Professor James Curran

James’ work falls into two linked areas: media history and media political economy.

Staff details

Professor James Curran


Professor of Communications


Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


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James Curran has written or edited over 20 books about the media, some in collaboration with others. He began as a media historian, and his first book (with Jean Seaton) is Power Without Responsibility. Its eighth edition won the 2019 International Communication Association Fellows ‘classic book’ Award, being commended for setting ‘the gold standard in media history’ and shaping ‘the landscape of both scholarship and public deliberation’. James Curran still researches in media history - his most recent publication in this area being the co-authored Culture Wars (second edition, 2019).

However, his research interests broadened to include the study of contemporary journalism. This gave rise to Media and Power (translated into five languages) and Media and Democracy (translated into Arabic, Korean and Hungarian). In 2011, he was the first winner of the Edwin C. Baker Award for his work on media, markets and democracy bestowed by the Philosophy of Communication, Law and Policy Divisions of the International Communication Association. He has initiated or taken part in four comparative studies of journalism, funded by the ESRC and other research organisations.   

The study of journalism led James Curran to investigate the internet. He is the Co-Director of the Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre, supported by a £1.25 million grant, and the joint author of Misunderstanding the Internet, (translated into Chinese and Korean) whose second edition appeared in 2016.

James Curran taught on Britain’s first media studies degree, was the founding head of Goldsmiths’ Media, Communications and Cultural Studies Department, and became in 1989 the first Professor of Communications at the University of London. He has sought to advance the critical tradition in media studies through joint edited books, such as De-Westernising Media Studies and Media and Society, whose 6th edition appeared in 2019.

Whilst at Goldsmiths, he has been a Visiting Professor at the Universities of California, Oslo, Pennsylvania, Stanford, and Stockholm. He is a Fellow of the International Communications Association. 

In addition to supervising BA, MA and PhD dissertations, James Curran teaches the Media, History and Politics and the Political Economy of the Media courses. He has been the first supervisor of over twenty PhD theses. He welcomes PhD applicants in three areas – media history, political communication or journalism studies.

Publications and research outputs


Curran, James P. and Seaton, Jean. 2018. Power Without Responsibility: Press, Broadcasting and the Internet in Britain. 8th Edition. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9780415710428

Curran, James P.; Gaber, Ivor and Petley, Julian. 2018. Culture Wars:The Media and the British Left. 2nd Edition. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9781138223035

Curran, James P.; Fenton, Natalie and Freedman, Des (D. J.) . 2017. Misunderstanding the Internet, 2nd edition (in Korean). Seoul, South Korea: Culturelook. ISBN 97-11-85521-06-0-94300

Edited Book

Curran, James P. and Hesmondhalgh, David, eds. 2019. Media and Society, 6th Edition. London: Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 9781501340734

Curran, James P. and Aalberg, Toril, eds. 2013. How Media Inform Democracy: A Comparative Approach. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0415740425

Curran, James P., ed. 2010. Mass Media and Society, Fifth Edition. London: Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 978-0340984451

Book Section

Curran, James P.. 2019. 'Democratic functions of Entertainment'. In: James P. Curran and David Hesmondhalgh, eds. Media and Society, 6th Edition. London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 281-301. ISBN 9781501340734

Curran, James P.. 2018. Stuart Hall Redux: His Early Work, 1964-84. In: Julian F. Henriques; David G. Morley and Vana Goblot, eds. Stuart Hall: Conversations, Projects and Legacies. London: Goldsmiths Press, pp. 38-46. ISBN 9781906897475

Curran, James P.; Tiffen, Rod and Cohen, S.. 2017. Virtuous Circles: News Consumption, Political Knowledge and Political Efficacy. In: Bridget Griffen-Foley and Sean Scalmer, eds. Public Opinion, Campaign Politics and Media Audiences. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, pp. 208-242. ISBN 9780522869606


Curran, James P.; Esser, Frank; Hallin, Daniel C; Hayashi, Kaori and Chin-Chuan, Lee. 2017. International News and Global Integration: A Five-Nation Reappraisal. Journalism Studies, 18(2), pp. 118-134. ISSN 1461-670X

Yang, J.; Rojas, H.; Wojcieszak, M.; Aalberg, T; Coen, S.; Curran, James P.; Iyengar, S; Hayashi, K.; Jones, P.K.; Mazzoleni, G.; Papathanassopoulos, S.; Rhee, J.W.; Rowe, D; Soroka, S. and Tiffen,, R.. 2016. Why are “others” so polarized? Perceived political polarization and media use in 10 countries. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 21(5), pp. 349-367.

Curran, James P.. 2016. Entertaining Democracy in the Era of Neo-Liberalism. Brazilian Journalism Research, 12(2), pp. 12-29. ISSN 1808-4079

Conference or Workshop Item

Curran, James P.; Coen, Sharon; Soroka, Stuart; Aalberg, Toril; Hayashi, Kaori; Hichy, Zira; Iyengar, Shanto; Jones, Paul; Krishnatray, Pradeep; Mazzoleni, Gianpietro; Maeda, Yukio; Papathanassopoulos, Stylianos; Woong Rhee, June; Rojas, Hernando; Rowe, David and Tiffen, Rod. 2013. 'Media System, Public Knowledge and Political Engagement: An 11-Nation Study'. In: Media system, public knowledge and political engagement : an 11-nation study. London, United Kingdom.