The MeCCSA Awards recognise outstanding research in the fields of media, communication, and cultural studies.

These are the shortlisted entries for the 2022 awards. Eligible outputs were those published/released in public domain in 2021 and nominated by peers.

Award winners will be announced during the MeCCSA Annual Conference 2022, hosted by Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, 7-9th September.

Amy Holdsworth (University of Glasgow)

On Living with Television
Duke University Press.

Judges comments:

Holdsworth provides a rich auto-ethnographic account of the role of television in everyday life. It builds on existing literature in television studies, domestic consumption and feminist theory through the application of queer theory and disability studies. Its originality is its focus on issues of care and disability in a domestic setting and how television contributes to shared familiar routines. The narrative is engaging and even moving as Holdsworth discusses her personal experiences of caring for her disabled sister and niece and nephew. Its contribution to the field is significant in going beyond existing scholarship to place care at the centre of her analysis of media and cultural practices. A sense of voice is a major asset of this book but it is combined with critical and textual analysis which provides for both a deeply thoughtful and engaging reading experience. 

David Martin-Jones (University of Glasgow)

Columbo: Paying Attention 24/7 
Edinburgh University Press.

Judges comments:

This fascinating book interrogates the popular TV series Columbo, locating it within multiple histories and contexts. Martin-Jones contextualises the series within concepts of performance, modernity, geography/location and representations of ethnicity and class, all written in an original and highly approachable manner. Importantly the book provides a major intervention in Television Studies by approaching the series from the film-philosophy concept of Attention. 

Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University) and Augusto Valeriani (University of Bologna)

Outside the Bubble: Social Media and Political Participation in Western Democracies 
Oxford University Press.

Judges comments:

This is a highly complex and nuanced study of social media use and political participation in nine different states. It offers vigorous scholarship based on a contextual analysis of extensive sets of quantitative data. From this research, Vaccari and Valeriani challenge the well-established idea that people engaging on social media operate in echo chambers, hence the title ‘outside the bubble’.  This, they argue, has important implications for political participation, mobilisation and outcomes. For these reasons, the book has international presence and significance, notwithstanding its scope being limited to Western democratic states. Its approach and argument ensures that it makes a valuable contribution to the study of social media and political communications.

Anastasia Kavada (University of Westminster) and Thomas Poell (University of Amsterdam)

From Counterpublics to Contentious Publicness: Tracing the Temporal, Spatial, and Material Articulations of Popular Protest Through Social Media, published in Communication Theory, Volume 31, Issue 2, May 2021, Pages 190–208

Judges comments:

The article proposes a strong analytical framework to research public contestation through social media. They apply this framework to the Egyptian uprising and the Occupy protests in 2011, and their findings are structured in terms of what they mean for the framework itself. Kavada and Poell’s retheorisation of the public sphere offers three substantive conceptual moves toward an understanding of contentious publicness via material, spatial and temporal dimensions, and constitutes a substantive intervention in thinking about popular protest via social media.

Claudia Mellado (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile), Daniel Hallin (University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA), Luis Cárcamo (Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile), Rodrigo Alfaro (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile), Daniel Jackson (Bournemouth University), María Luisa Humanes (University Rey Juan Carlos, Móstoles, Spain), Mireya Márquez-Ramírez (Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City, Mexico), Jacques Mick (Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil), Cornelia Mothes (Macromedia University of Applied Sciences, Munich, Germany), Christi I-Hsuan LIN (Rikkyo University, Tokyo, Japan), Misook Lee (Rikkyo University, Tokyo, Japan), Amaranta Alfaro (Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Santiago de Chile, Chile), Jose Isbej (Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile) & Andrés Ramos (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile) 

Sourcing Pandemic News: A Cross-National Computational Analysis of Mainstream Media Coverage of COVID-19 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, published in Digital Journalism, 9:9, pp. 1261-1285

Judges comments:

The article is a large-scale project based on the analysis of 940,000 online posts on COVID-19 across 7 countries. The study offers much in terms of originality, specifically in terms of its methodological approach, examining how sourcing works on social media across 7 countries. It is a strong contribution to rethinking the source-journalist relationship in different national contexts, and more particularly at a time of worldwide health crises. The article provides valuable findings about the coverage of COVID internationally.

