Recent interests in media sociology include:
Climate Change Communication
As a researcher who undertook postgraduate studies in a history and philosophy of science department, David is interested in the divide that exists between the reporting of climate change and climate science. Climate scientists are restrained by the need to be cautious and direct their communication to other scientists, whereas most reporting on climate change in Australia, for example, lack the scientific context for explaining extreme weather events, such as the floods, firestorms and more frequent cyclones seen in recent years.
David is lead author of the book: Holmes D, Garas B, Torok S (forthcoming 2018) Climate and the Media in Australia, London, Anthem Press. David was co-Head of Monash’s UNFCCC Delegation to COP22 in Marrakech in 2016 and has a column for The Conversation: “Changing Climates”. In The Conversation David has written over 90 articles on the role of media and politics in climate change communication. His articles have also appeared in SBS online, Business Spectator (The Australian), Reneweconomy, Independent Australia, and CNN
Recent book chapters include:
Holmes, D (2015) ‘Changing the Climate: Modernity at its Limits’ in Holmes, D., Hughes, K and Julian, R Australian Sociology: A Changing Society, (3nd Edition), Sydney, Pearson,. pp. 381-421
Holmes D and Starr C (2017 forthcoming) ‘Climate Change Communication in Australia: The politics, mainstream media and fossil fuel industry nexus’, in Walter Leal Filho, Ulisses Azeiteiro, Evangelos Manolas, Anabela Mariza Azul (eds) Handbook of Climate Change Communication, Springer
Social Media: Blogging, Microblogging, Social Networking
David is interested in the extraordinary popularity of social media worldwide and the way it has overtaken ‘avatar’ forms of online engagement. People are using social networking to maintain relationships in a way they feel gives them control (whether this is illusory or not) and in ways that they can expand their social circle. At the same time, the rise of social media in particular nations generally correspond to a decline in social capital in the social institutions within those nations. He is therefore interested in the differences between popular social media around the world, including Facebook and Ren Ren, Weibo and Twitter and new forms of collective discussion such as the self-organising social news website Reddit. His key paper in this area is “What is ‘social’ about social media” in Communications and Convergence Review 2011.
David began as a columnist at The Conversation in August 2013 examining the media coverage of the 2013 Federal Election. As co-chair of the media panel, he published a range of articles on the tabloid coverage of the election, the leaders debates, the use of social media, the political economy of the election coverage, the politics of poll publishing, and the coverage of climate change issues.
Urban Media Cultures
David has an ongoing interest in the relationship between media, urban space and climate change.
What is the relationship between the motor car and the mobile phone in providing private cocoons of insularity for their users? How is the shopping mall the ‘television we walk around inside of’? These urban realities are examples of what Raymond Williams calls ‘mobile privatisation’ – the increased personalisation of urban worlds, that at the same time provide the experience of greater freedom and mobility.
David’s ongoing research interest is in a comparative view of the major trends in communications theory, including effects research, the work of media sociologist Jean Baudrillard, ritual theory, contemporary medium theory and convergence theory.
Part of David’s interest in communications theory is looking at the fate of traditional mass media. Are we seeing the end of the audience? If so, why do advertisers still pour most of their budget into broadcast advertising? Is ‘active audience’ theory an apology for advertising? Do online platforms have an audience in the same sense as broadcast?