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Jacob Johanssen

Senior Lecturer in Communications

Jacob Johanssen


About Research


Jacob Johanssen's research is influenced by media and communication studies, psychoanalysis, psychosocial studies and critical theory. He researches how individuals are (un)consciously shaped by and in turn shape digital media.

His research interests include audience research, social media, digital labour, psychoanalysis and the media, sexuality and digital media, affect theory, psychosocial studies, critical theory, as well as digital culture. His work has appeared in triple C; the International Journal of Cultural Studies; Information, Communication & Society; Journalism Studies and other journals.

He is the author of the monograph Psychoanalysis and Digital Culture: Audiences, Social Media, and Big Data (Routledge, 2019).

Together with Lara Sheehi and Daniel Gaztambide, he is Co-Editor of the CounterSpace section of the journal Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society. He is Founding Scholar of the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) and also a Trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Association for Psychosocial Studies (APS).

At St Mary’s, Jacob teaches on a range of modules on the BA Communications degree and the Film and Screen Media degree. 

Before joining St. Mary's in 2019 as Senior Lecturer in Communications, Jacob held positions at the University of Westminster (CAMRI) where he was Course Leader for three MA programmes and at the University of East London. He holds a BA in Communication Studies (University of Salzburg), an MA in Media and Communications (Goldsmiths, University of London) and a PhD from the University of East London. He is Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Jacob Johanssen's research is interdisciplinary and aims to connect media and communication studies with psychoanalysis on theoretical and methodological levels. He has published widely on those matters. All publications can be found here.

He is the author of the monograph Psychoanalysis and Digital Culture: Audiences, Social Media, and Big Data (Routledge). Psychoanalysis and Digital Culture offers a comprehensive account of our contemporary media environment—digital culture and audiences in particular—by drawing on psychoanalysis and media studies frameworks. It provides an introduction to the psychoanalytic affect theories of Sigmund Freud and Didier Anzieu and applies them theoretically and methodologically in a number of case studies.

The book argues that digital media fundamentally shape our subjectivities on affective and unconscious levels, and he critically analyses phenomena such as television viewing, Twitter use, affective labour on social media, and data-mining. The book was listed as part of Prof. Brett Kahr's Top 10 Psychotherapy Books of 2018 (Confer). A podcast on the book for New Books in Critical Theory can be found here.

With Dr Diana Garrisi, he was co-investigator on the research project Facial Disfigurement in the UK Media: From Print to Online (2017, funded by the University of Westminster Strategic Research Fund / The Quintin Hogg Trust). Their edited book Disability, Media, and Representations: Other Bodies has recently been published by Routledge.

He is currently working on a number of research projects on the following themes:

  • The alt-right, misogyny, sexuality and social media
  • Artificial intelligence, technology and human subjectivity
  • Psychoanalysis and digital media in Southeast Asia
  • Group analysis, empathies, and social media

Media enquiries

For media enquiries, please contact our Communications and Public Engagement Manager, Sam Yarnold, by emailling or calling 020 8240 8262.