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Dr Hugh Mackay

Profile summary

Professional biography

I'm an Honorary Associate of the Faculty. Until I retired in August 2014 I was Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Staff Tutor at The Open University in Wales for 23 years. My last role in the Faculty was Head of Faculty Staff (Wales, Ireland & Scotland), where I was responsible for leading on Faculty policy in the Celtic nations. I was heavily involved in University governance for a few years - as a member of the Faculty Executive Group, Promotions & Rewards Group and Academic Staff Management Group; and of Senate, Honorary Degrees Committee, and the Academic Staff Promotions Committee. Prior to the OU, I was Principal Lecturer in Sociology and Head of Communication Studies at what is now the University of South Wales. I'm an Honorary Fellow at Humboldt University, Berlin, where I teach each year and co-convene a multi-disciplinary research group which is exploring Brexit.

Research interests

Research interests

In retirement, I've returned to my roots in political sociology, in a project on elites in Wales, with Graham Day at Bangor University. And as an active travel campaigner, I've been reading research on urban transport, and presented a paper on cycling governance at the Cycling and Society conference.

Before retiring, my research focused empirically on new media technologies, and was generally qualitative or ethnographic. I arrived at new media from an interest in the co-construction of technology and culture, and in particular how users and producers shape technologies.

Living in Cardiff, I've had a particular interest in the Welsh media and Welsh media policy, especially regarding the transformation of the media environment with the growth of digital. I worked to connect my own and other researchers of the media in Wales more closely with the concerns of the Welsh Government and the National Assembly for Wales.

I completed an AHRC-funded Public Policy Fellowship with Marie Gillespie on the implications of interactivity for the organisation and practices at the BBC World Service; and especially, following CRESC’s Social Life of Methods (SLOM) agenda (see below), the issues raised by website and social media monitoring tools – which allow broadcasters to ‘know the audience’ in new and powerful ways. Prior to that I worked with Marie Gillespie on the BBC World Service ‘Tuning In’ project, exploring some of the uses and implications of interactive forums, and have published three papers on these.

I’ve undertaken research on the switch-off of analogue television, reported in the European Journal of Cultural Policy. I was funded by a breadth of media organisations to examine uses of the mass media in ten very different households, which is reported in a monograph published in 2004.

I was involved in the joint OU-Manchester University CRESC Research Centre. Under the auspices of CRESC, I’ve conducted qualitative research on the domestic uses of the Internet, examining how the Internet connects with everyday household life, and how both are transformed as the technology is taken up.

I've supervised five PhD students to successful completion, including Jose Abdelnour Nocera on globalisation and software, and George Woolaghan's cultural history of the pneumatic tyre.



Teaching interests

Until 2014 I was Chair of a Level One 15-point module Contemporary Wales (D172), which introduced the economy, culture, society and politics of Wales. It explored the main features of modern Wales and what’s distinctive about Wales: the first half examined the breadth of differences in Wales; and the second half explores the connections that are forged across these differences. After my retirement I worked as a consultant on Wales and the Welsh (LG001), for which I developed teaching materials on the politics, economy and culture of Wales.

I was Chair of a Level 1 module on Social Science in Action (DXR220), that focused empirically on ‘the information society’; and a Masters module on Transformations in Media Culture (D852). I was a core member of the teams that produced Understanding Media (DA204), Culture, Media & Identities (D318), Introducing the Social Sciences (DD101), and IT & Society (THD204); and I contributed to Sociology and Society (DD201).

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Centre for Citizenship, Identifies and Governance (CCIG)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences
Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences


Information and the transformation of sociology: interactivity and social media monitoring (2013)
Mackay, Hugh
tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique, 11(1) (pp. 117-126)

Interactivity, the global conversation and World Service research: Digital China (2011-05)
Mackay, Hugh and Tong, Jingrong
Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies, 8(1)

Special issue editorial: Designs & devices: towards a genealogy of audience research methods at the BBC World Service, 1932-2011 (2011-05)
Gillespie, Marie; Mackay, Hugh and Webb, Alban
Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies, 8(1)

Designs & devices: towards a genealogy of audience research methods at the BBC World Service, 1932-2011 (2011-05)
Gillespie, Marie; Mackay, Hugh and Webb, Alban
Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies, 8(1) (pp. 1-20)

