The International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) has recently announced that Lee McGuigan, a fourth year doctoral student at the Annenberg School, is one of two winners of the 2017 Dallas Smythe Award.
Named for Professor Dallas Smythe, the Smythe Award is given annually for a paper that combines scholarly excellence and a critical, innovative, engaged spirit. Smythe was a founder of the field of political economy of communication, and his scholarship had a significant influence on American and international communication policy.
McGuigan’s paper, “The Productive Capacity of Commercial Television: An Approach for Analyzing Media Systems in Society,” analyzes commercial television in the U.S. as a sociotechnical system oriented around the production of consumers. He suggests that capacity – the maximal limits of industrial output – is a key concept for thinking about media, technology, and society.
The selection committee honored McGuigan’s paper because of its interesting discussion and its reflection of Dallas Smythe’s spirit of critical analysis. The committee consists of Rodrigo Gómez García, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalpa; Peichi Chung, Chinese University of Hong Kong; and Daniel Biltereyst, University of Ghent.
McGuigan’s academic interests include the business and cultural histories of television and advertising, the sociology of markets and consumption, and the political economy of technology. He holds a Master’s degree from the University of Western Ontario, and he is the co-editor of the book The Audience Commodity in a Digital Age: Revisiting a Critical Theory of Commercial Media (Peter Lang, 2014).
He will formally accept the award at IAMCR’s 2017 conference, held July 16-20 in Cartagena, Columbia.