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

These are the shortlisted entries for the 2023 awards. Eligible outputs were those published/released in public domain in 2022 and nominated by peers.

Award winners will be announced during the MeCCSA Annual Conference 2023, hosted by Glasgow Caledonian University, 4-6th September.

Nicky Falkof (University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg)

Worrier State: Risk, anxiety and moral panic in South Africa
Manchester University Press.

Judges’ comments:

This is a fascinating study of the perceived risks and associated concepts such as moral panic within South Africa and their media representations and is vigorous and timely as it speaks to the ‘risk’ society which has hitherto focused on the Global North. Fear and anxiety are explored through a discussion of four different mediatized ‘stories’ and through the author’s own clearly acknowledged white woman’s lens, all of which build a picture of a still highly racialised and unequal South Africa, where fear is differently focused and experienced depending on your position in the racial hierarchy as well as your class position. The case studies not only narrate different stories and different subjectivities but also grapple with the less familiar themes of magic and the occult. The book thus provides some original thinking through of how these different aspects of fear, anxiety and emotion play out in the modern South African imaginary. The work is scholarly and draws on both primary and secondary sources in the presentation of the different case studies. 

Lonán Ó Briain (University of Nottingham)

Voices of Vietnam: A Century of Radio, Red Music and Revolution
Oxford University Press.

Judges’ comments:

This monograph explores the socio-political role of music within radio cultures of Vietnam at a transformational period in its history. Drawing on years of ethnographic and archival research, the author provides a detailed analysis of the relationship between broadcasting, songs and politics in this understudied geographical context. As well as providing a social history of radio broadcasting and sound production of Southeast Asian media, the author connects this to wider debates about colonialism, ethnicity, identity, nationalism, feminism, and political economy. In doing so, the author demonstrates issues around voice and power that reveal the role of radio culture in the formation of exclusionary national cultures that has wider applicability in the region and beyond. However, the richness and depth of research in this project makes for a complex analysis of these cultures of production, avoiding reductive evaluations, and offering a fascinating read.

Nour Halabi (University of Leeds)

Radical Hospitality: American Policy, Media, and Immigration
Rutgers University Press.

Judges’ comments:

An important book that focuses on a fundamental contradiction between the legal protection offered to immigrants to the USA through the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution on the one hand, and the anti-immigrant sentiment, which inflects public discourse and ever more restrictive immigration policies on the other. Writing from her first-hand experience of having to negotiate the immigration process for herself and her family, the author advocates her unique vantage point. She takes an historico-political perspective to explore shifting policies around immigration, both legislative (regulatory hospitality) and media-oriented (media hospitality), the extent to which immigrants are or are not ‘welcomed’ to the USA, and how different orientations contribute to how immigrants can ‘build’ a home in their adopted country. The methodology for data collection during the three sample periods is well-described and the rationale for the choice of periods is persuasive as is the volume of material analysed; the archival research is impressive. It is a significant and scholarly book which provides some important insights through its use of the ‘hospitality’ concept and its historical orientation. 

Alison Peirse (University of Leeds)

Towards a feminist historiography of horror cinema, published in Horror Studies, Volume 13, Issue 1980s Horror Film Culture, Oct 2022, pp. 231 – 249

Judges’ comments:

The article proposes a strong analytical insightful analysis of the output of a woman film director of horror movies (Jackie Kong) in the 1980s, using a feminist lens to explore the ways in which women’s filmmaking in this genre has been largely ignored and the ways in which gender and race inflect the career development of women directors. Peirse suggests a feminist model for ‘doing’ film history and in particular, the horror genre. The article has rigour and resonance beyond the single filmmaker about whom the essay is focused and could impact on related areas of academic research. It is highly original in focus and offers some novel insights into the challenges which women directors have faced and how those challenges are intersected by other biographical characteristics. 

Martin Scott (University of East Anglia),
Mel Bunce (City, University of London), and
Kate Wright (University of Edinburgh)

The Influence of News Coverage on Humanitarian Aid: The Bureaucrats’ Perspective, published in Journalism Studies, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp. 167-186

Judges’ comments:

The article proposes a strong analytical framework to research public contestation. This is an important study focusing on news media’s role in galvanising aid donations which challenges received wisdom about the direction of influence. It is based on an impressive number (30) of interviews with high-level policy-makers and stakeholders across large humanitarian donor organisations in 16 countries, out of which the authors develop the concept of “bureaucratic mediatisation” by which they mean the ways in which bureaucratic institutions adapt to the norms and values of the news machine. The interview data are used intelligently and sensibly to support the authors’ analysis and the primary findings and the subsequent conclusions provide novel insights into the workings of humanitarian aid agencies.

