Dr Tony Sampson

Reader (R)
EBS - Management and Marketing
Dr Tony Sampson
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 874281

  • Location

    EBS.3.29, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    For arranging an in-person or Zoom meeting, please contact me through my Essex email.



Dr. Tony D. Sampson is reader in digital communication based in EBS at the University of Essex. His publications include The Spam Book, coedited with Jussi Parikka (Hampton Press, 2009), Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), The Assemblage Brain: Sense Making in Neuroculture (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), and Affect and Social Media (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018). His latest book, A Sleepwalker's Guide to Social Media, was published by Polity in 2020. He is currently writing a critical theory book on the pervasive influence of UX design thinking on the entire trajectory of contemporary life, from birth, school, work, and death. The book is provisionally titled, The Struggle for [USER] Experience. Tony was the organizer of the Affect and Social Media annual conferences in East London between 2014-2022. He currently welcomes MPhil/PhD applicants interested in a wide range of digital communication related problems, including critical perspectives on digital design labour/practices, digital design industry dynamics, UX and HCI theory and practice, emerging technologies (AI, immersive, XR etc.), digital aesthetics, perception, affect theory and cognitive/neuro/affective/emotional labour. Tony is also a co-founder of the Cultural Engine Research Group (CERG) based in Essex and East London. CERG work across-disciplines, directly with communities, local authorities, charities, not-for-profit organisations, and students, on projects relating to Place, Pride, and Community (particularly in relation to Levelling-Up narratives and policy), Tourism and Heritage, Public Realm, Digital Cultures and Smart Cities, Creative Industries, Education, Public Health, and Food Cultures. See this CERG related story on UoE's website: As part of CERG’s remit, Tony also welcomes MPhil/PhD applicants interested in a wide range of community-based project work, together with critical theory research into concepts such as pride-in-place, levelling up, and community wealth building.


  • PhD Sociology University of Essex, (2008)

  • Masters Multimedia and Cultural Production University of East London, (2002)

  • BSc Multimedia Technology University of Greenwich, (1998)

Research and professional activities

Current research

The Struggle for [USER] Experience

Book project - working title: The Struggle for [USER] Experience: How UX design thinking pervades the entire trajectory of contemporary life

Conferences and presentations

Return to Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Social Media

Keynote presentation, 11th European Conference on Social Media, The European Conference on Social Media at University of Brighton, UK, 30/5/2024

The Struggle for {User] Experience

Invited presentation, "'The ‘Data Pharmacy’: A Workshop on Wellness Media, Smart Drugs, and Other Therapeutic Transmissions", Goldsmiths, 26/3/2024

“Feeling Pride in Place Through Local Heritage Projects”

RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, Royal Geographic Society, London, 1/9/2023

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Management and the Cultural Industries (BE418)

  • Critical Marketing Perspectives (BE530)

  • Consumer Behaviour (BE555)

  • Independent Study Project: Management/Marketing (BE938)


Journal articles (15)

Sampson, A. and Markelj, J., (2023). The Perilous Potential of the Blur: Digital Cultures Within Zones of Indistinction. The Journal of Media Art Study and Theory. 4

Sampson, A., (2023). The UX University: Emotionally Situating Student Experience in a Transition between Protest and Post-Protest Marketization. Persona Studies. 9 (1), 17-35

Sampson, TD., (2022). Robert J. Shiller, Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events. American Literary History. 34 (2), 819-822

Sampson, TD. and Parikka, J., (2021). The Operational Loops of a Pandemic. Cultural Politics. 17 (1), 55-68

Sampson, TD., (2020). Affect, Cognition and the Neurosciences. Athenea Digital. Revista de pensamiento e investigación social. 20 (2), 2346-2346

Sampson, TD., (2020). A sleepwalker’s guide to the collective nonconscious. Parallax. 26 (1), 34-47

Sampson, A. and Markelj, J., (2020). Contagions, Sleepwalkers, and the Nonconscious of Social Media: An Interview with Tony D. Sampson. The Journal of Media Art Study and Theory. 1 (2), 23-45

Sampson, TD., (2019). Transitions in human–computer interaction: from data embodiment to experience capitalism. AI & SOCIETY. 34 (4), 835-845

Sampson, TD., (2019). Sergio Tonkonoff, From Tarde to Deleuze and Foucault: The Infinitesimal Revolution. International Sociology. 34 (5), 574-576

