Dr Rachel O'Neill

Dr Rachel O'Neill

Assistant Professor

Department of Media and Communications

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Key Expertise
gender and sexuality; media and cultural studies; qualitative methods

About me

Dr Rachel O’Neill is Assistant Professor in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE.

Dr O’Neill is a feminist media and cultural studies scholar specialising in gender and sexuality. Her research centers questions of subjectivity and inequality, primarily in the contemporary UK context but with attention to transnational circulations of culture and capital. She is the author of Seduction: Men, Masculinity and Mediated Intimacy, published by Polity in 2018. Her work has appeared in journals including Feminist Theory, Television and New Media, and European Journal of Cultural Studies.

Prior to joining the Department, Dr O’Neill was a Research Fellow in Sociology at the University of Warwick. She received her PhD in Gender and Cultural Studies from King’s College London.

Expertise Details

gender and sexuality; media and cultural studies; ethnography; qualitative methods; feminist theory



Dr O’Neill’s first monograph, Seduction: Men, Masculinity and Mediated Intimacy, was published by Polity in 2018. Seduction is the first book-length study of the transnational cultural formation known as the ‘seduction community’, which offers instruction and advice to heterosexual men on the management of their intimate lives. This project pushes forward new theoretical horizons in examining how intimacy today is lived and experienced, as those most private and personal aspects of our lives are increasingly played out in relation to and through relationship with media texts and technologies.

Seduction was named Times Higher Education Book of the Week on publication and was shortlisted for the 2019 British Sociological Association (BSA) Philip Abrams Memorial Prize. An earlier article based on this research won the BSA SAGE Prize for Innovation and Excellence in 2016. Seduction has been reviewed in numerous academic journals, including European Journal of Women's StudiesFeminism & Psychology, Gender, Work & OrganisationJournal of Gender Studies and Men & Masculinities. It has also attracted widespread media coverage both nationally and internationally, with features in publications such as The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Guardian, The QuietusBuzzfeed News, Vice: Broadly and Newsweek. In 2019, Dr O’Neill contributed to a documentary about the seduction industry for Panorama, BBC One’s flagship current affairs programme.

Dr O’Neill currently holds a Wellcome Trust Fellowship in Humanities and Social Sciences for a project examining the emergence of ‘wellness’ as a novel cultural formation and new commercial development in the UK, one that is intimately bound up with the aspirational economies of social media. Exploring both the glamorous trappings of wellness media and the more mundane entanglements these generate in women’s everyday lives, this research examines how the rise of wellness coincides – temporally but also ideologically – with the decline of welfare. It situates the consumption of wellness practices and products in Britain within a global context, tracing the orientalising tropes, racialised hierarchies and extractive relationships that pattern this movement-market. It further explores the connections between wellness culture and conventional medicine, including through the work of health coaches and media medics. This research provides the foundation for Dr O’Neill’s second monograph, provisionally titled The Promise of Wellness.

Teaching & supervision

Postgraduate teaching

Dr O'Neill contributes to team-taught postgraduate Media and Communications courses relating to theories, concepts and research methodologies, and supervises MSc dissertations.

Doctoral supervision

Dr O'Neill welcomes applications from prospective doctoral researchers relating to her areas of research.