Books and publications

Want to learn more about the books we publish? Take a look at this curated list of publications from our active research staff.

Three book covers, data for journalism, disinformation in the global south and breaking the news.
The BBC, the ‘War on Terror’ and the Discursive Construction of Terrorism: Representing ‘Al-Qaeda’ - Jared Ahmad

In the years since the September 11th 2001 attacks, the al-Qaeda phenomenon has become one of the most written about, yet crucially misunderstood, threats of the 21st century. But despite the sheer volume of literature produced during the 'war on terror' period, few studies have sought to consider the way this entity has been represented within the news media.  The BBC, the War on Terror and the Discursive Construction of Al-Qaeda addresses this significant gap in knowledge by providing an original and much needed assessment of the various strategies used to depict 'al-Qaeda', and thus make it meaningful for British television audiences.

Drawing on the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault, and focusing on Britain's most watched and trusted news programme, the BBC's flagship 'News at Ten' bulletin, the book provides insight into both the visual and verbal nature of these representations and the way they have shifted over the course of a ten-year period, while also shedding light upon the broader political and social consequences of the BBC's portrayals. In doing so, the book not only helps to develop a deeper understanding of the complexity of the BBC's representations, and their various shifts and transformations, but also details the process through which 'al-Qaeda' has been pieced together from a range of cultural parts. And how, ultimately, the dominant mode of representation used to portray this entity is one that closely resembles Britain's own, diverse multicultural 'self'.

Purchase from Blackwell's

Picturing the “Hordes of Hated Barbarians”: Islamic State Propaganda, (Self)Orientalism, and Strategic Self-Othering - Jared Ahmad

In recent years, there has been a proliferation of research into the Islamic State’s (IS) visual communications output. The current article provides a conceptual contribution to this literature by developing an original framework for the analysis of the group’s propaganda. Drawing together postcolonial and political communications scholarship, it shows how IS photopropagandists have sought to mobilise civilisational discourses surrounding the “dangerous Orient” as a core feature of its image operations. More provocatively, the article argues that the group has weaponized the Orientalist image in order to strike fear into the hearts and minds of its enemies.

Using visual discourse analysis, and focusing on images produced within the group’s propaganda alongside their remediation by Western media and political actors, the article develops the concept of strategic self-Othering to show how IS successfully harnesses the discursive power of Orientalism in its messaging, thus feeding into a wider post-truth communications style that prioritises shocking, fear-inducing imagery over notions of truth and reason.

Read in the International Journal of Communication

Public Perception of International Crises: Identity, Ontological Security and Self- Affirmation - Dmitry Chernobrov

This book is the Winner of the 2019 Furniss Book Award for an exceptional contribution to the study of international security.

How do people make sense of distant but disturbing international events? Why are some representations more appealing than others? What do they mean for the perceiver’s own sense of self?

Going beyond conventional analysis of political perception and imagining at the level of accuracy, this book reveals how self-conceptions are unconsciously, but centrally present in our judgments and representations of international crises. Combining international relations and psychosocial studies,

Dmitry Chernobrov shows how the imagining of international politics is shaped by the need for positive and continuous societal self-concepts. The book captures evidence of self-affirming political imagining in how the general public in the West and in Russia understood the Arab uprisings (also known as the Arab Spring) and makes an argument both about and beyond this particular case. The book will appeal to those interested in international crises, political psychology, media and audiences, perception and political imagining, ontological security, identity and emotion, and collective memory.

Purchase from publisher

Breaking the News: 500 years of news in Britain - Jaqueline Harrison and Luke McKernan

Whether tainted by suppression or hailed as a liberator of truth, the news is integral to our daily life. From the earliest news reporting over 500 years ago to today's 24-hour coverage of events in print and online, on television and on social media, the scope of news has altered drastically. Fast-evolving technologies and attitudes have shaped not only how we make news, but how we consume it.

But what makes an event 'news'? Are we justified in our scepticism about shocking images and inflammatory headlines? Or is the news a vital tool, enabling worldwide activism movements such as #BlackLivesMatter and enforcing necessary scrutiny of the ethics of those in power?

Breaking the News asks timely questions about how reporting in Britain has written the narrative for pivotal moments in history. Among them are a grisly seventeenth-century murder, COVID-19 public information campaigns, the NSA leak by Edward Snowden and the news media's treatment of celebrities. Feature biographies also highlight influential news breakers through history, including writer and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano, photojournalist Mohamed Amin and environmental rights activist Greta Thunberg.

