Harrison Smith profile pictureDr Harrison Smith

Lecturer in Digital Media & Society

BA (Hons), MA (Queen’s University, Canada), PhD (University of Toronto)


Telephone: 0114 222 6477 (external), 26477 (internal)

Room: LG28


Harrison joined the department in September 2019 and before that was a research associate at the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape at Newcastle University. Harrison holds a PhD in Information Studies from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information, and an MA and BA (Hons) in Sociology from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

During his PhD, Harrison was a course instructor at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Communication, Culture, and Information Technology where he taught courses in media theory and digital audience research. Harrison also holds a diploma in photojournalism with work experience in several Canadian newspapers.


Harrison’s research broadly examines the political economy of data analytics with a focus on consumer surveillance for marketing applications within smart cities.

His dissertation examined the rise of location-based marketing and theorized its impact on the production of geodemographic knowledge through location data and urban informatics.

He is currently interested in understanding the socio-economic impacts of 5G data infrastructures, and the processes of industry consolidation within data brokerage and analytics markets.

Throughout this, he is interested in understanding how new forms of socio-economic inequality are built into data infrastructures that automate processes of surveillance, classification, and market segmentation in everyday urban life.


Harrison is currently the module leader of SCS2016 – The sociology of the media.

He is interested in supervising students at any level with an interest in:

  • Marketing and consumer culture
  • Smart cities and urban informatics
  • Data analytics industries
  • Mobile and geolocative media
  • Surveillance and privacy
  • Political economy of information
  • Start-ups and digital economies

Smith, H. (2019, forthcoming). The Locative Imaginary: Classification, Context, and Relevance in Location Analytics. The Sociological Review.

Smith, H. (2019). People Based Marketing and the cultural economies of attribution metrics. Journal of Cultural Economy, 12(3), 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1080/17530350.2019.1570538

Crampton, J. W., Hoover, K., Smith, H., & Berbesque, C. (Forthcoming). Smart Festivals? Security and Freedom for Well-Being in Urban Smart Spaces. Annals of the Association of American Geographers.

Smith, H. (2019). Metrics, locations, and lift: mobile location analytics and the production of second-order geodemographics. Information, Communication & Society, 22(8), 1044–1061. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2017.1397726

Shade, L.R, Smith, H. & Hamilton, E. (2017). Geo-spatial Media, Power, and Ownership: Contextualizing Social Media Activism Through the Political Economy of the Geoweb. In B. Zelizer, V. Pickard & G. Yang (Eds.), Media Activism in the Digital Age (pp. 164-182). Routledge: New York.

Smith, H., Burrows, R., Hardey, M., & Hardey, M. (2016). Social Cartography and Knowing Capitalism: Critical Reflections on the Geo-Spatial Web 2.0 and Social Research. In N.G. Fielding, R.M. Lee and G. Black (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Online Research Methods (2nd edition) (pp. 596-611). London: SAGE.

Pero, B., and Smith, H. (2014). In the “Service” of Migrants: The Temporary Resident Biometrics Project and the Economization of Migrant Labor in Canada. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 104(2), 401-411. https://doi.org/10.1080/00045608.2013.875804

Smith, H. (2012). Information as Exclusion: Towards a Critical Understanding of Everyday Life. Proceedings for the 75th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/meet.14504901106