David Gauntlett (born 15 March 1971) is a British sociologist and media theorist. His earlier work concerned contemporary media audiences, and has moved towards a focus on the everyday making and sharing of digital media and social media, and the role of such media in self-identity and self-expression.
Gauntlett graduated from the University of York in Sociology in 1992. He completed a MA in Women's Studies at Lancaster University then took his PhD and then taught at the University of Leeds from 1993 to 2002, then was appointed Professor of Media and Audiences at Bournemouth University. In 2006 he joined the School of Media, Arts and Design at University of Westminster as Professor of Media and Communications.
He is Co-Director of the Communications and Media Research Institute (CAMRI), ranked no. 4 for media and communications research in the Research Excellence Framework, which assesses the quality of research in all UK universities, in 2014. It was ranked no. 1 in the previous Research Assessment Exercise, in 2008.
Gauntlett's critique of media 'effects' studies sparked controversy in 1995, and since then he has published a number of books and research on the role of popular media in people's lives. In particular he has focused on the way in which digital media is changing the experience of media in general.
In the 2008 book, Reading Media Theory, Barlow & Mills state: "David Gauntlett is a prominent, public academic, who has spent his career engaging in research activities which have deliberately involved the public, and have crossed the traditional divide between the academic community and the outside world."
New creative research methods
This approach asks participants to make something as part of the research process. Gauntlett's work of this kind began with Video Critical (1997), in which children were asked to make videos about the environment, and then in a number of projects which are discussed in Creative Explorations (2007). As well as studies in which participants have been invited to make video, diaries, collage, and drawings, Gauntlett has explored the use of Lego Serious Play as a tool in sociology and social research. This approach makes use of metaphor and invites participants to build metaphorical models of their identities. The process of making something, and then reflecting upon it, is claimed to give a more nuanced insight into participants' feelings or experiences.
Media Studies 2.0
In 2007, Gauntlett published online the article Media Studies 2.0, which created some discussion amongst media studies educators. The article argues that the traditional form of media studies teaching and research fails to recognise the changing media landscape in which the categories of 'audiences' and 'producers' blur together, and in which new research methods and approaches are needed. Andy Ruddock has written that Gauntlett's "ironic polemic" includes "much to value", and acknowledges that the argument "is more strategy than creed", but argues that audiences still exist, and experience mass media specifically as audience, and so it would be premature to dispose of the notion of 'audience' altogether. In other areas there has been less acceptance; Andy Medhurst at Sussex University wrote of Media Studies 2.0, 'Isn't it odd that whenever someone purportedly identifies a new paradigm, they see themselves as already a leading practitioner of it?'
Making is Connecting
In 2008 Gauntlett proposed 'the Make and Connect Agenda', an attempt to rethink audience studies in the context of media users as producers as well as consumers of media material. This argues that there is a shift from a 'sit-back-and-be-told culture' to a 'making-and-doing culture', and that harnessing creativity in both Web 2.0 and in other everyday creative activities will play a role in tackling environmental problems.
These ideas are developed further in 'Making is Connecting: The social meaning of creativity, from DIY and knitting to YouTube and Web 2.0' (Polity, 2011).
- "Recent Publications". Grapevine. Alumni Office, University of York (Autumn/Winter 1997): 23.
- David Gauntlett (1995), Moving Experiences: Understanding Television's Influences and Effects, London: John Libbey
- David Gauntlett (2005), Moving Experiences, second edition: Media Effects and Beyond, London: John Libbey
- Will Woodward (1999), 'Viewers admit their guilt at watching too much TV', The Guardian newspaper, Friday 30 April 1999
- David Gauntlett and Annette Hill (1999), TV Living: Television, Culture and Everyday Life, London: Routledge
- Charlie Peverett (2002), Review of 'Media, Gender and Identity', HERO: The official online gateway to Higher Education, 2002
- David Gauntlett (2002, second edition 2008), Media, Gender and Identity, London: Routledge
- AHRC Case Studies: Young People's Engagement with Online Immersive Worlds, Arts and Humanities Research Council, May 2008
- Dan Sabbagh (2008), 'Viewers Boys and girls stay in to play on BBC's virtual island Adventure Rock', The Times newspaper, 22 May 2008
- Julian McDougall (2007), 'Creative Transformations: What to do with "Media 2.0"?', In The Picture – The Media Education Magazine, Issue 58, November 2007
- David Gauntlett (2000), 'A double dose of digital drivel', The Times Higher Educational Supplement, 22 September 2000
- David Gauntlett, ed (2000), Web.Studies: Rewiring Media Studies For The Digital Age, London: Arnold
- David Gauntlett and Ross Horsley, eds (2004), Web.Studies: Second edition, London: Arnold
- Times Higher Education (1999), 'Fou.cault.uk', 19 March 1999
- David M. Barlow and Brett Mills (2008), Reading Media Theory: Thinkers, Approaches, Contexts, London: Pearson Education, p.422.
- Times Higher Educational Supplement, Awards Shortlist, September 2007.
- University of Oslo (2007), Creative Production, Self-expression and Identity, Intermedia, University of Oslo
- David Gauntlett (1997), Video Critical: Children, The Environment and Media Power, London: John Libbey
- David Gauntlett (2007), Creative Explorations: New approaches to identities and audiences, London: Routledge
- Anthea Lipsett (2005), 'Lego and professor click over research', The Times Higher Educational Supplement, 8 April 2005
- Representing Identities, part one (2008), video about creative methods research, on YouTube
- Arts and Humanities Research Council, list of research awards
- Times Higher Education (2008), 'Grant winners', 7 February 2008
- British Film Institute, Media Studies Conference 2007, 4–6 July 2007
- Transforming Audiences International Conference, 6–7 September 2007
- Andy Ruddock (2008), 'Media Studies 2.0? Binge Drinking and Why Audiences Still Matter', Sociology Compass, Volume 2 Issue 1 Page 1-15, January 2008.
- 'Towards a Brave New World? The Media Studies 2.0 Debate', presentation by Geoff Lealand, University of Waikato, at AMES conference, May 2007
- Blog/forum about Media Studies 2.0 by William Merrin
- 'Micromedia: The Power of Many Ones' by Ravindra Mohabeer
- David Gauntlett (2008), 'The Make and Connect Agenda', online at http://www.theory.org.uk/david/makeandconnect.htm.
- David Gauntlett (2009), 'Making is Connecting', extracts etc online at http://www.makingisconnecting.org.