Purchase online

Find out more about the Breaking the News exhibition at the British Library

The Civil Power of the News - Jaqueline Harrison

This landmark book is concerned with the civil power of the news. This power can be seen in the ways the news engages with public sentiment through a focus on three invariant civil concerns: identity, legitimacy and risk. The book analyses how news stories engage with these concerns to make civil and anti-civil judgements, which influence public sentiment and determine the boundaries we place and maintain around the society we live in. Through historical and contemporary examples of this boundary shaping and maintenance, The Civil Power of the News presents a bold and original account of the architecture of news, the influence it has on our conceptions of civility, and, ultimately, the power it wields.

Purchase online

Radio Journalism and Women's Empowerment in Niger - Emma Heywood

The significance of radio as a provider of essential news and information in conflict-affected and fragile countries cannot be underestimated nor can its role in contributing to shifts in critical consciousness, changes in behaviour, and raising awareness amongst marginalised groups. This is particularly the case regarding the influence of radio on women's empowerment. In Niger, women suffer from widespread gender inequality with a 75% child marriage rate, low literacy rates, polygamy and gender-based violence. The most important source of information women have is radio.

This article illustrates radio's impact on women's rights and empowerment in the world's poorest country. It draws on extensive fieldwork conducted in 2018–19 (workshops, semi-structured interviews and focus groups) and in-depth content analyses of women-related radio output broadcast by Studio Kalangou, a radio studio in Niger, set up in 2016 by the Swiss-based media development agency, Fondation Hirondelle. The article demonstrates how increasing and developing the targeting of radio programmes to include more women-related themes and improving the content will contribute to empowering women politically, economically and within society.

Read on Taylor and Francis Online

Reaching hard-to-reach communities: using WhatsApp to give conflict-affected audiences a voice - Emma Heywood

This article provides an original and timely contribution to current cutting-edge methodological debates by discussing the ongoing need to ensure communities in zones which are inaccessible through war, conflict or disease still have a voice and are not side-lined. As seen during Covid-19, traditional methods of gaining opinions from these communities, such as face-to-face interviews and focus groups, may be restricted and even impossible.

Instead, remote methods using WhatsApp provide many additional benefits, providing qualitative and quantitative data (not always simultaneously provided by surveys or interviews), and allowing voice and text messages to be used. This article draws out the generic implications for the methodology using the substantive findings of a study conducted in the Sahel in 2019–20. Whilst also providing ‘how to’ discussions on this novel approach, the article critically reflects on the advantages and disadvantages of using WhatsApp as it relates to conducting social research in general.

Read on Taylor and Francis Online


Public Broadcasting and European Law. A Comparative Examination of Public Service Obligations in Six Member States - Irini Katsirea 

This important book examines the challenges posed to public service obligations by European Union media law and policy. An in-depth analysis of the extent to which six countries (France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom) regulate broadcasting for the public interest reveals a range of vulnerability to national political pressures or, alternatively, to the ideology of market sovereignty. The author examines the country of origin principle and the European quota rule of the Television without Frontiers Directive, revealing the influence of European law on the definition and enforcement of programme requirements, and shows how the case law of the European Court of Justice encourages deregulation at the national level without offering adequate safeguards at the supranational level in exchange. She asks the question whether the alleged ‘European audiovisual model’ actually persists—that is, whether broadcasting is still committed to protecting such values as cultural diversity, the safety of minors, the susceptibility of consumers to advertising, media pluralism, and the fight against racial and religious hatred. The book concludes with an evaluation of the impact of the EU state aid regime on the licence fee based financing of public broadcasting.

Purchase from Waterstones

British Media Coverage of the Press Reform Debate: Journalists Reporting Journalism - Binakuromo Ogbebor 

This open access book provides a detailed exploration of the British media coverage of the press reform debate that arose from the News of the World phone hacking scandal and the Leveson Inquiry. Gathering data from a content analysis of 870 news articles, Ogbebor shows how journalists cover debates on media policy and illustrates the impact of their coverage on democracy.

Through this analysis, the book contributes to knowledge of paradigm repair strategies; public sphere; gatekeeping theory; the concept of journalism as an interpretive community; political economy of the press; as well as the neoliberal and social democratic interpretations of press freedom. Providing insight into factors inhibiting and aiding the role of the news media as a democratic public sphere, it will be a valuable resource for the press, media reform activists, members of the public, and academics in the fields of journalism, politics and law. 

