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LSE USC Research Collaboration

Communication Futures

Building on our successful fifteen-years teaching partnership, LSE's Department of Media and Communications and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC (University of Southern California) are joining forces to bring their research activities into a new focus that addresses the profound implications of media and communications technologies for our shared futures.

Over the next three years, USC and LSE faculty will focus their joint efforts upon the following major research themes, in the process further enriching the experience of students on the double graduate degree in Global Media and Communications taught across the two institutions: 

  • Reframing the Social: As ever more of daily life is played out and transacted via media and communications technologies, particularly digital platforms for social interaction, what are the consequences for the social, and our hopes and fears for social life? What new forms of civics and education become possible? Who risks being excluded from these transformations, and how can this be challenged? Do we need a new ethics for information and data practices?
  • Remaking News, Remaking Politics: Digital media are creating an entirely new ecology of news production and circulation, which is already changing the profile of global news events. What are the wider consequences for journalism and the institutions that fund journalism? What are the implications for governments who seek to manage news, societies and world events, when non-government actors start to have greater news production capacities than they do? What news valuesare appropriate to this new world?
  • Reimagining Cities: Cities are where an increasingly high proportion of the world’s population live. Media devices enable urban populations to be interconnected to an unprecedented degree, yet cities face huge problems of coordination and environmental risk. What contribution can the uses of media and communication technologies make to organising cities better? Can they help populations imagine the futures of urban living in new ways? Will they enable the voices of urban populations to be better taken into account, and with what consequences for the governance of cities?

Across all this research will run some shared core commitments to:

  • Doing comparative research better, moving beyond outdated models that only compare nation-to-nation;
  • Prioritising research into social processes and their transformations, both offline and online, beyond a narrow focus on individuals and what they do;
  • Focussing both on the economic pressures that drive technological change andthe cultural translations of those pressures into everyday ways of living.