I co-convene the BA Anthropology and Media and I teach the following courses: Media Rituals on the BA Media and Communications, and Branding 1 on the MA Brands, Communication and Culture.
I am interested in the relationship between the media and citizenship and the mediated means by which individuals and social groups are either marginalised or validated. My research thus spans key questions of our time – from the growth of racism to the huge rise of promotional content and the growth of celebrity culture in online and offline media.
I am interested in the roles that different forms of promotional media play, both in the media itself and in wider society and culture, and I ask critical questions about the impact of the ubiquity and dominance of promotional material on public life. My research has recently focused on the expanding role of celebrity in shaping media content and underpinning media industries, and it provides a political economy of celebrity across media and cultural industries. The research has identified key moments when celebrity content and celebrity-based marketing and promotional strategies become central planks in the business models of media and entertainment organisations - usually during times of increased commercialisation and competition compounded by the challenges thrown up by new media technology. I am also concerned with questions of exploitation in the media, and the way that inclusive rhetoric around celebrity meritocracy masks deep inequalities in access to, and representation within, the media. I am currently working on a project on Advertising and Celebrity which explores the current growth of advertising and promotions – particularly online – and which examines the convergence of promotional industries and practices, as they adopt the more intangible aspects of celebrity culture in which aesthetic and marketing concerns are collapsed.
I am also co-authoring a book on anti-Muslim racism with Dr Gholam Khiabany entitled Footprints of Empire. This book examines the contemporary rise of anti-Muslim racism across Europe and North America and its central role in the onward march of authoritarian politics and state formations. It explores the links between new racial politics and broader national and international contexts, including the War on Terror, variations of states of emergency, the hyper-visibility and growth of support for far right political parties, the growing refugee crisis and domestic political and economic crises.
Areas of Supervision
I am interested in supervising projects on celebrity and promotions; celebrity and gender; celebrity and digital culture; political economy and/or historical approaches to advertising, promotions and celebrity; race gender and anti-Muslim racism.
Screening the undead: Vampires and zombies in film and television
Hunt, Leon; Lockyer, Sharon and Williamson, Milly, eds. 2014. Screening the undead: Vampires and zombies in film and television. London: I B Tauris. ISBN 1848859244
Celebrity culture and exploitation: the case of reality TV
Williamson, Milly. 2017. Celebrity culture and exploitation: the case of reality TV. In: M Wayne and D O'Neill, eds. Considering Class: theory, culture and the media in the 21st century. New York: Brill and Haymarket Press. ISBN 9004319514
Rich TV. Poor TV: Work, Leisure and the Construction of "Deserved Inequality" in Contemporary Britain.
Wiliamson, Milly and Littler, Jo. 2017. Rich TV. Poor TV: Work, Leisure and the Construction of "Deserved Inequality" in Contemporary Britain. In: June Deery and Andrea Press, eds. Media and Class: TV, Film, and Digital Culture. New York and London: Routledge, pp. 146-161. ISBN 9781315387970
Free speech and the market state: Race, media and democracy in new liberal times
Williamson, Milly and Khiabany, Gholam. 2015. Free speech and the market state: Race, media and democracy in new liberal times. European Journal of Communication, 30(5), pp. 571-586.
The British Media, the Veil and the Limits of Freedom
Williamson, Milly. 2014. The British Media, the Veil and the Limits of Freedom. Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, 7(1), pp. 64-81. ISSN 1873-9857