Read online

Purchase from Blackwell's

Disinformation in the Global South - Dani Madrid-Morales and Herman Wasserman

In Disinformation in the Global South, media and communications scholars Herman Wasserman and Dani Madrid-Morales deliver a unique and geographically diverse collection of perspectives on the phenomenon of disinformation as it manifests in the Global South. In many parts of the Global South, coordinated political disinformation campaigns, rumour, and propaganda have long been a part of the social fabric, even before disinformation has become an area of scholarship in the Global North. The way disinformation manifests in this region, and responses to it, can therefore be highly instructive for readers around the world. 

Purchase from Wiley

Press coverage of the debate that followed the News of the World phone hacking scandal: the use of sources in journalistic metadiscourse - Binakuromo Ogbebor

This article examines the distribution of sources in journalistic metadiscourse (media coverage of journalism) and the implication of the manner of distribution for democracy. In this study, the way sources were distributed in the media representation of the debate that arose from the News of the World phone hacking scandal and the Leveson Inquiry is taken as representative of how sources are distributed in journalistic metadiscourse.

Read in Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies

From Menstruation to the Menopause: The Female Fertility Cycle in Contemporary Women's Writing in French - Maria Tomlinson

This book examines the representation of the female fertility cycle in contemporary Algerian, Mauritian, and French women’s writing. It focuses on menstruation, childbirth, and the menopause whilst also incorporating experiences such as miscarriage and abortion. This study frames its analysis of contemporary women’s writing by looking back to the pioneering work of the second-wave feminists. Second-wave feminist texts were the first to break the silence on key aspects of female experience which had thus far been largely overlooked or considered taboo.

Second-wave feminist works have been criticised for applying their ‘universal’ theories to all women, regardless of their ethnicity, socio-economic status, or sexuality. This book argues that contemporary women’s writing has continued the challenge against normative perceptions of the body that was originally launched by the second-wave feminists, whilst also taking a more nuanced, contextual and intersectional approach to corporeal experience. The cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approach of this book is informed not only by critics of the second-wave feminist movement but also by sociological studies which consider how women’s bodily experiences are shaped by socio-cultural context.

Read on JSTOR
Purchase from Waterstones

‘Moody and Monstrous Menstruators: the Semiotics of the Menstrual Meme on Social Media’ - Maria Tomlinson

Since 2015, menstruation has become increasingly politicised on social media. This impetus has been driven by activists who strive to destigmatise menstruation and raise awareness of issues such as “period poverty.” As sociological studies demonstrate, menstrual stigma is rooted in ideologies that construct menstruating women as leaking, unhygienic and irrational. Such discourses are indicative of a societal imperative to ensure that menstrual blood remains concealed. By creating memes, social media users are increasing the visibility of menstruation in the public space.

Drawing on concepts from critical menstruation studies and theories about humour and ideology, this article explores the discourses that inform menstrual memes. Using Nvivo, 220 memes posted on Instagram with the hashtag “#periodmemes” were coded and then analysed with MCDA. Although many of these memes perpetuate stigma, a significant number use humour to problematise harmful ideologies. This article argues that, despite appearing trivial, menstrual memes have the potential to normalise menstruation and advance the objectives of menstrual activism.

Read on Taylor and Francis Online

Data for Journalism: Between Transparency and Accountability - Jingrong Tong

Considering the interactions between developments in open data and data journalism, Data for Journalism: Between Transparency and Accountability offers an interdisciplinary account of this complex and uncertain relationship in a context of tightening the control over data and weighing transparency against privacy.

As data has brought both promise and disruptive changes to societies, the relationship between transparency and accountability has become complicated, and data journalism is practised alongside the contradictory needs of opening up and protecting data. In addition to exploring the benefits of data for journalism, this book addresses the uncertain nature of data and the obstacles preventing data from being fluently accessed and properly used for data reporting. Because of these obstacles, it argues individual data journalists play a decisive role in using data for journalism and facilitating the circulation of data. Frictions in data access, newsrooms' resources and cultures and data journalists' skill and data literacy levels determine the degree to which journalism can benefit from data, and these factors potentially exacerbate digital inequalities between newsrooms in different countries and with different resources. As such, the author takes an international perspective, drawing on empirical research and cases from around the world, including countries such as the UK, the US, Germany, Sweden, Australia, India, China and Japan.

Read full book on Perlego

Want to see more publications? Check out our academic staff profiles to browse books and articles by staff member.

See all staff

Two men and a woman sat on a couch.

Our outstanding reputation for journalism

We're ranked as one of the top 5 universities to study journalism in the Guardian and the Complete University Guide - we're also 1st in the Russell Group for learning resources, student voice and learning opportunities according to the National Student Survey. 

Centres of excellence

The University's cross-faculty research centres harness our interdisciplinary expertise to solve the world's most pressing challenges.