Sampson, TD., (2017). Cosmic Topologies of Imitation: From the Horror of Digital Autotoxicus to the Auto-Toxicity of the Social. Parallax. 23 (1), 61-76

Sampson, T., (2015). Booknote. New Formations. 84 (84), 265-266

Sampson, TD., (2014). Comment on Peckham: contagion-epidemiological models and financial crises. Journal of Public Health. 36 (1), 20-21

Sampson, TD., (2012). Tarde's phantom takes a deadly line of flight – from Obama Girl to the assassination of Bin Laden. Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory. 13 (3), 354-366

LUGO, J. and SAMPSON, T., (2008). E‐Informality in Venezuela: The ‘Other Path’ of Technology. Bulletin of Latin American Research. 27 (1), 102-118

Lugo, J., Sampson, T. and Lossada, M., (2002). Latin America's new cultural industries still play old games - From the Banana Republic to Donkey Kong. Game Studies. 2 (2)

Books (5)

Sampson, TD., (2020). A Sleepwalker's Guide to Social Media. John Wiley & Sons. 1509537422. 9781509537426

Sampson, TD., Maddison, S. and Ellis, D., (2018). Affect and Social Media Emotion, Mediation, Anxiety and Contagion. Radical Cultural Studies. 1786604396. 9781786604392

Sampson, TD., (2016). The Assemblage Brain Sense Making in Neuroculture. U of Minnesota Press. 1452953295. 9781452953298

Sampson, TD., (2012). Virality Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks. U of Minnesota Press. 0816670056. 9780816670055

Parikka, J. and Sampson, TD., (2009). The Spam Book On Viruses, Porn, and Other Anomalies from the Dark Side of Digital Culture. Hampton Press (NJ). 1572739150. 9781572739154

Book chapters (10)

Sampson, A. and Parikka, J., As Novas Lógicas da Mídia Viral. In: Arte, Cultura e o Mundo Contemporâneo Digital. Belo Horizonte: LPF Edições. 9786501025117

Sampson, A., (2024). New Punctums, Proto- Perceptions, and Animated Entanglements. In: Human Perception and Digital Information Technologies: Animation, the Body and Affect. Editors: Tamari, T., . Bristol University Press. 978-1529226188

Sampson, A., (2024). "Myśląc z wirusami. Trzy propozycje teoretyczne," translated by Mateusz Chaberski.. In: Myśląc z wirusami. Editors: Borowski, M. and Sugiera, M., . Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego 2024

Sampson, A., (2023). Nonconscious Affect: Cognitive, Embodied, or Nonbifurcated Experience?. In: The Affect Theory Reader 2: Worldings, Tensions, Futures. Editors: Seigworth, GJ. and Pedwell, C., . Duke University Press. 295- 314. 978-1-4780-2491-0

Sampson, TD., (2019). Collapsing Boundaries. In: Theater. transcript Verlag. 189- 210. 9783837649062

Sampson, TD., (2017). The Self–Other Topology. In: Boundaries of Self and Reality Online. Elsevier. 123- 139. 9780128041574

Sampson, TD. and Parikka, J., (2013). Learning from Network Dysfunctionality. Wiley. 450- 460. 9781444332247

Sampson, TD. and Parikka, J., (2013). Learning from Network Dysfunctionality: Accidents, Enterprise, and Small Worlds of Infection. In: A Companion to New Media Dynamics. 450- 460

Sampson, TD., (2013). Contagion theory: Beyond the microbe. In: Critical Digital Studies: A Reader. 120- 143

Sampson, TD., (2010). Error-Contagion: Network Hypnosis and Collective Culpability. In: Error: Glitch, Noise, and Jam in New Media Cultures. 232- 253

Conferences (2)

Sampson, A., Tofield, G., Brand, A. and Tucker, I., Feeling Pride in Place Through Local Heritage Projects: An Academic-Non-Academic Dialogue on the Emotional and Economic Geographies of Levelling Up

Sampson, A., Branch, A. and Tofield, G., From Economic to Emotional Geography: Understanding the Importance of the Mezzo-Level in Community Development

+44 (0) 1206 874281


EBS.3.29, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

For arranging an in-person or Zoom meeting, please contact me through my Essex email.

More about me
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