Zizheng Yu (Cardiff University),
Emiliano Treré (Cardiff University), and
Tiziano Bonini (University of Siena, Italy)

The emergence of algorithmic solidarity: unveiling mutual aid practices and resistance among Chinese delivery workers, published in Media International Australia, Volume 183, Issue 1, pp. 107-123

Judges’ comments:

Fascinating empirically-focused article looking at how Chinese food delivery drivers find ways to ‘game’ platform attempts to push them towards greater productivity through competing with each other for rewards, through developing private networks which see them working together. Although the study draws on a relatively small sample (12 riders, 4 platforms/employers) and geographically specific (5 Chinese cities) it is nonetheless rich in detail with an explicitly qualitative approach. The interview data are well-described and the observation data identified six primary ways in which riders demonstrated ‘solidarity’ with each other, which were persuasively articulated. The article offers a high degree of originality and a genuinely novel contribution to the literature, particularly in demonstrating how the human can outwit the algorithm. 

Mia Lindgren (University of Tasmania, Australia) and
Jason Loviglio (University of Maryland, USA) (Eds)

The Routledge Companion to
Radio and Podcast Studies
, Routledge.

Judges’ comments:

This volume, composed of 46 chapters covering radio, podcasting and streaming as ‘soundwork’, represents a ground-breaking reference resource. The grouping of chapters across five sections, starting with fundamental questions about the technological and market changes which characterise the sector, ensures that readers are guided deftly through an extensive range of issues, themes and debates of contemporary relevance to the field. The book includes a range of perspectives, including international ones, and the twin focus on practice based plus standard (production/ audience etc) analyses is well suited to the subject matter. Contributions from both established and emerging scholars include original essays for example on political economy of media, radio history, and podcasting as a medium in flux. This timely book represents a landmark study in the developing field of radio, audio and podcast studies. 

Lúcia Nagib (University of Reading),
Luciana Corrêa de Araújo (Federal Universityof São Carlos, Brazil) and
Tiago de Luca (Universityof Warwick) (Eds)

Towards an Intermedial History of Brazilian Cinema, Edinburgh University Press.

Judges’ comments:

This edited collection rewrites the history of Brazilian cinema through the lens of intermediality. Eschewing the chronological approach of earlier histories it writes Brazilian cinema as a co-mingling of many different art forms: theatre, opera, dance, radio, television, music and the plastic arts. As such it offers an innovative way of writing cinema history, develops the concept of intermediality that has been used more broadly in the field, and introduces the notion of cosmopoetics. The collection is well framed by the editors and the individual contributions, from both early career and more senior scholars drawn from across the globe, sustain the argument that the history of Brazilian cinema is usefully understood in dialogue with other art forms.

Ana Tominc (Queen Margaret University Edinburgh)

Food and Cooking on Early Television in Europe: Impact on Postwar Foodways,

Judges’ comments:

Food and Cooking on Early Television in Europe collects ten original essays that make a strong overall contribution to television histories. The landscapes of TV cookery and food programming in eight European countries from the 1940s until the late 1960s are mapped and juxtaposed. Contributors explore significant questions around the relationships between public and domestic spheres, around gender and televisual address, and around early vernacular television cultures and formats. The editorial contributions in both the introductory and concluding chapters clearly articulate the ways in which the book coheres as a research intervention, and highlight variations in how audiences responded to these TV genres in very different economic and political contexts.

Manisha Ganguly (University of Westminster)

The Future of Investigative Journalism in the Age of Automation, Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Judges’ comments:

An important study, mapping the parameters of OSINT work and the impact on those who conduct it, clearly situated and providing helpful recommendations for a range of stakeholders.

Jan Lewis (Bournemouth University)

Mediating the Past: BBC Radio Archaeology Broadcasting, 1922-1966

Judges’ comments:

This thesis has unearthed a piece of media history which would otherwise lie dormant in the archive at Caversham. In the process it has drawn an ‘affective’ map of the relationship between radio broadcasting, its public and the archaeology profession and provides the final word on the snobbery about popular culture undermining lofty professions such as archaeology.

Michelle Park (Cardiff University)

Rejuvenating investigative journalism
at nonprofit news organisations
in South Korea and the United Kingdom

Judges’ comments:

A rigorously presented account of nonprofit investigative newsrooms in South Korea and the UK which makes a clear contribution to understandings of news processes within a changing media landscape.

Ian Garwood (University of Glasgow)

The Place of the Pop Song in Academic Audiovisual Film and Television Criticism

Judges’ comments:

This work of research-led practice is a meticulously crafted audio visual essay that positions pop music as both illustrative in video essays and also as found content. Considering the nature of the video essay, by using found sequences from video essays, this work is both simultaneously about the video essay and also reveals the way, that, by the reworking of pop songs in films, they become layered with meaning and significance, amplifying their cultural significance. 

Jenna Ng (University of York)

The New Virtuality

Judges’ comments:

An entertaining interactive multimedia work that playfully presents academic insights about the blurring of boundaries between the real and the virtual across a broad spectrum of cultural experiences, from social media to architecture, in a comprehensive and accessible appraisal of the current cultural landscape in which virtuality exists alongside the real, impacting our understanding of reality. The use of fiction in this work is engaging and provides a more emotive perspective on issues arising from the new virtuality leading the viewer to make connections between this and the scholarly text to arrive at a deeper understanding.

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