Dr Rodolfo Leyva

Dr Rodolfo Leyva

Guest Teacher

Department of Media and Communications

020 7107 5026
Room No
Key Expertise
media culture and neoliberalism

About me

I recently joined the LSE Department of Media and Communications, and will be contributing to the teaching of the following courses: MC41M1-Methods of Research in Media and Communications, MC408-Theories and Concepts in Media and Communications, and MC402-Audience in Media and Communications. I have a PhD in Political Sociology from the King’s College London School of Education, Communication and Society. Prior to my current appointment, I have been a lecturer at several universities and have led various quantitative and qualitative research methods, sociology, and media modules. I have also worked as a post-doctoral research assistant on various mixed-methods communications, psychology, and education studies.

Expertise Details

media culture and neoliberalism; new media and political participation; media psychology and neuroscience; quantitative and experimental methods in media and communications research


My current research employs quantitative and experimental methods coupled with media-communications theories (e.g., cultivation theory, priming theory) to investigate A)the effects of mass media on welfare attitudes and prosocial development, and B) the effects of the Internet on political participation and cognition. With regards to A) for example, in 2016, I conducted a web-survey experimental priming study on the effects of exposure to media representations of materialism and wealth on support for UK anti-welfare policies (n=530, ages 18-49). This study incorporated a mix of vignette and visual priming instruments, which helped to generate nuanced theoretical and experimental insights into how ubiquitous commercial media may potentially undermine prosocial development and societal wellbeing. Specifically, my findings suggest that long-term chronic  attention  to materialistic  media  indirectly  increases  support  for  the  governmental  enactment  of  punitive welfare policies via cultivating self-enhancement schemas, which when instantiated, decrease dispositional   orientations   towards   empathy,   altruism,   and   communality. With regards to B) for example, in 2015, I ran a web-survey study to examine the influence of social media on youth participation in the 2015 General Election (n=274, ages 18-29). This study was designed with novel Facebook and Twitter newsfeed simulations. The findings indicate that social media are having a narrow and marginal effect on UK youth political participation.

My other and initial area of research focuses on exploring and explaining the hegemony of Western neoliberalism. For example, for my PhD thesis, I synthesised theories from political economy, cultural sociology, and cognitive psychology to develop an interdisciplinary model for how social reproduction might be interpreted and examined in neoliberal contexts. I then used this model to conduct an ethnographic study on the influence of neoliberal discourses on the political and media-cultural dispositions and practices of London and Los Angeles youth.

In continuing with the areas of research outlined above, I hope to help advance social and digital research methods. Additionally, I also aim to contribute new interdisciplinary theoretical understandings on how the Internet and media-culture can mediate or moderate individual and collective action needed to address the growing rates of socioeconomic and political participatory inequalities that are currently rampant in advanced market democracies.


Journal Articles

Leyva, R. (In Press). Media Ethics, Regulations, And Effects: How The British Right-Wing Press Disregards All Three & Undermines Democratic Deliberations. Communications Law - Journal of Computer, Media and Telecommunications Law. pp. 1-17. 

Leyva, R. (2018). Unpacking The Usage And Implications Of Neoliberal Language In The Russell Group’s Education Strategies. Šolsko Polje - Journal for Theory and Research in the Field of Education, 29(1/2). pp. 77-96.

Leyva, R. (2018). Experimental insights into the socio-cognitive effects of viewing materialistic media on welfare support. Media Psychology, pp. 1-25. doi:10.1080/15213269.2018.1484769.

Leyva, R. (2018). Towards a cognitive-sociological theory of subjectivity and habitus formation in neoliberal environments. European Journal of Social Theory, pp. 1-22. doi.org/10.1177/1368431017752909

Leyva, R. (2016). Exploring UK Millennials’ Social Media Consumption Patterns And Participation In Elections, Activism And ‘Slacktivism’. Social Science Computer Review, DOI: 10.1177/0894439316655738. pp. 1-18.

King, H, Dawson, E, and Leyva, R. (2015). Highlighting the wider relevance of science centre evaluations: a reflection on the evaluation of a physics engagement programme. Journal of Science Communication, 14(4). pp. 1-18.

Leyva, R. (2012). Exploring Neoliberal Social-Reproduction: A Working Theoretical  Framework. King’s College London Centre for Public Policy Research. Working Papers in  Public Policy Research, 1. pp. 1-19.

Leyva, R. (2009). No Child Left Behind: A Neoliberal Repackaging of Social Darwinism.  Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies7(1). pp. 365-381. 


Leyva, R. (2020). Brains, Media and PoliticsGenerating Neoliberal Subjects. London: Routledge.

Book Chapters

Leyva, R. (forthcoming 2017). Exploring the Reproduction of Neoliberal Subjectivities: A Socio-Cognitive Approach. In J. Louth. & K. Harrison (Eds), Edges of Identity: The Production of Neoliberal Subjectivities. (pp. 1-20). Chester: University of Chester Press.

Leyva, R. (2014). On The Psychology And Libertarian Socialism Of Erich Fromm: Towards An Empirical Psychological Retrofit. In S. J. Miri. R. Lake & T. M. Kress (Eds), Reclaiming the Sane Society: Essays on Erich Fromm’s Thought. (pp. 3-15).Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Leyva, R. (2014). Neoliberalism. (pp. 569-572) In D. C. Phillips (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Theory and Philosophy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Leyva, R. (2014). Social Darwinism. (pp. 765-767). In D. C. Phillips (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Theory and Philosophy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Additional Peer-Reviewed Publications

Leyva, R. (2011). ‘Music Review’ The Revolution Will Not Be Amplified. By Ryan Harvey.  Critical Sociology, 37(3). pp. 375-376.

Leyva, R. (2010). The Times They Are Not A Changing: Neoliberal Interpellation, Revisiting The Frankfurt School. In M. French. S. Jackson. & E. Jokisuu (Eds.), Diverse Engagement: Drawing in the Margins. Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference paper, (pp. 92-102). Cambridge, UK.

Report Publications

Martellozzo, E. Monaghan, A. Adler, A. Davidson, J. Leyva, R. & Horvath, M. (2017). A quantitative and qualitative examination of the impact of online pornography on the values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of children and young people. NSPCC Study. pp. 1-88.

Ruggiero, V. & Leyva, R. (2016). Literature exploration and open access bibliography [Qualitative review of the scholarship on Organised Crime and Terrorist Networks]. TAKEDOWN Project Research Report. pp. 1-48.