Dr. Carolina Matos Senior lecturer, researcher and journalist. Research on international communications, journalism, and gender, democracy and development

Rosalind Gill: “We do not want cake, we want the whole bakery!”

Interview with Professor Rosalind Gillb

City, University of London. London, United Kingdom

By Carolina Matosc

City, University of London, Department of Sociology. London, United Kingdom

Professor Rosalind Gill studied Sociology and Psychology at Exeter University and obtained her PhD in Social Psychology at the Discourse and Rhetoric Group (DARG) from Loughborough University in 1991. Brought up in a left-wing household with parents who talked about frequently talked about politics, Gill grew interested in questions about ideology, and particularly the role the media played in winning consent for unjust social relations. Supervised by professor Michael Billig, who did ethnographic work inside the Far Right party, the National Front, Gill has developed research in gender and the media, creative work and contributed widely to debates about the sexualization of culture. She has worked across a number of disciplines, including Sociology, Gender Studies and Media and Communications, and has held various posts, including at Goldsmiths College, King’s College London and at the Gender Institute at the LSE (London School of Economics and Political Science).

Her publications include Aesthetic Labour: Beauty Politics in Neoliberalism (2017, with A. Elias and C. Scharff); “Gender and Creative Labour” (2015, with B. Conor and S. Taylor); Theorizing Cultural Work: Labour, Continuity and Change in the Creative Industries (2013, with M. Banks and S. Taylor); New Femininities: Postfeminism, Neoliberalism and Subjectivity (2011, with C. Scharff); Secrecy and Silence in the Research Process: Feminist Reflections (2009, with R. Ryan-Flood); The gender-technology relation: contemporary theory and research (1995, with K. Grint) and the single authored book, Gender and the media (Gill, 2006), among other book chapters and articles, including “Beyond individualism: the psychosocial life of the neoliberal university” in Spooner et al’s A Critical Guide to Higher Education and the Politics of Evidence (2017) and “Feminist debates about the ‘sexualization of culture’” in Carter et al’s The Routledge Companion to Media and Gender (2014).

Professor Gill is working on a four year AHRC award called Creativeworks London, with Any Pratt (City), Mark Banks (Open University) and Wendy Malem (London College of Fashion), which investigates innovation in London’s cultural and creative sector. She is also part of the core group of a multi-country EU COST Action entitled The Dynamics of Virtual Work, which is concerned with transformations on work brought by digital technologies (<http://dynamicsofvirtualwork.com>). She is currently working on a book called Mediated Intimacy: sex advice in media culture (with Meg Barker and Laura Harvey). Gill joined City, University of London, in August 2013 and works at the Creative and Cultural Industries research cluster at the Department of Sociology.

MATRIZes: On the 8th of March 2017, women gathered together in countries across the world to protest including in Britain, against gender inequalities and in fear that the rights obtained in the past are now under challenge. In your opinion, how has British feminist media studies contributed in looking at the correlation between structural gender inequalities in our societies and the role of the media here?

Rosalind Gill: Feminist media studies emerged out of three different movements. It came from people working within media industries who were angry about the under-representation and poor representations of women – for example as newsreaders, as experts and in terms of restricted roles for actresses. It also developed from feminists within the academy in fields like Sociology, English and Media and Communication studies, who were confronting the male as norm problem. And it also emerged out of the anger that many ordinary women felt about how they were represented in the media – which led to a huge surge of energy and activism. For example, in the 1980s, before I was an academic, I was involved in a feminist grouping called the Women’s Media Action Group and we did our own research about the portrayal of women, and produced zines and campaigning material about this. The International Women’s Day marches continue to express that anger at gender inequality and injustice, and I think it is really striking to note how much feminist activism relates directly or indirectly to media – from Slutwalk, to the Everyday Sexism movement, to campaigns about particular advertising promotions or about lad culture.

MATRIZes: You are a prominent feminist media scholar. How has your academic path developed and what were your main challenges? What attracted you to work on representations of gender and media culture?

Gill: I was a political activist before I was an academic and I was lucky enough to be brought up in a left-wing household where politics and ideas were talked about all the time. I studied Psychology and Sociology at University, then was privileged to get a place to do a Ph.D. with a generous and inspirational supervisor, Professor Michael Billig, who at the time was known to his extraordinary research on British racism and fascism (Billig, 1978). He was interested in how forms of racism were changing in the wake of anti-discrimination laws, and had also undertaken very brave ethnographic work inside the Far Right party the National Front. It was amazing to have the chance to study with him.

The questions that preoccupied me were questions about ideology, and especially the role that the media played in winning consent for profoundly unjust social relations. I continue to believe that the media are a really important area of study for anyone interested in social justice. Professor Stuart Hall has been a really important influence on my thinking about these questions – he is greatly missed and I think his ideas remain touchstones for anyone trying to understand urgent questions such as the rise of right wing populism, misogyny and racism in Europe and the US.

For full interview, go to https://www.revistas.usp.br/matrizes



Dr. Carolina Matos
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Dr. Carolina Matos

Lecturer in Sociology at City, University of London
Carolina Matos is a Lecturer at the Department of Sociology, City University London. She was previously a part-time lecturer at the Government Department at Essex University. Former Fellow in Political Communications at the LSE, Matos obtained her PhD in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths College and has taught and researched in the UK in political communications, media and politics at the University of East London (UEL), St. Mary’s College and Goldsmiths.

Matos is the author of Journalism and political democracy in Brazil (Lexington Books, 2008) and Media and politics in Latin America: globalization, democracy and identity (I.B. Tauris, 2012), which won the Premio Jabuti 2014 prize, first category in communications. She is also Director of the Jeremy Tunstall Global Media Research Centre at the Department of Sociology, City University London, and also teaches on gender and development at the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies (ICPS), a think thank in London.
Dr. Carolina Matos
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