Meet the Expert
Dr Ekaterina (Katia) Balabanova: Senior Lecturer in Political Communication
Katia’s research interests lie at the intersection of international politics and international communication. She has a particular interest in human rights, foreign policy and immigration policy and the way they are discussed, mediated and politicised. Her teaching reflects these interests – she teaches modules on media and war, media and human rights and political communication. Katia is the Director of the MA in Media and Communication, an interdisciplinary programme that offers specialisms in Media and Politics or in Digital Culture and Communication – both pathways allowing collaborations with other departments/schools in the Faculty.
Her latest book The Media and Human Rights: The Cosmopolitan Promise was published in 2014. In it she explored how developments in international relations and communications technology – from the advent of global television news to the internet and social media – have inspired, but then often dashed, hopes for a more widespread acceptance and implementation of human rights. Commenting on her research, Katia said, ‘These are extraordinarily interesting times for those interested in human rights. Many point to the media as weakening public support for liberal values, but alongside being a tool of populist propaganda it can also be an important site of resistance and renewal’.
Many point to the media as weakening public support for liberal values, but alongside being a tool of populist propaganda it can also be an important site of resistance and renewal.
Katia is keen to engage with non-academic partners and recently carried out a Knowledge Exchange project with the UNHCR to evaluate their communications strategies around World Refugee Day (Refugee Week in the UK). This highlighted the challenges in developing a truly global narrative to improve support for refugees, the difficulties in measuring impact of human rights campaigns, and the tensions and trade-offs for those seeking to spread the message and further human rights at the local national and international levels.
Among her current research is a collaboration with Dr Alex Balch (Politics) to examine media coverage of migration and free movement, exploring when and how economic arguments have become displaced by welfare chauvinism in the UK press. This work is set to be further developed and expanded into a book-length comparative study of political debates about the refugee crisis across the East and West of Europe. Or more information, follow @MediaPol on Twitter.