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Dr Neil Washbourne

About Dr Neil Washbourne

Neil's recent research has focused on:

1. the complex and crisis-ridden relationship between media and politics in the contemporary world and published as an Open University Press book Mediating Politics: newspapers, radio, television and internet in 2010 and chapters on political celebrity (Cleggmania) and the UK 2010 television election debates and on Public Relations and Democracy both in 2013;

2. the empirical and theoretical understanding of the emergence and development of celebrity practices from the nineteenth century onwards. This research now focuses on two areas: W G Grace as national, commercial and postcolonial cultural legend; and radio celebrity in the 1930s which foregrounds questions of orality/aurality neglected by the dominant concern with visuality in studies of celebrity. He is also interested in Regis Debray’s Mediology and is planning to write a short introduction to ideas insufficiently taken up in the Anglophone world.

Neil serves on the outer-editorial board of Celebrity Studies. He also is on the editorial boards of Media Education Research Journal and the US journal, Journalism and Mass Communication. He is a member of the Political Studies Association study group on Media and Politics, the Political Marketing Association and the British Sociological Association Media Sociology subgroup. Neil is also a member of the Radio Studies Network and the Media and Cultural Studies subject organisation MeCCSA. Neil supervises students studying: gendered emotional labour in public relations consultancy work; the cultural politics of Country music in the George Bush years; and metacommunicative competence and contemporary performance art. He would welcome research students working on his key expertise in media and politics, radio (past or present, UK or US), celebrity studies (historical or contemporary), or media theory.

Neil reviews widely for research councils, book publishers and journals. He is a regular reviewer for Information, Communication and Society, Celebrity Studies and Media Education Research Journal and book proposals for Polity, Routledge and Continuum / Bloomsbury.

Current Teaching


Level one

  • MCC 106 Radio as a cultural industry

Level two

  • MCC 207 Mediating Politics

Level three

  • MCC 300 Dissertation
  • MCC 306 Mediology
  • MCC 307 Radio Studies


  • MA Media
  • PhD (currently three students  see above)

Research Interests

His research on W G Grace (and Oscar Wilde) has featured in the annual conference of the Social History Society in 2013 and in a fiftieth anniversary conference celebrating the  publication of C L R James’ Beyond a Boundary and James’ interpretation of W G Grace as a world historical figure (the entire conference was put online). He is writing a book– Dead Grace: W G’'s posthumous century on cultural legends of the cricketer W G Grace since his death in 1915 for publication before the anniversary of his death in October 2015. He also has plans for an exhibition connected to galleries and cricket clubs in the UK.

Neil leads the strand on ‘Cultures of Celebrity’ of the Centre for Culture and the Arts at Leeds Beckett University and will run events that connect to contemporary debates on ‘attention capital’ typically with historical contextualisation.

Selected Publications

Books (3)

  • Washbourne N (2010) Mediating Politics: Press, Radio, Television and Internet. . McGraw-Hill International.
  • Sibley D (2007) Cultural Geography: A Critical Dictionary of Key Concepts. . New Delhi: Rawat.
  • Atkinson D; Jackson P; Sibley D; Washbourne N ed. (2005) Cultural Geography: A Critical Dictionary of Key Concepts. . London: I.B.Tauris.

Chapters (10)

  • Washbourne N (2013) Receiving the War of the Worlds «Panic» from Across the Atlantic: British Press and Public Responses in 1938 (and Since). In: Washbourne N War of the Worlds to Social Media: Mediated Communication In Times of Crisis. New York: Peter Lang, pp. .
  • Washbourne N (2013) More Than Cleggmania? The Celebrity Politician, Presidentialisation and the UK 2010 Leadership Debates'. In: Washbourne N Media Talk and Political Elections in Europe and America. London: Palgrave MacMillan, pp. .
  • Washbourne N (2013) Public Relations and Democracy. In: Washbourne N Exploring Public Relations. London: Macmillan, pp. .
  • Washbourne N (2009) The media context of journalism and public relations. In: Washbourne N Exploring Public Relations 2/E. London: Macmillan, pp. 66-85.
  • Washbourne N (2006) The Media Context of Journalism and Public Relations. In: Washbourne N Exploring Public Relations (first edition). : Prentice Hall, pp. 62-77.
  • Atkinson D; Jackson P; Sibley D; Washbourne N (2005) On Cultural and Critical Geographies. In: Atkinson D; Jackson P; Sibley D; Washbourne N Cultural Geography: A Critical Dictionary of Key Concepts. : I.B.Tauris, pp. .
  • Washbourne N (2005) Globalisation and Globality. In: Washbourne N Cultural Geography: A Critical Dictionary of Key Concepts. London: I.B.Tauris, pp. 61-68.
  • Washbourne N (2001) Information Technology and new forms of organising? Translocalism and networks in Friends of the earth. In: Washbourne N Culture and Politics in the Inofrmation Age: A new politics?. London: Routledge, pp. .
  • Washbourne N; Albrow M (1997) Sociology for postmodern organisers - working the Net. In: Washbourne N; Albrow M Do Organizations have Feelings?. London: Routledge, pp. .
  • Albrow M; Eade J; Durrschmidt J; Washbourne N (1997) The impact of globalization on socioligcal conceps: community, culture and milieu. In: Albrow M; Eade J; Durrschmidt J; Washbourne N Living the Global City: Globalization as local process. London: Routledge, pp. .
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