Professor Sean Nixon

Department of Sociology
Professor Sean Nixon
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 872646

  • Location

    6.349, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    Academic support hours are by appointment. Please email to arrange a meeting.



Coordinator, MA Advertising, Marketing and the Media In 2022 Sean published a new monograph Passions for Birds: Science, Sentiment and Sport (McGill-Queen's University Press). It is an interdisciplinary study drawing upon environmental and cultural history, animal geography and sociology. It explores the shifting relations with wild birds within Britain and the wider Atlantic world from the first decades of the twentieth century to the late 1970s. It seeks to bring together the practices of bird conservation and bird-centred field sports to explore the interplay of different passions for birds and competing configuration of human/avian relations. His previous research has focused on the history of advertising and commercial culture. This includes his third monograph, Hard Sell: Advertising, Affluence and Trans-Atlantic Relations circa 1951-69, which was published by Manchester University Press in May 2013. Hard Sell explores how American ideas and practices changed British advertising in the 1950s and 60s. In doing so, it tells the story of advertising in this period as part of a trans-Atlantic history of commercial change. Out of this emerged distinctive British styles of advertising, especially on the new medium of television. Through detailed studies of advertising, the practices of advertising agencies and the public debates that shaped their reception, including responses from ordinary viewers, the popular press, cultural critics and parliamentary committees, Hard Sell offers a major new analysis of advertising in the decades of post-war affluence and the industry's influence upon social changes associated with growing prosperity. May 2013 saw the publication of a second edition of the collection Representation: Cultural Representation and Signifying Practices, co-edited with Stuart Hall and Jessica Evans. Sean's current teaching is focused around the BA (Hons) Media Culture Society for which he teaches the third year compulsory course SC364 Mass Media And Modern Life. He also co-teaches SC 209 Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change with Dr. Katy Wheeler. The remainder of his teaching falls within the MA Advertising, Marketing and the Media and includes the core module SC 519 Advertising: Commerce & creativity He has also acted as an academic consultant on the Open University's third level undergraduate course D318 Culture, Media and Identities and authored two chapters in the subsequent course publications. These were published as 'Exhibiting Masculinity', in Stuart Hall (ed.) Representation, cultural representation and signifying practices (Sage, 1997) and 'Circulating Culture', in Paul du Gay (ed.) Production of Culture/Cultures of Production (Sage, 1997). Both books have been translated into a number of languages. Sean was a Governor of the History of Advertising Trust from 2010-14.


  • BSc (Hons) (CNAA)

  • PhD (Open)


University of Essex

  • Member of the Core Advisory Group of the Centre for Environment & Society, University of Essex (10/2023 - present)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Consumption and Commercial Cultures

Open to supervise

Advertising and Market Devices

Open to supervise

Cultural Studies

Open to supervise

Television and the Natural World

Open to supervise

Cultures of nature and human-animal relations

Key words: Animal Studies
Open to supervise

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change (SC209)

  • Mass Media and Modern Life (SC364)

  • Digital Economy (SC508)

  • Advertising: Commerce and Creativity (SC519)

Previous supervision

Parvaneh Astinfeshan
Parvaneh Astinfeshan
Thesis title: The Impact of Migration on Marital Relationships (Gender Roles, Marital Power, Sexual and Intimate Relations) Among Iranian Couples in London.
Degree subject: Sociology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 7/2/2024
Kelly-Marie Taylor
Kelly-Marie Taylor
Thesis title: Children’S Digital Landscapes: Risk, Resilience, and Agentic Participation.
Degree subject: Sociology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 21/10/2022
Fatma Dogan Akkaya
Fatma Dogan Akkaya
Thesis title: The Culture of the Muslim Diaspora and (Un)Changing Identities: Tuskish-Sunni Ethnicity in London
Degree subject: Sociology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 12/10/2020
Richard Andrew Davis
Richard Andrew Davis
Thesis title: Home Is Where the Wifi Connects Automatically: The Everyday Practice of Internet Use
Degree subject: Sociology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 25/6/2015
Ayse Deniz Unan
Ayse Deniz Unan
Thesis title: Hate Crime in Turkey: Exploring the Implications of Collective Action, Media Representations and Policy Making
Degree subject: Sociology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 16/2/2015
Kumru Berfin Emre
Kumru Berfin Emre
Thesis title: Nationalism and Masculinity in Turkish Television: The Case of Valley of the Wolves
Degree subject: Sociology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 3/4/2013


