Professor Aeron Davis

His research merges elements of political communications, economic sociology, cultural economy and financialization.

Staff details

Professor Aeron Davis


Emeritus Professor


Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


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Professor Aeron Davis has studied and worked in departments of Media and Communication, Politics, History, and Sociology. His research and teaching merges elements of each of these disciplines, and includes: sociology of elites and power, political communication, media sociology and journalism, promotional culture and cultural intermediaries, economic sociology and financialization.

He has conducted research at Westminster, Whitehall, the London Stock Exchange, across business and financial networks, amongst the major political parties and the trade union movement. Along the way, he has interviewed over 350 high-profile individuals working in these sectors. He has published two edited collections, over 50 other journal articles, book chapters and reports, and six books: Public Relations Democracy (MUP, 2002), The Mediation of Power (Routledge, 2007), Political Communication and Social Theory (Routledge, 2010), Promotional Cultures (Polity, 2013), Reckless Opportunists (MUP, 2018) and Political Communication: A New Introduction for Crisis Times (Polity, 2019).

In addition, Professor Davis is Co-Director of Goldsmiths Political Economy Research Centre, as well as being a member of the Centre for the Study of Global Media & Democracy, the Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre and the Media Reform Coalition. He also writes occasional pieces of journalism, think-tank and policy pieces.

Aeron Davis' Book Covers


Professor Davis teaches the following modules: The Structure of Contemporary Political Communications, and Campaign Skills.

Areas of supervision

Professor Davis has supervised students in the areas previously listed. Recent and current supervisees include:

  • Mary Braid – Changing News and Political Discourses on Adoption
  • Rod Driver - Think Tanks and Banking Regulation
  • Bong-Hyun Lee - Globalisation, Economic Power and Media in Korea
  • Jack Mosse - Economic Imaginaries, Perfomativity and Material Culture
  • Jón Gunnar Ólafsson – Digital Mediatization and Media-Source Relations in Iceland
  • Catherine Walsh - Financialisation, the UK State and Budget Rhetoric

Publications and research outputs


Davis, Aeron; Fenton, Natalie; Freedman, Des (D. J.) and Khiabany, Gholam. 2020. Media, Democracy and Social Change: Re-imagining Political Communications. London: SAGE Publications. ISBN 9781526456960

Davis, Aeron. 2019. Political Communication: A New Introduction for Crisis Times. Cambridge: Polity Press. ISBN 9781509529001

Davis, Aeron. 2018. Reckless Opportunists: Elites at the End of the Establishment. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 9781526127280

Edited Book

Davis, Aeron, ed. 2017. The Death of Public Knowledge? How Free Markets Destroy the General Intellect. London: Goldsmiths Press. ISBN 978-1-906897-39-0

Edited Journal

Davis, Aeron and Williams, Karel, eds. 2017. Elites and Power After Financialization, Theory, Culture & Society, 34(5-6). 0263-2764

Book Section

Davis, Aeron. 2019. The Election Where Fourth Estate Journalism Moved Closer to Extinction. In: Daniel Jackson; Einar Thorsen; Darren Lilleker and Nathalie Weidhase, eds. UK Election Analysis 2019: Media, Voters and the Campaign. Poole: Centre for Comparative Politics and Media Research, Bournemouth University, p. 22. ISBN 9781910042243

Davis, Aeron and Cuonz, Daniel. 2018. Forget Neoliberalism: Its Financialization, Stupid! In: Daniel Cuonz; Scott Loren and Jörg Mettlemann, eds. Screening Economies: Money Matters and the Ethics of Representation. Bielefeld, Germany: transcript Verlag, pp. 175-186. ISBN 9783837645279

Davis, Aeron. 2017. Moving Beyond the Single Mediated Arena Model: Media Uses and Influences Across Three Arena’s. In: Peter van Aelst and Stefaan Walgrave, eds. How Political Actors Use the Media. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 167-186. ISBN 978-3-319-60248-6


Davis, Aeron. 2019. Top CEOs, Financialization and the Creation of the Super-Rich Economy’. Cultural Politics, 15(1), pp. 88-104. ISSN 1743-2197

Davis, Aeron. 2018. Defining Speculative Value in the Age of Financialized Capitalism. The Sociological Review, 66(1), pp. 3-19. ISSN 0038-0261

Davis, Aeron. 2017. The New Professional Econocracy and the Maintenance of Elite Power. Political Studies, 65(3), pp. 594-610. ISSN 0032-3217

Conference or Workshop Item

Davis, Aeron. 2014. 'When Online Political Networks meet Off-Line Actually Existing Democracies'. In: Auckland University of Technology. Auckland, New Zealand.

Davis, Aeron. 2014. 'Elite Economics: Imaginaries, Discursive Practices and Mundane Technicalities'. In: CRESC Annual Conference. Manchester University, United Kingdom.

Davis, Aeron and Walsh, Catherine. 2014. 'Intra-State New Institutionalism and the Financialization of the UK Economy'. In: Elites in Our Time Conference. Goldsmiths/CRESC at Goldsmiths, United Kingdom.


Davis, Aeron. 2000. Public relations, political communications and national news production in Britain 1979-1999. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London

Research Interests

Professor Davis’ research has covered several areas. One of these is public relations and the interaction of PR with news journalism. His earliest studies were of corporate and trade union public relations. He was interested in questions of how PR affected news outputs and also in comparing how different organisational sectors in society interacted with news media. This resulted in his first book, Public Relations Democracy (2002, MUP), and several articles in media and journalism journals. He has returned periodically to the topic, extended this work to look at the promotional professions more generally, including PR, advertising, marketing and branding. As well as teaching in these areas, he has also published a wide-ranging study, Promotional Cultures (2013, Polity).

A second ongoing area of research for Professor Davis is political communication, broadly defined. His earlier work looked at trade union and interest group campaigning. But, he has also regularly looked at politicians, political parties, civil servants and political journalists. Much of this research was published in two books, The Mediation of Power (2007, Routledge) and Political Communication and Social Theory (2010, Routledge). The second of these was based on 100 interviews with politicians, officials and journalists. Findings were also published in journals of media, journalism, and politics. His most recent book, Political Communication: A New Introduction for Crisis Times (Polity, 2019), engages with the dramatic shifts in democratic political and media systems since 2016.

A third continuing area of interest cuts across economic sociology, cultural economy and financialization. His first research on public relations looked at financial public relations and media, as well as communications more generally in the City. Later, he returned to interview fund managers and analysts operating around the London Stock Exchange. He was particularly interested in the boom and bust of 2000, with obvious implications for what happened in the 2007-08 financial crash. Since then, he has interviewed former civil servants and ministers in the Treasury and former DTI about economic policy and the financial sector, as well as large company CEOs about their communication, social relations and decision-making. Findings have been published in each of the above books as well as in journals of media, politics and sociology. Since 2014, Professor Davis has been Co-Director of the Goldsmiths Political Economy Research Centre (PERC) with Will Davies, which seeks to explore alternative approaches to mainstream neoclassical economics. He is currently writing a book for MUP focusing on the UK Treasury and the evolution of economic policymaking since 1976.

In most of this research, there have been several linking strands. Most obvious is a continuing focus on elites, their social worlds and networks. In various ways, he wishes to explore the communications, behaviours, cognitions, cultures, discourses and organisational elements of elites and centres of power, and the implications for wider society. His interview findings are combined with larger political and economic data. This has all been put together in the book Reckless Opportunists: Elites at the End of the Establishment (MUP, 2018). He also published a co-edited (with Karel Williams of CRESC) special journal edition for Theory, Culture and Society, on Elites and Power After Financialization.

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