeomans, E (Eds). Exploring Public Relations: Global Strategic Communication. Pearson: Edinburgh

Davidson, S. (2012). Going Grey: The mediation of politics in an ageing society. Ashgate Publishing Limited.

Davidson, S. Binstock, R. (2011). Segmentation: Political Marketing in Aging Democracies. In Lees-Marshment, J. Editor, The Routledge Handbook of Political Marketing. Routledge.

Stanyer, J. Davidson, S. (2011). The global human rights regime and the internet: Non-democratic states and the hyper-visibility of evidence of oppression in Cottle, S & Lester,L Eds Transnational Protests and the Media. Peter Lang Publishing.

Downey, J and Davidson, S. (2007) The Internet and the 2005 UK General Election . In Dominic Wring, Jane Green, Roger Mortimore and Simon Atkinson (eds) Political Communications: the British General Election of 2005. Palgrave Macmillan.

Conference papers, reports and reviews

Davidson, S. Pieczka, M. (2017). Comparative public affairs research: factoring in mediated democracies. To be presented to the 2017 EUPRERA Congress. October 2017, London.

Davidson, S. (2016). Lobbying Inequality: How to Respond? Paper presented at the Public Affairs panel session of EUPRERA Congress 2016, September 29 to October 1, 2016. Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen.

Davidson, S. (2015). PR in the service of democracy: Radical pluralism, and the agonistic critique of dialogue and consensus. Paper presented at the Public Relations: critical perspectives, edgework and creative futures conference. Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. August 24-25, 2015.

Davidson, S. (2015). Robert Heath and the Rhetorical Paradigm of PR: One step back (to the classics) required before moving (the rhetorical paradigm) two steps ahead? Barcelona PR Meeting #5. June 30-July 1 2015, Barcelona.

Davidson, S & Rowe, O. (2014).  …and now the tricky question…what is your contribution to society? The perceptions, problems and areas of consensus on the functional and civic roles of public affairs practitioners. Presented at the European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA) Annual Congress. Brussels 11-13 September 2014

Davidson, S. (2013). PR as a public service?: Directions of public affairs & lobbying research within academic public relations. International PR 2013 Conference. BCN Meeting PR #3. 2-3 July 2013.

Davidson, S. (2012). Book review. Maarek, P.J. Campaign Communication and Political Marketing. European Journal of Communication. September 2012.

Davidson, S (2011). Strategic reorientation to the new grey electorate: how political campaigners are responding to the challenge. Conference paper. Political Studies Association. 61st Annual Conference. London, April  21, 2011.

Davidson, S. (2009) Quantifying the Changing Age Structure of the British Electorate 2005-2025: Researching the age demographics of the new parliamentary constituencies. Published by AGE UK. April 2010.

Davidson, S. (2009). Doing the PR for Snake Oil: Evaluating the case for a debate on the professional ethics of practitioners working to undermine science-based medicine. Presented to Stirling 21 - the CIPR Academic Conference. University of Stirling September 10, 2009.

Stanyer, J and Davidson, S (2008). "The internet and the hyper-visibility of oppression in non-democratic states: Oppressive regimes and the online exposure of human rights abuses and other repressive acts" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association 2008 Annual Meeting,  Boston, Massachusetts.

Davidson, S. (2007). Book review. Hugh Pemberton et al (eds.) Britain's Pension Crisis — History and Policy. In British Politics (2007) 2, 442–443.

Davidson, S. (2006) The “Grey Battleground” at the Next British General Election: Quantifying the Inexorable Rise of the Grey Vote. Paper Presented to the 56th Political Studies Association Annual Conference April 2006 - University of Reading.

Electoral Commission (2005). Reporting the 2005 UK General Election. A study conducted on behalf of The Electoral Commission by the Communication Research Centre, Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University. Report Authors: David Deacon, Dominic Wring, Michael Billig, John Downey, Peter Golding and Scott Davidson

Davidson, S. (2005).  A Demographic Time Bomb? The Politics of Ageing and the British Media. Paper Presented to the 55th Political Studies Association Annual Conference. 4-7 April 2005 - University of Leeds

Davidson, S. (2005). The Growing Importance of older voters .  A report for Age Concern England.  This publication and the related report Winning in 2009: The Importance of the Baby Boomers. Dedicated  web site: (No longer active)

Davidson, S & Rawson, S. (2005). East Midlands International Connections International Students at Broxtowe College, Nottingham A report for the East Midlands Development Agency.


My research work builds upon my professional experience. The work I carried out to extend my thesis was published as a monograph in November 2012. The book, 'Going Grey: The Mediation of Politics in an Ageing Society', combines analysis of the (partial) strategic reorientation to the ageing electorate by the main political parties with an examination of media portrayals and discourses on the social and political implications of population ageing. My research here integrates political communication dimensions of the age transformation of the electorate with a concern for how older people are constructed as political actors.

I have also analysed the increasing segmentation of the electoral market by age and life-stage by political parties. Alongside Robert Binstock, I produced work that examined the efficacy of attempts by parties in the UK and US to segment and target senior voters. This work builds upon my earlier work on age-related campaign segmentation strategies in the 2005 UK general election. In 2010, I secured external research income from AGE UK to produce a quantitative study that projected the current and future age composition of turnout in Westminster constituencies.

I have collaborated in projects that have researched aspects of digital media and online activism, specifically looking at how NGOs and bloggers network online to record and expose human rights abuses, using Burma and Zimbabwe as the main case studies.

I have also previously researched and published projects on the use of the internet by the political parties and assessed the impact of political blogs on election campaigns.

I have published research on how public affairs and lobbying have been theorised within public relations scholarship and a worked on a project which includes an exploration of how public affairs practitioners interpret and articulate their contributions to their employers, but also to society and policy making more generally.

I'm a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Public Affairs. I am also currently developing my interest in the application of theories of agonistic democracy to public relations theory and practice.

I'm the network leader for the new EUPRERA network of European academics with an interest in researching public affairs and lobbying.

I am also currently the director of the Media and Democracy Research Group, and am always interested in hearing from anyone who would like to be involved with the group's work as a member or associate member.

Forthcoming May 2018 ICA post conference. Lobbying and Democracy: the voice of communication.


I am interested in supervising PhD candidates in the following areas:

  • Development of critical public relations theory
  • All aspects of political public relations, public affairs and lobbying
  • Agonistic democracy
  • Media and political communication responses to population ageing
  • Media and political portrayals of older people and framing of pensions reform, inter-generational relations and the meaning of later life
  • The constructions of the baby boomers and other generations
  • Processes of research, segmentation and targeting of audiences in election campaigns

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Contact Details

School of Media, Communication and Sociology

Campus based courses
T: +44(0)116 252 3863

Distance Learning Courses
T: 0116 252 3755

Research degrees (campus-based and distance learning courses)
T: +44(0)116 252 2785

University of Leicester
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