School of Social Sciences

Media and Communication


Research in Media and Communication at The University of Western Australia focuses on different approaches to digital communication cultures in everyday, political and professional contexts. 

The contemporary culture of digital communication plays a substantial role in the conditioning and understanding of political, social, economic, health, strategic, population and everyday social relations, particularly from international, regional and global perspectives. 

Research into contemporary digital cultures in the discipline includes examining professional and political communication forms, new understandings of community that emerge with new technologies, and uses of traditional and digital communication forms in professional and social contexts. 

Key Areas of Research

There are three core areas of research to which our discipline’s staff and postgraduates contribute:

1. Digital technologies:  Here, we investigate using a range of methodological and analytical approaches the ways in which new and emerging digital technologies (from the Internet to mobile platforms) provide new ways of ‘doing’ political, social and educational relationalities. Digital media forms continue to revolutionise their own histories and provide new opportunities for understanding media and communications theories, histories and research methods.

2. Communication cultures and sociality:  Many staff and postgraduates in the discipline undertake research on the theoretical aspects of contemporary communication and its relationship with social forms and identity.  Scandal, representation, surveillance, sexuality and gender, political rhetoric and community news are among the media forms and texts addressed.  Here, we use and interrogate the theoretical work of scholars such as Deleuze and Guattari, Habermas, Butler, Foucault, Arendt and Agamben among many others. 

3. Strategic communication and Global Media:  Strategic communication is broadly understood as the planning, framing, targeting and governance of communicaton in a cohesive, integrated manner as a strategic activity for professional organisations—effective, ethical and efficient organisations have sound communications strategies managing both internal and external communication with a focus towards the international and the global.  This area encompasses research into creative industries, governmentality, sustainability, organisational communication and the use of new and emerging technologies in public relations and governance strategies. 

Along with various forms of textual, theoretical and social analysis, these three areas comprise this discipline’s commitment to the interrogation of contemporary professional and political socialities in the context of communication tools, technologies, formations, texts, audiences and communities. 



Staff in Media and Communication demonstrate communications expertise through publication of journal articles, book chapters, conference proceedings and books in a wide array of international sites and broad research areas, often with a focus on theoretical, community and social implications of the topic. 

Recent books published by staff in Media and Communication include Tauel Harper’s Democracy in the Age of New Media: The Politics of the Spectacle; David Savat’s Uncoding the Digital: Technology, Subjectivity and Action in the Control Society ; and Rob Cover’s Queer Youth Suicide, Culture and Identity: Unliveable Lives .

Postgraduate Research

Staff in Media and Communication supervise postgraduate research and PhDs in a broad range of areas.  Current students include those researching the communications implications in the work of cultural theorists, those who study bodies in the context of digital media, students whose research investigates contemporary forms of digital interactivity, and those who explore texts as diverse as television narrative, social networking, news reports on refugees and migrants, and representations of contemporary robotics. 

We welcome interest from prospective domestic and international postgraduates, particularly in areas of staff expertise.  Please see the individual staff pages for more information.  Enquiries, please email the Discipline Chair, Associate Professor Rob Cover.  Enrolment information can be found here.

Our Researchers

Rob Cover

Katarina Damjanov

Helen Fordham

Tauel Harper

Steven Maras 

David Savat

Peter van Onselen