Mr William Merrin
Associate Professor
Media & Communication
Telephone: (01792) 513469
Room: Office - 422
Fourth Floor
Keir Hardie Building
Singleton Campus

William Merrin is a Senior Lecturer in Media Studies in the department of Political and Cultural Studies. His research and teaching focus on media and cultural theory, contemporary developments in digital media and the history and philosophy of technology. He is especially interested in the work of Jean Baudrillard, McLuhan and the Toronto School, contemporary digital theory, developments in digital media and the challenge traditional media studies faces from these developments, and the history and archaeology of digital culture and technologies.

William Merrin is also known as the creator of the concept of 'Media Studies 2.0', developing the blog of the same name in November 2006 to follow developments in digital media and critically reflect upon the state and future of media studies.

In his essay on 'Media Studies 2.0' he argues that media studies is an academic discipline that first emerged in the early-mid 20th century, at the same time as the rise of modern mass media - the modern newspaper industry, cinema, radio and television. Media studies was an academic response to the broadcast-era: it was a historical product and reflection of one historical model of media. The contemporary passage to a post-broadcast era and digital ecology, therefore, requires a transformation of traditional media studies and an upgrading of its broadcast-era concerns, categories and concepts. Merrin concludes that we need to create a media studies for the 21st century reflecting the realities and concerns of the contemporary media era, instead of a backward-looking discipline uninterested in and unable to follow or understand its own student's media experiences and worlds. We need a Media Studies 2.0.

As part of his interest in the history of media and technology William also collects pre-cinema objects and entertainments and modern media forms.

Areas of Expertise

  • digital media
  • digital war
  • media theory
  • media education
  • media history

Publications

  1. Digital War. Oxon: Routledge.
  2. & (Eds.). Trump's Media War. London: Palgrave.
  3. 'President Troll: Trump, 4Chan and Mimetic Warfare'. In Happer, C., Hoskins, . Merrin, W. (eds.) Trump's Media War. London: Palgrave.
  4. Weaponizing Reality. In Happer, C, Hoskins, . Merrin, W. (eds.) Trump's Media War. London: Palgrave.
  5. Fight For the Users!: Media Studies in the 21st Century. Media Education Research Journal (MERJ) 5(2), 59-80.

See more...

Teaching

  • MS-235 Media Law

    This module introduces students to the fundamental principles of the law as it relates to media and communications, as well as giving students an understanding of current law and regulations which relate to the media and communications industries. Broad topic areas will include broadcasting, advertising, copyright, and defamation as well as topical issues such as piracy, social media use, censorship, data protection and virtual property. The module aims to provide students of both media and the law with a good understanding of the area, enabling students to understand the implications for creative production and the responsibilities of media producers.

  • MS-235B Media Law

    This module is only available to joint Honours Law and Media students.

  • MS-310 Dissertation Preparation

    This course introduces the practice of dissertation writing and research approaches for the study of media forms. texts and systems and their contribution to social life. It begins to explore the breadth of media studies through attention to the ways in which media matter. In what ways, and how significant are the media in the formation of individual identities and in the practices of everyday life? In the more public world, to what extent are media key to providing knowledge and enabling the debate necessary to the practices of democracy? The course enables students to build on their own experiences of media as consumers and users. But it also encourages critical attention to how the field of media studies has historically been forged: through argument and contestation between different academic approaches and disciplines.

  • MS-311 Dissertation

    This dissertation enables students to engage in long term, in-depth research on a topic of their choice subject to the approval of the Department.

  • MS-M10 Dissertation

    An innovative practice-based alternative to a Masters dissertation. Students are encouraged to develop projects across more than one area of media practice and to do so with dual supervision that embraces both theory and practice. Work produced should be at a professional level, accompanied by a reflective essay and presentation exploring the contextual, theoretical and practical issues raised by the project.

  • MS-M11 MA Project and Dissertation Preparation

    This core module comprehensively prepares students for their Master¿s project or dissertation, which is an integral part of the requirements for the degree. It incorporates several key themes and issues across the communications, media practice and PR industries. It is a challenging, and stimulating module ¿ both for professional practitioners and those new to communications and media practice. The module encourages students to unite theory and practice in productive ways. It introduces students to a number of important research and project management methods essential for undertaking a successful project or dissertation.

  • MSDM03 The Digital Edge: Contemporary Issues and Trends

    This course explores contemporary developments in the digital ecology and their implications for social behaviour and knowledge, tracing the socio-political and cultural consequences of changes in digital technologies and their use and their impact upon older, broadcast-era media and social and political organization. The course draws heavily upon contemporary case studies, being taught through an active engagement with unfolding events, issues, technologies and news stories.

  • MSJM17 Digital War

    Digital War critically explores the impact of digital technologies upon the military, the media, the global public and on the concept of `warfare¿ itself. This module explores the range of uses of digital technology in contemporary warfare and conflict. It begins with the 1991 Gulf War, which showcased post-Vietnam technological developments and established a new model of close military and media management. It explores how this model was reapplied in Kosovo (1999), Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) and how, with the Web 2.0 revolution, this informational control broke down. New digital technologies now allow anyone to be an informational producer leading to the emergence of a new mode of `participative war¿, as seen in Gaza, Iraq and Syria. The module examines major political events of recent times, such as 9/11, the War on Terror and its aftermath and their digital mediation. It also considers how technological developments such as Wikileaks, unmanned drones and cyberwar have impacted upon global conflict, explores new developments in state and non-state online informational and troll warfare and considers emerging technologies such as soldier-systems, exo-skeletons, robotics and artificial intelligence and their possible future military impact.

  • MSS236 Media Law Extended Project

    This module introduces students to the fundamental principles of the law as it relates to media and communications, as well as giving students an understanding of current law and regulations which relate to the media and communications industries. Broad topic area will include broadcasting, advertising, copyright, and defamation as well as topical issues such as piracy, social media use, censorship, data protection and virtual property. This module will provide LLB Media Law students with the opportunity to explore an area of media law in depth.

Supervision

  • Algorithmic Politics: Political Communication in the Fourth Industrial Age. (current)

    Student name:
    MPhil
    Other supervisor: Dr Leighton Evans
  • A critical exploration of the development, form and effects of corporate digital surveillance upon users and consumers (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Matthew Wall