Media Studies research overview
Academic research into media and communications requires attention to the texts, artefacts, technologies and platforms that allow meaning to be made, and also to the consequences for social and cultural life, and political-economic organization, of pervasive media activity and processes of mediatisation. Research at the Centre for Media Studies blends these broad approaches in its engagements with the political, social and expressive significance of digital media; with cinema, media institutions and popular culture in contemporary societies and in historical relief; and with the nature of public discourse and political processes in transnationally networked societies.
Our work combines a strong record of research monographs with interdisciplinary collaborations, involving other departments in Maynooth University, particularly colleagues in English, Sociology, Computer Science, Anthropology and History, and within such international professional associations as the European Communications Research and Education Association (ECREA), the International Association for Media and Communications Research (IAMCR), Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS), Modern Language Association (MLA) International Association for the Study of Irish Literature (IASIL) and the Electronic Literature Association (ELO).
The ubiquity and deep integration of digital media technologies into everyday life - and the range of questions this poses as to the interrelations between media developments and socio-cultural processes and arrangements – is a key theme in our research. Current projects, which draw heavily on Marxist and feminist theory, focus on the political economy of digital media, particularly the ‘consumer Web’ and the organization of labour in digital media industries. This strand also examines the social uses of digital media, and what this means for such analytical approaches as discourse analysis and sociolinguistics. This emphasis on production and social organisation is complemented by the critical analysis of existing and emerging digital culture artefacts, the impact of digital technologies on human creative expression, and the affordances and constraints of the digital medium as they relate to the changing form of poetic expression from analogue to digital.
The history and cultural significance of media and cinematic institutions, practices and artefacts constitutes a rich vein of research in the Centre. Current and recent research projects range across the study of film and media  - primarily television and film but also extending to video, advertisements, and internet channels - in the context of cultural politics and political economy. The central themes are the study of popular and middlebrow culture in Ireland and the historical development of popular cultural forms, including popular press, television, and film; the history of commodity culture in Ireland, including shopping and tourism studies; cinema as a social practice and technological mass culture; and migrant media production and institutional responses to communications in ‘migration societies’.