Mary Harrod (University of Warwick), Suzanne Leonard (Simmons University in Boston, USA), and Diane Negra (University College Dublin, Ireland)

Imagining “We” in the Age of “I”: Romance and Social Bonding in Contemporary Culture

Judges comments:

This is a ground-breaking edited collection on the meaning of romance, intimacy, and social bonding in pre and post-covid culture and society increasingly dominated by ideas of individualism and individual self-fulfilment. The editors argue that intimacy is being transformed not just by ubiquitous technology but by broader economic, social, and ideological forces. Drawing upon an eclectic range of social theory each chapter situates close readings of popular cultural texts in a wider sociological context. It is a truly cosmopolitan collection with a number of contributions looking beyond Anglo-American media and the West. The editors successfully bring all of the chapters together as a coherent whole thereby making an important and original contribution to understanding the contemporary transformation of intimacy.

Pieter Verdegem (University of Westminster)

AI for Everyone?: Critical Perspectives
University of Westminster Press.

Judges comments:

An original and timely collection that, in analysing discourses surrounding AI, challenges notions of technological determinism and highlights the enduring importance of concepts of power within mass communication.

Stephen Goulding (Ulster University)

From Militancy to New Media: The Discursive Construction of Irish Republicanism

Judges comments:

Dr Goulding’s thesis provides an up-to-date account of discourses of republicanism (and the power dynamics which underpin these) and their strategic reproduction in virtually mediated spaces that are peripheral to elite republican centres of power. He critically engages with the term ‘Shinnerbot’ (which is used to describe Republican activists operating online) and argues that, despite the mainstreaming of this term, republican discourse remains radical and relies on a nuanced interpretation of the past to legitimate its peripheral critique of existing centres of political power.

Natalie-Anne Hall (University of Manchester)

Taking back control: The online political engagement of pro-Leave non-digital-native Facebook users

Judges comments:

Dr Hall’s thesis provides an analysis of hateful content online and deals with ‘post-truth’ claims. She challenges the field to move beyond techno-determinist explanations, and argues that while the combination of Brexit and Facebook acted as a powerful vehicle for crystallising and empowering discontents around immigration, belonging and liberal values, these discontents were not new and are unlikely to abate following Britain’s exit from the EU. 

Laura Mora (Keele University)

Examining the self-representation of hijab fashion bloggers as a postfeminist phenomenon: Discourses of empowerment and their limitations

Judges comments:

Dr Mora’s thesis is the first study that examines the way postfeminist discourses are produced and reworked by Muslim women influencers online. Even though social media offer Muslim women a representational space to counter Islamophobic stereotypes, this is limited by existing discourses of consumerism, entrepreneurship and beauty, reinforcing oppression in other ways. Hence, the thesis highlights the tensions for marginalised groups in navigating structural sexism and racism while providing a new dimension to feminist critiques of neoliberal postfeminism. 

Shweta Ghosh (University of Reading)

We Make Film 

Judges comments:

This film offers a clear articulation of practice as a process of research investigation and a means of interrogating the discriminatory practices inherent in filmmaking, by centring the experiences of disabled filmmakers. Important to note here is the interview-workshop method, which empowers the disabled collaborators to engage with this research process.

This work stems from a practice-based doctorate.

Alastair Cole (Newcastle University)

lorram (Boat Song)

Judges comments:

This film offers a seamless articulation of past and present through sound, minority language and the islands’ way of life and in the process avoid the pitfalls of nostalgia often associated with documentaries which make use of archival material. This community-led documentary opens up novel possibilities for audio-visual practice-based research with and for working people in marginalised geographical and linguistic areas. This feature length, research-led documentary presents a poetic treatment of archive sound material juxtaposed with contemporary footage, using Scottish Gaelic, a minority language, to discuss the historical and contemporary significance of the sea and fishing. This novel and creative approach to documentary provides an original and engaging voice for these communities and the issues they face.

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