About

I’m an early career researcher in political communication, and currently an LSE Fellow in Qualitative Research Methodology at the London School of Economics. I’m interested in all things entertainment and politics, particularly questions around representation and engagement.

I completed my PhD in the New Political Communication Unit in 2018. My thesis provides a new theoretical model for explaining how celebrities work across the fields of entertainment and politics. I argue for a renewed focus on the role of representation in this pursuit of political authority, finding across case studies that celebrities intervene in the political field through claims to represent the interests of citizens. The research for this thesis was varied and unpredictable, taking me from marches around London behind (beside?) Russell Brand, through trawling tweets about celebrity endorsements during the 2015 General Election campaign, to talking feminism with citizens on Emma Watson’s online book group. I have broad research interests, but always come back to questions of how politics and popular culture intersect and what this means for citizens.

I’ve been turning my cautionary tales into research methods teaching since 2015, across qualitative and qualitative methods. As a Teaching Fellow at Royal Holloway I enjoyed co-convening a first year UG module which supported students to conduct their own research using interviews, focus groups, and textual methods. Their efforts occasionally put me to shame. I often catch myself talking about research methods outside the classroom because other people have been too polite to stop me, especially digital methods. I was therefore very happy to join the Department of Methodology at LSE in September 2019, where I will be teaching qualitative methods to MSc students, continuing to publish work developed out of my thesis, and chewing my pen while I try to disentangle emerging interests in political entertainment, representation, identity.

You can follow me on Twitter, or email me at e.watts@lse.ac.uk

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