Centre for Research in Communication and Culture

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Professor John Downey MA (Cantab) PhD (Cantab)

Photo of Professor John Downey

Director, Centre for Research in Communication and Culture

John read Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge University. He was a Senior Scholar at Gonville and Caius College and was the Graythorne Scholar and Beaumont Scholar at Jesus College. His PhD was about the Frankfurt School and John was a post-doc at the Graduate College for Communication Sciences at Siegen University in Germany. John came to the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough in 2000. He was a Visiting Professor of Sociology at Williams College, Massachusetts in 2007 and is currently a Visiting Professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. John seeks to apply the work of the Frankfurt School to the study of media and communication. As well as receiving funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, the European Commission, and the British Academy for his research, he has engaged in work for the BBC Board of Governors, the BBC Trust, the Office of Communication, the Electoral Commission, the Commission for Racial Equality, and the Guardian newspaper. He is a member of the ESRC Peer Review College and also reviews for the European Commission, the Canadian Social Science Research Council, the Austrian Social Science Research Council, the Irish Research Council and the Volkswagen Stiftung. John is Director of the Centre for Research in Communication and Culture at Loughborough. He is Site Director of the ESRC Midlands Graduate School Doctoral Training Partnership. He serves on the Executive Board of the UK’s Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA) and is Vice-President of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA).

John’s research specialism is comparative media: the comparison of media institutions and content across time and space. In 2006 he led a project for the BBC’s Governors analysing the BBC’s coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2012 he worked on a project for the BBC Trust examining the BBC’s coverage of the Arab Spring. His work seeks to develop the field of comparative media theoretically, methodologically and empirically. With Thomas Koenig he introduced the use of computer-aided analysis to large n frame analysis. With James Stanyer he introduced the use of fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis to the study of media. He also writes more broadly on digital media, political communication, and the development of the field of communication and media.

John teaches primarily about new media at undergraduate and postgraduate level. He has supervised eight doctoral students to completion and is currently supervising four more. He is able to supervise students in the fields of digital media and comparative media.

  • Birks, J & Downey, J. (2015) ‘Pay Your Tax! How tax avoidance became a prominent issue in the UK public sphere’ in Jackson, D. & Media at the Margins, Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  • Downey, J. (2014) ‘The Public Sphere in Flux’ in Media, Culture and Society 36(3) pp367-379.
  • Downey, J., Titley, G. and Toynbee, J. (2014) ‘Ideology Critique: the Challenge for Media Studies’ in Media, Culture and Society 36(6) pp878-887.
  • Downey, J. and Neyazi, T. (2014) ‘Complementary and competitive logics of mediatisation in India’ in International Journal of Press/Politics October 19 pp476-495.
  • Downey, J. & Stanyer, J. (2014) 'Using fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis in comparative political communication research: applying fuzzy set theoretic thinking in small and medium-N case oriented research' in Canel, M J. & Voltmer, K. (eds.). Political Communication in Comparative Perspective, Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  • Downey, J. and Toynbee, J. (2016) ‘Ideology: Towards Renewal of a Critical Concept’ in Media, Culture and Society 38(8) pp1261-1271
  • Downey, J. (forthcoming) ‘For Public Communication: Promises and Perils of Public Engagement’ in Javnost
  • Keightley, E. and Downey, J. (forthcoming) ‘The Intermediate Time of News Consumption’ in Journalism
  • Mihelj, S. and Downey, J. (2015) ‘Response to comments: Complex causality and the value of quantitative indicators in comparative media research’ in Southeastern Europe 39 113-122.