Professor Lilie Chouliaraki

Professor Lilie Chouliaraki

Chair in Media and Communications | Doctoral Programme Director

Department of Media and Communications

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Key Expertise
humanitarian communication

About me

Professor Lilie Chouliaraki is Chair in Media and Communications in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. She has a background in Languages and Linguistics, having completed her MA and PhD at Lancaster University Department of Linguistics, before which she studied for a bachelors degree at the School of Philosophy, University of Athens.

Her research has a strong interdisciplinary orientation, drawing on Social and Cultural Theory, Moral Philosophy and Sociology, Visual Communication and Social Semiotics as well as Discourse Theory and Analysis. Her main interest lies in understanding how the media shape our ethical and political relationship to vulnerable others in the global South but also in the global North; how claims to pain intersect with power relations to inform the ways we witness vulnerable others and the ways we are invited to feel, think and act towards them. Her empirical material has included disaster newshumanitarian and human rights communication, migration as well as war and conflict journalism, studying these in a historical perspective and across mass and digital media.More recently, Prof. Chouliaraki has turned her attention to histories of the victim and the politics of victimhood in the context of emotional capitalism, social media platforms and far-right populism. Her book on the topic, Wronged. The Weaponization of Victimhood was published with Columbia University Press in 2024.

Professor Chouliaraki has served at a number of LSE Committees and has sat at the Board of the Marshall Institute for Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship and LSE's Women, Peace and Security Centre. She has also been a Member of the AHRC Peer Review College. She is also Honorary Professor at the Copenhagen Business School and has been visiting Professor at a number of universities including CELSA-Sorbonne, Paris, University of Helsinki, University of Stockholm, The New School, Yale University and the Steinhardt School, New York University. She also held a 2017 Professorial Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Bologna. Her work has been translated in Portuguese, Polish, Danish, Greek, Italian, French and Chinese. Professor Chouliaraki's work has received funding from the Greek, Danish, Nordic and Dutch Research Councils. She is the recipient of a number of international distinctions for her publications, including the Outstanding Article Award from the Journalism Studies Division of the International Communication Association (ICA, 2014); the Outstanding Book of the Year award of the International Communication Association (ICA 2015) and an Honorable Mention of the Journalism Studies Division of the International Communication Association (ICA, 2023). In 2020, Prof Chouliaraki was announced as an ICA Fellow, in recognition of her distinguished scholarly contributions to the field of media and communications.

Expertise Details

corporate communication and branding; humanitarian communication; media ethics; media representations of suffering and violence; public sphere and civil action


Professor Chouliaraki's main research focus lies in the mediation of human vulnerability, and she has spent the past two decades exploring four key domains within which human vulnerability appears as a problem of communication: disaster news, humanitarianism, migration and war. In her work on the mediation of disaster news, Professor Chouliaraki has shown the ways in which Western national and trans-national television networks follow hierarchical patterns in their narrative organisation of news on distant suffering and, hence, in the systematic distribution of ethical sensibilities towards distant others. In so doing, she concluded, they reproduce global hierarchies of place and human life, along a West/non-West axis (The Spectatorship of Suffering, Sage, 2006/2011).

In subsequent work, Prof. Chouliaraki focuses on humanitarian and human rights communication, exploring how the mediation of solidarity has changed in the course of the past fifty years. Looking into NGO appeals, rock concerts, celebrity advocacy and post-television disaster news, she demonstrates how major institutional (the commercialisation of the aid and development field), technological (the rise of new media) and political (the fall of grand narratives) transformations have also changed the moral imperative to act on distant others in need. As a consequence, she argues, solidarity has today become not about conviction but choice, not vision but lifestyle, not others but ourselves - turning us into the ironic spectators of other people's suffering (The Ironic Spectator. Solidarity in the Age of Post-humanitarianism, Polity, 2012). She has also coedited a state-of-the art collection on the present challenges and directions of the field, the Routledge Handbook of Humanitarian Communication (with Anne Vestergaard, Routledge, 2021).

More recently, Professor Chouliaraki's work has turned to the communication of migration. Together with Prof. Myria Georgiou, she draws on multi-method research on the biggest migration event of the 21st century in the west - the 2015 migration “crisis” and its aftermath up to 2020 - to unpack the complexity and contradictions of the border in the age of datafication. In their book The Digital Border. Migration, Technology, Power (New York University Press, 2022), Chouliaraki and Georgiou develop a holistic theory of the digital border as an assemblage of technological infrastructures (from surveillance cameras to smartphones) and media imaginaries (stories, images, social media posts) to tell the story of migration as it unfolds in Europe’s outer islands as much as its most vibrant cities. The digital border that emerges in their study, they argue, is neither fully digital nor totally controlling. Rather, it is both digital and pre-digital; datafied and embodied; automated and self-reflexive; and traversed by fragile social relationships that entail both the despair or inhumanity and the promise of a better future.

Prof. Chouliaraki’s current work encompasses a study of the digital witnessing of war through smartphone devices or on social media platforms such as You Tube (published in Popular Communication, Information, Communication and Society; Visual Communication, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Media War and Conflict; and more recently with Dr Omar al-Ghazzi, in Journalism).At the same time, Prof. Chouliaraki critical study of the histories and current uses of “victimhood” in the cultural politics of the Anglo-American world has just been published as Wronged. The Weaponization of Victimhood by Columbia University Press. Listen to a podcast with Prof Chouliaraki for Borderless Voices with Dr Ayesha Jehangir, where she discusses the main themes of her book.

An overarching interest in Prof. Chouliaraki’s work is Discourse Theory and Analysis. She has written on discourse as a theoretical approach and as a methodological tool is her book Discourse in Late Modernity. Rethinking Critical Discourse Analysis (co-authored with Norman Fairclough, Edinburgh University Press, 2000) and in numerous publications (Social Semiotics, Journal of Management Studies; Linguistics and Education, Critical Discourse Studies; The Handbook of Cultural Analysis).




Other publications

  • Chouliaraki, L. (2012) Re-mediation, inter-mediation, trans-mediation. Journalism Studies, 14 (2). pp. 267-283. ISSN 1461-670X Outstanding Article of the Year Award, Journalism Studies Division, International Communication Association, 2014
  • Chouliaraki, L. (2010) Ordinary witnessing in post-television news: towards a new moral imagination. Critical Discourse Studies, 7 (4). pp. 305-319. ISSN 1740-5904. Top Paper of the Year Award, Journalism Studies Division, International Communication Association, 2010


View a comprehensive list of Professor Chouliaraki's publications here

Teaching and supervision

Postgraduate teaching

Professor Chouliaraki convenes the MC501. Advanced Doctoral Seminars for 3rd and 4th- year PhD students and contributes to the postgraduate course MC429. Humanitarian Communication as well as to the team-taught postgraduate Media and Communications courses relating to Discourse and Multi-Modal research methodologies (MC4M1/MC4M2).

Doctoral supervision

Professor Chouliaraki supervises doctoral students whose topics include the use of AI (museum holograms) in the transmission of Holocaust testimonies; the mobilization of male victimhood in online misogynist activism; techno-orientalist representations of AI in popular fiction; the institutional restructuring of photojournalism in the digital newsroom.

Applicants with backgrounds in social science disciplines including media and cultural studies, communication and discourse studies, political science, sociology and gender studies are encouraged to apply.

Professor Chouliaraki's current doctoral supervisees are Gal Ravia, Sindhoora Pemmaraju, Hatty Liu and Lewis Bush.

Awards and prizes