Sophie James

Lecturer in Security and Protection Science, PhD student

Research Overview

I am a Lecturer in Security and Protection Science: Marketing, and a Doctoral Researcher with the Department of Marketing at Lancaster University Management School.

My research is informed by cultural theory and adopts a critical perspective on the socio-historical and political-ideological structures involved in shaping present-day modes of magical thinking, consumer spirituality, and reflexive doubt. Drawing upon consumer interest in witches and witchcraft, I explore how premodern and pre-capitalist fantasies and imagined ways of living find themselves recycled, reproduced, and commodified in the contemporary marketplace. My research is informed by qualitative, interpretivist methods and connects closely with ‘de-romanticist’ and ‘terminal’ writing in critical marketing and consumer research.

My work relates to digital anthropology, providing important contextualisation for digital transformation, socio-digital futures, and security challenges. My future research will seek to provide in-depth insights on how individuals and groups engage with web-based communication platforms for a variety of ideological reasons. I will draw from theories on consumer identity-making and socio-historic patterning, exploring how extreme or subversive content on social media networks and ‘dark’ corners of the web can erode trust in expert systems and have wider moral, ethical, social implications. I am further interested in identifying the ideological deadlocks of dissident political opinions and how these may inform policy interventions on curbing the spread of misinformation.