Mapping digital diasporas @ BBC World Service: users and uses of the Persian and Arabic websites (2010-04)
Andersson, Matilda; Gillespie, Marie and Mackay, Hugh
Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, 3(2) (pp. 256-278)

Analogue switch-off: Multi-channel viewing by 'the reluctant 50%' (2007-02)
Mackay, Hugh
International Journal of Cultural Policy, 13(1) (pp. 33-48)

Reconfiguring the User: using Rapid Application Development (2000)
Mackay, Hugh; Carne, Chris; Beynon-Davies, Paul and Tudhope, Doug
Social Studies of Science, 30(5) (pp. 737-757)

Wales and its Media. Production, Consumption and Regulation (1997)
Mackay, Hugh and Powell, Anthony
Contemporary Wales, 9 (pp. 8-39)

Extending the Social Shaping of Technology Approach: Ideology and Appropriation (1992)
Mackay, Hughie and Gillespie, Gareth
Social Studies of Science, 22(4) (pp. 685-716)

Doing Cultural Studies: the Story of the Sony Walkman (2nd Edition) (2013)
Du Gay, Paul; Hall, Stuart; Janes, Linda; Koed Madsen, Anders; Mackay, Hugh and Negus, Keith
ISBN : 9781849205498 | Publisher : SAGE

Understanding Contemporary Wales (2010)
Mackay, Hugh
ISBN : 978-0-7083-23052 | Publisher : University of Wales Press | Published : Cardiff

Modern Media in the Home: An ethnographic study (2004)
Mackay, Hugh and Ivey, Darren
ISBN : 1 86020 598 4 | Publisher : John Libbey | Published : Rome, Italy

Investigating the Information Society (2002-07-11)
Mackay, Hugh; Maples, Wendy and Reynolds, Paul
ISBN : 415268311 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London, UK

Doing Cultural Studies: the Story of the Sony Walkman (1997)
Du Gay, Paul; Hall, Stuart; Janes, Linda; Mackay, Hugh and Negus, Keith
Publisher : SAGE

Understanding Brexit in Wales: Austerity, Elites and National Identity (2020)
Mackay, Hugh
In: Guderjan, Marius; Mackay, Hugh and Stedman, Gesa eds. Contested Britain. Brexit, Austerity and Agency
ISBN : 9781529205022 | Publisher : Bristol University Press

Discussions on BBC Chinese 'Have Your Say' forums: national identity and international broadcasting in the interactive media era (2012-12-10)
Tong, Jingrong and Mackay, Hugh
In: Gillespie, Marie and Webb, Alban eds. Diasporas and Diplomacy: Cosmopolitan Contact Zones at the BBC World Service (1932-2012). CRESC (pp. 230-247)
ISBN : 978-0-415-50880-3 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Rugby: an introduction to contemporary Wales (2010)
Mackay, Hugh
In: Mackay, Hugh ed. Understanding Contemporary Wales (pp. 1-23)
ISBN : 978-0-7083-2305-2 | Publisher : University of Wales Press | Published : Cardiff

New connections, familiar settings: issues in the ethnographic study of new media use at home (2005-04)
Mackay, Hugh
In: Hine, Christine ed. Virtual Methods: Issues in Social Research on the Internet (pp. 129-140)
ISBN : 1845200853 | Publisher : Berg | Published : Oxford, UK

New media and time-space reconfiguration (2002)
Mackay, Hugh
In: Jordan, Timothy and Pile, Steve eds. Social Change. Sociology and Society (pp. 139-184)
ISBN : 631233121 | Publisher : Blackwell | Published : Oxford, UK

The globalisation of culture (2000)
Mackay, Hugh
In: Held, David ed. A Globalizing World? Culture, economics, politics (pp. 47-84)
Publisher : Routledge

Contested Britain. Brexit, Austerity and Agency (2020)
Guderjan, Marius; Mackay, Hugh and Stedman, Gesa eds.
ISBN : 978-1529205022 | Publisher : Bristol University Press

The Media Reader. Continuity and Transformation (1999)
Mackay, Hugh and O'Sullivan, Tim eds.
Publisher : SAGE

Consumption and Everyday Life (1997)
Mackay, Hugh ed.
Publisher : SAGE

BBC World Service Audience Research, 1932-2011 (2011-05)
Webb, Alban; Gillespie, Marie and Mackay, Hugh
Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies

The Internet and the Transformation of Public and Private (2009-09)
Mackay, Hugh
CRESC (Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change), Manchester.