Professor Nick Couldry

Professor Nick Couldry

Professor of Media, Communications and Social Theory

Department of Media and Communications

Telephone
020 7955 6243
Room No
Room FAW.7.01G
Office Hours
via LSE For You
Connect with me

Languages
English, French, Spanish
Key Expertise
Media, Communications Data and Social Theory

About me

Nick Couldry is Professor of Media, Communications and Social Theory in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. As a sociologist of media and culture, he approaches media and communications from the perspective of the symbolic power that has been historically concentrated in media institutions. He is interested in how media and communications institutions and infrastructures contribute to various types of order (social, political, cultural, economic, ethical). His work has drawn on, and contributed to, social, spatial, democratic and cultural theory, anthropology, and media and communications ethics. His analysis of media as ‘practice’ has been widely influential. In the past 7 years, his work has increasingly focussed on data questions, and ethics, politics and deep social implications of Big Data and small data practices. He is the author or editor of 14 books and many journal articles and book chapters.

Expertise Details

media and data ethics; media audiences; media and platform power; reality media; social theory; sociology of culture; voice and listening

Research

As a sociologist, Professor Couldry's main interests are media and communications, culture and power, and social theory. Most of all, he is interested in the consequences for everyday reality of symbolic power’s concentration in particular institutions.

Initially, Professor Couldry's work was focussed on the power of traditional ‘media’ (particular television and the press) to define political and social reality. More recently, he has become interested in how a range of institutions associated with ‘media’ have, in the digital age, taken over that power. Today, the work of constructing reality is done as importantly through algorithms that work to measure our performance online or while using a networked object (the ‘internet of things’), as through large-scale media narratives about society.

Throughout his career, Professor Couldry has tried to confront a basic paradox: that information and communication technologies, because they present us with a ‘reality’ every day, can easily come to seem like a second nature. As a result, what should always be contestable can end up seeming beyond challenge, a structure of power that is too ‘hard’ to move or break through. His work has looked at many examples of this: ritual forms around media, such as ‘reality TV’ and more recently how, in everyday organizations and settings, the power to measure and define through algorithmic processes is contested, a process he has called ‘social analytics’ (see Storycircle project). For his latest book on the emerging social and economic order around data practices, see https://colonizedbydata.com/. Professor Couldry has also researched the politics of representation: are we, through our uses of media, empowered to engage with the democratic process (see Public Connection project)?

Publications

Books

  • Couldry, N. (2019) Media: Why It Matters. Cambridge: Polity
  • Couldry, N. and Mejias, U. (2019) The Costs of Connection: How Data Colonizes Human Life and Appropriates it for Capitalism. Stanford: Stanford University Press 
  • Couldry, N. and Hepp, A. (2017). The Mediated Construction of Reality. Cambridge: Polity. *Winner of the 2017 German Communication Association (DGPuK) Theory Prize*
  • Couldry, N., Madianou, M. and Pinchevski, A. (eds.) (2013). Ethics of Media.Basingstoke: Palgrave/MacMillan.
  • Couldry, N. (2012). Media, Society, World: Social Theory and Digital Media Practice, Cambridge: Polity Press. *Selected by Choice Magazine as one of its Outstanding Academic Titles of 2013*
  • Couldry, N. (2010). Why Voice Matters: Culture and Politics After Neoliberalism. London: Sage.
  • Couldry, N., Hepp, A. and Krotz, F. (eds.) (2009). Media Events in a Global Age. London: Routledge.
  • Couldry, N., Livingstone, S. and Markham, T. (2007). Media Consumption and Public Engagement: Beyond the Presumption of Attention.  
  • Couldry, N. (2006) Listening Beyond the Echoes: Media, Ethics and Agency in an Uncertain World, Boulder, CO: Paradigm Press
  • Couldry, N. and McCarthy, A. (eds) (2004). MediaSpace: Place Scale and Culture in a Media Age. London: Routledge.
  • Couldry, N. and Curran, J. (eds) (2003). Contesting Media Power: Alternative Media in a Networked World. Boulder, CO: Rowman & Littlefield
  • Couldry, N.  (2003). Media Rituals: A Critical Approach. London: Routledge
  • Couldry, N. (2000). Inside Culture: Reimagining the Method of Cultural Studies, London: Sage.
  • Couldry, N. (2000). The Place of Media Power: Pilgrims and Witnesses of the Media Age, London: Routledge.


Other pubilcations

View a comprehensive list of Professor Couldry's publications.

Teaching and supervision

Postgraduate teaching

From 2019-2020 Professor Couldry convenes and teaches a new research-led option, Media, Data and Social Order (MC437) which runs in Lent Term. He has also contributed lectures to team-taught postgraduate-level Media and Communications courses relating to theories and concepts (MC408/MC418) and research methodologies (MC4M1/MC4M2).

Professor Couldry has taught previously in the LSE Departments of Sociology and Media and Communications (2001-2006), and before rejoining LSE in September 2013 was joint Head of the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Doctoral supervision

Professor Couldry supervises doctoral researchers and welcomes applications from prospective students relating to his areas of research. His current dodctoral supervisees include Anthony KellySebastian LehuedeLudmila Lupinacci AmaralSvetlana Smirnova and Jun Yu. He has recently successfully supervised Dr Fabien Cante and Dr Daniel Knapp to completion.

External commitments

Professor Couldry has held visiting positions at MIT, the University of Pennsylvania, University of Stockholm, RMIT Melbourne, Roskilde University, Södertorn University, Stockholm, University of Technology Sydney, University of Toulouse and Utrecht University.

In June 2014, he was appointed Adjunct Professor in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT, Melbourne, Australia. He has recently given invited lectures and seminars in Brazil, Chile, Finland, Germany, Holland, Israel, Korea, Japan, Portugal, Sweden, and the USA. In 2015 and 2018 he was awarded Honorary Doctorates from Södertörn University, Sweden and Tampere University, Finland respectively.

Media

For a podcast of a recent conversation about Nick’s latest book Media Society World, click here

For a video of a recent talk, click here 

For a podcast of Nick in conversation about cultural studies and social theory, click here

For a podcast of Nick's inaugural lecture at LSE, click here