Journal articles (16)

Nixon, S., (2023). Japan’s Empire of Birds: Aristocrats, Anglo-Americans, and Transwar Ornithology Japan’s Empire of Birds: Aristocrats, Anglo-Americans, and Transwar Ornithology , by Annika A. Culver, London, New York, Oxford, New Delhi, Sydney, Bloomsbury Academic, 2022, 313 pp., £85 (hardback), ISBN 9781350184930.. Cultural and Social History. 20 (3), 476-477

Nixon, S., (2023). Watching Birds: Observation, Photography and the 'Ethological Eye'. British Journal for the History of Science, 1-19

Slater, D., Nixon, S. and McFall, L., (2021). Strategic ambiguity: a roundtable on cultural economy and consumer culture. Journal of Cultural Economy, 1-10

Nixon, S., (2021). Review of Michael John Law (2019) Not Like Home: American Visitors to Britain in the 1950s. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. The American Historical Review. 126 (2), 858-859

Nixon, S., (2017). Life in the kitchen: Television advertising, the housewife and domestic modernity in Britain, 1955–1969. Contemporary British History. 31 (1), 69-90

Nixon, S., (2017). Gentlemanly Professional and Men-about-Town: Occupational Identities Amongst London Advertising Men, 1951-67. Cultural and Social History. 13 (3), 377-401

Nixon, S., (2017). Looking westwards and worshipping: The New York 'Creative Revolution' and British advertising, 1956-1980. Journal of Consumer Culture. 17 (2), 147-166

Nixon, SJ., (2017). Vanishing Peregrines: J.A.Baker, Environmental Crisis and Bird-centred Cultures of Nature, 1954-1973. Rural History. 28 (2), 205-226

Nixon, S., (2015). Trouble at the National Trust: Post-war Recreation, the Benson Report and the Rebuilding of a Conservation Organization in the 1960s. Twentieth Century British History. 26 (4), 529-550

Nixon, S., (2010). ‘Salesmen of the Will to Want’: Advertising and its Critics in Britain 1951–1967. Contemporary British History. 24 (2), 213-233

Nixon, S., (2009). Understanding Ordinary Women: Advertising, consumer research and mass consumption in Britain, 1948-67. Journal of Cultural Economy. 2 (3), 301-323

Nixon, S., (2008). Apostles of Americanization? J. Walter Thompson Company Ltd, Advertising and Anglo-American Relations 1945–67. Contemporary British History. 22 (4), 477-499

Nixon, S., (2006). THE PURSUIT OF NEWNESS. Cultural Studies. 20 (1), 89-106

Nixon, S. and Crew, B., (2004). Pleasure at Work? Gender, Consumption and Work-based Identities in the Creative Industries. Consumption Markets & Culture. 7 (2), 129-147

Nixon, S. and Du Gay, P., (2002). Who Needs Cultural Intermediaries?. Cultural Studies. 16 (4), 495-500

Nixon, S., (1993). Looking for the Holy Grail: Publishing and advertising strategies and contemporary men's magazines. Cultural Studies. 7 (3), 466-492

Books (7)

Nixon, S., (2022). Passions for Birds Science, Sentiment and Sport. McGill-Queen's University Press. 0228010454. 9780228010456

Nixon, S., (2016). Hard sell: Advertising, affluence and transatlantic relations, c. 1951-69. Oxford University Press. 0719085373. 9780719085376

Nixon, S., (2016). Hard looks: Masculinities, spectatorship and contemporary consumption. Springer. 1349614424. 9780312163327

Hall, S., Evans, J. and Nixon, S., (2013). Representation: Cultural Representation and Signifying Practices Second Edition. Sage. 9781849205634

Nixon, S., (2003). Advertising Cultures: Gender, Commerce, Creativity. SAGE Publications Ltd. 9780761961987

Hall, S., (1997). Representation Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. SAGE. 0761954325. 9780761954323

