Kat Higgins

Kat Higgins

PhD Researcher

Department of Media and Communications

Connect with me

Languages
English
Key Expertise
Crime and Policing, Journalism, Mediation, Vulnerability

About me

Research topic

Vulnerability, justice, and the mediated (in)security imaginary: how news media criminalize

Kat researches and writes at the intersection of media culture, critical discourse analysis, and the sociology of crime control and state violence, with an empirical focus on contemporary Australia. Informed by an abolitionist ethic, her doctoral research is concerned with the role played by news media in cultural processes of criminalization. More specifically, she investigates how journalistic representations of crime events delimit imaginative possibilities for different forms of security action, and in doing so help maintain the cultural conditions of possibility for policing, incarceration, and other coercive and punitive strategies of crime control.  

Empirically, her project investigates the mediated construction of so-called ‘African gang crime’ in and through the Australian press, deploying a multi-modal critical discourse analysis of both print and televisual media. This analysis approaches crime news texts as sites of vulnerability micro-politics, where different and sometimes competing accounts of social vulnerability struggle for public recognition and where the legitimacy of different forms of security intervention is negotiated. Kat’s thesis positions ‘imaginability’ as an important political frontier in efforts to transform the practices through which we pursue safety and justice, and crime journalism as critically important to how imaginaries of (in)security are made and remade. 

Her thesis hopes to unearth new insights into how media discourses help projects of domination and exclusion sustain access to morality through the language and logics of security, and to reimagine crime journalism for more just and emancipatory security futures. 

Supervisor: Professor Lilie Chouliaraki and Professor Robin Mansell

Biography

Kat's research interests include media culture, critical discourse analysis, the politics of crime control, the journalism of justice and (in)security, and contemporary mediated feminisms. She holds an MSc in Media and Communications from the LSE and a BA in International Studies from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. Kat graduated the LSE with both the Best Overall MSc Performance Prize and the 2015 Silverstone Dissertation Prize for writing in the field of media and ethics. She was also the recipient of the 2021 Top Student Paper Award from the ICA Visual Communication Studies Division. Her research and writing have appeared in a variety of publications, including peer-reviewed journals like Journalism and Feminist Media Studies and public-facing outlets like Progressive International. She is also an experienced and passionate teacher and a full Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy (AdvanceHE). Kat's doctoral research is supported by an LSE PhD Studentship. 

Expertise Details

Crime and Policing; Journalism; Mediation; Critical Discourse Analysis; Critical Security Studies; Vulnerability; Visual Culture; Australian Politics; Contemporary Feminisms

Teaching

2020-2021

Media, Communication and Development (Department of Media and Communications, LSE)

Classroom assistant offering constructive feedback and analytical guidance to Master's students in the preparation of their case study projects. Course convened by Professor Shakuntala Banaji.

Political Communication in Democracies (Department of Media and Communications, LSE)

Classroom assistant offering constructive feedback and analytical guidance to Master's students preparing case study presentations. Course convened by Professor Bart Cammaerts and Dr Nick Anstead

2019-2020

Key Concepts in Advanced Social Theory (Department of Sociology, LSE)

Graduate teaching assistant (GTA) leading seminars for undergraduate students. Syllabus covered includes microsociology, actor network theory, technofeminism, public sphere theory, postcolonial/decolonial theory, cultural studies, cultural Marxism, and the sociology of space.

Course convened by Dr Monika Krause and Dr Sara Salem

2018-2019

Key Concepts in Advanced Social Theory (Department of Sociology, LSE)

Graduate teaching assistant (GTA) leading seminars for undergraduate students. Syllabus covered includes microsociology, actor network theory, technofeminism, public sphere theory, postcolonial/decolonial theory, cultural studies, cultural Marxism, and the sociology of space.

Course convened by Dr Monika Krause and Dr Sara Salem

Data, Communication and Society (Department of Media and Communications, LSE)

Classroom assistant offering editorial support to Masters students preparing blog posts for the LSE Data and Society Blog. Course convened by Dr Alison Powell.

Media, Communication and Development (Department of Media and Communications, LSE)

Classroom assistant offering constructive feedback and analytical guidance to Masters students in the preparation of their case study projects Course convened by Professor Shakuntala Banaji.

2017-18

Representation in the Age of Globalisation (Department of Media and Communications, LSE)

Classroom assistant offering constructive theoretical and methodological feedback and technical support to Masters students in the preparation of their ‘We are All Refugees’ video interview projects. Course Convened by Professor Shani Orgad.

Publications

Publications:

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles 

Higgins, K. C. (2021) ''Nobody feels safe': Vulnerability, fear, and the micro-politics of ordinary voice in crime news television', Journalism, online first, available here

Orgad, S. & Higgins, K.C. (2021) "Sensing the (in)visible: domestic cleaning and cleaners on Mumsnet Talk", Feminist Media Studies, online first, available here

Banet-Weiser, S. & Higgins, K.C. 'Television and the "honest" woman: mediating the labor of believability', Television and New Media, online first, available here

Selected Conference Presentations: 

Higgins, K. (2021) 'Through the kaleidoscope: news images, vantage points, and the mediated time-space of crime events.' ICA Visual Communication Studies Division. Top Student Paper 2021

Higgins, K. (2020) 'Debunking fear: Ordinary testimony in crime news television'. 2nd Annual Lisbon Winter School: 'Media and Uncertainty'. Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisbon, Portugal. 

Higgins, K. (2019) 'Power to Pronounce: Multivocality and contestation in television news representations of crime and policing in Australia'. 2019 International Association of Media and Communications Research (IAMCR) Conference, Conflict, Security and Crisis Working Group. Madrid, Spain. 

Higgins, K. (2019) 'Populist (in)security? Hierarchies of voice in current affairs television accounts of Melbourne's "African gang crisis"'. International Political Sociology PhD Seminar Series. Kings College/Queen Mary University, London. 

Reports: 

Bhat, R., Higgins, K. & Stupart, R. (2019) “Exploring Decolonial Praxis at the LSE”, LSE Change Makers 2018-19, summary report available here 

Toome, E., Grenfell, D. & Higgins, K. (2012) 'Local Perspectives on Political Decision-Making in Timor-Leste: A Short Report on the 2007 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in Dili and Venilale', Globalism Research Centre (RMIT University), Melbourne Australia, available here  

Book Reviews:

Higgins, K, (2019) [Review of the book Mediated Intimacy: Sex Advice in Media Culture by M-J. Barker, R. Gill and L. Harvey], International Journal of Communication, 13(1), p. 5042-5045, available online here 

Blogs and Other Writing: 

Lehuedé, S., Filimonov, K. & Higgins, K. (2020) ‘Dissent and Democracy in Covid-19’, Progressive International (Blueprint), available online here 

Higgins, K. (2020) ‘Why police violence is a media problem’, Media@LSE Blog, available online here 

Higgins, K. (2019) ‘Above and beyond? Rethinking our criteria for ‘teaching excellence’, Contemporary Issues in Teaching and Learning, available online here 

Higgins, K. (2019) ‘We need to disentangle merit from mental health’, Contemporary Issues in Teaching and Learning, available online here 

Higgins, K. (2016) 'Imagining (In)security: Towards developing critical knowledges of security in a mediated social world', Media@LSE Dissertation Series, London, United Kingdom, available online here