Broadly framed, my research interest lies in the interplay between (mediated) communication resources and society, and can be categorized into three closely related areas of inquiry, namely: communication and social change; political economy of communication; and global media flows.
In the area of communication and social change, I am interested in looking at how the intervention of communication repertoire such as ICTs, infrastructures, or policy frameworks bring about (or undermine) social development, empowerment, and democratization in Sub-Saharan Africa. Framed from a critical posture, my inquiries in this research cluster deal with development communication theory and practice in the context of the African continent and its peoples. My second research interest, political economy of communications, addresses power relations in society, and how these relations are conditioned by the production, distribution, and consumption of communication resources. With a major focus on Ethiopia, I specifically look at how media industries, institutions, communication resources, regulatory frameworks, and labor are situated in the interplay between state and society. My third area of research interest involves global media flows, which focuses on intercultural encounter representations mainly from a postcolonial perspective as well as a critical examination of how media content and artifacts produced in distinct geographical locales are negotiated, appropriated and at times resisted in different parts of the world. Specifically, my research in this cluster interrogates culinary adventure reality television programs by critically examining how they portray African foodways and cultural expressions.
My articles appeared in several journals including Journalism Studies, Communication, Culture, Critique, African Journalism Studies, and Review of African Political Economy. Currently, I am co-editing a book, Counter-terrorism Laws and Freedom of Expression: Global Perspectives (under contract with Lexington Books), which examines how global counter-terrorism laws have conditioned communication patterns, especially as it pertains to individual and institutional political speech. Amidst an alarming retreat of the democratic order, the book offers a critical insight into how counter-terrorism laws have curtailed freedom of expression in various facets of mediated communication involving journalism practice, digital citizenship, privacy, surveillance as well as online activism.