Nixon, S., (1996). Hard Looks. Palgrave Macmillan US. 9780312163334

Book chapters (16)

Nixon, S., (2014). Cultural Intermediaries or Market Device? The Case of Advertising. In: The Cultural Intermediaries Reader. Editors: Smith Maguire, J. and Matthews, J., . Sage. 9781446201336

Nixon, S., (2013). Exhibiting masculinity. In: Representation: Cultural Representation and Signifying Practices Second Edition. Editors: Hall, S., Evans, J. and Nixon, S., . Sage. 9781849205634

Nixon, S., (2011). From Full-Service Agency to 3-D Marketing Consultants: 'Creativity' and Organizational Change in Advertising. In: Managing Media Work. Editors: Deuze, M., . Sage. 199- 208. 9781412971249

Nixon, S., (2011). Trading on Human Weakness: Richard Hoggart and his Advertising Critics in the 1960s. In: Richard Hoggart, Culture & Critique. Editors: Bailey, M. and Eagleton, M., . Critical, Cultural and Communication Press. 9781905510375

(2009). Creativity, Innovation and the Cultural Economy. In: Creativity, Innovation and the Cultural Economy. Routledge. 41- 53. 0203880013. 9780203880012

Nixon, S., (2009). Advertising, Magazine Culture and the 'New Man'. In: Media Studies, a reader (3rd edition). Editors: Thornham, S., Bassett, C. and Marris, P., . Edinburgh University Press. 9780748637836

(2003). Lifestyle Shopping. In: Lifestyle Shopping: The Subject of Consumption. Routledge. 151- 170. 0203413075. 9780203413074

Nixon, S., (2002). Re-imaging the Advertising Agency: the Cultural Connotations of Economic Forms. In: Cultural Economy Cultural Analysis and Commercial Life. Editors: du Gay, P. and Pryke, M., . Sage. 132- 147. 9780761959939

Nixon, S., (2001). Resignifying Masculinity: From 'New Man' to 'New Lad'. In: British Cultural Studies: Geography, Nationality, and Identity. Editors: Morley, D. and Robins, K., . Oxford University Press (OUP). 373- 386. 978-0-19-874206-7

Nixon, S., (2000). In Pursuit of the Professional Ideal: UK Advertising and the Construction of Commercial Expertise 1953-64. In: Commercial Cultures: Economies, Practices, Spaces. Editors: Jackson, P., Lowe, M., Miller, D. and Mort, F., . Bloomsbury Academic. 55- 74. 9781859733820

Nixon, S., (2000). Intervening in Popular Culture: Cultural Politics and the Art of Translation. In: Without Guarantees, in honour of Stuart Hall. Editors: Gilroy, P., Grossberg, L. and McRobbie, A., . Verso. 254- 265. 9781859842874

Nixon, S., (1998). Circulating Culture. In: Cultures of Production/Production of Culture. Editors: du Gay, P., . Sage. 177- 234. 9780761954361

Nixon, S., (1997). Exhibiting Masculinity. In: Representation: Cultural Representation and Signifying Practices. Editors: Hall, S., . Sage. 291- 336. 9780761954323

Nixon, S., (1996). Advertising Executives as Modern Men: Masculinity and the UK Advertising Industry in the 1980s. In: Buy This Book, studies in advertising and consumerism. Editors: Nava, M., Blake, A., MacRury, I. and Richards, B., . Routledge. 103- 119. 041514132X. 9780415141321

Nixon, S., (1996). Designs on Masculinity: Menswear Retailing and the Role of Retail Design. In: Back to Reality?: Social Experience and Cultural Studies. Editors: McRobbie, A., . Manchester University Press. 170- 189. 9780719044557

Nixon, S., (1992). Have You Got the Look? Masculinities and Shopping Spectacle. In: Lifestyle Shopping: The Subject of Consumption. Editors: Shields, R., . Routledge. 149- 169. 9780415060608

Grants and funding


The Life-Course of Public and Private Media Assets

British Telecommunications Plc

+44 (0) 1206 872646


6.349, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

Academic support hours are by appointment. Please email to arrange a meeting.

More about me