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Queen's University

Vincent Mosco

B.A. (Georgetown), Ph.D. (Harvard)
Professor Emeritus

Vincent Mosco


Research Areas

  • The Sociology of Communication and Information Technology
  • The Political Economy of the Media
  • The Sociology of Knowledge Workers
  • Communication policy


Dr. Vincent Mosco is Professor Emeritus, Queen's University, Canada. He is formerly Canada Research Chair in Communication and Society and Professor of Sociology. Dr. Mosco graduated from Georgetown University (Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in 1970 and received the Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard University in 1975.

Dr. Mosco is the author of numerous books on communication, technology, and society. His most recent include To the Cloud: Big Data in a Turbulent World (Paradigm, 2014), Critical Studies in Communication and Society (ed. with Cao Jin and Leslie Reagan Shade, Shanghai Translation Publishing House, 2013), Getting the Message: Communications Workers and Global Value Chains (ed. with Catherine McKercher and Ursula Huws, Merlin, 2010), The Political Economy of Communication (Sage, 2009), The Laboring of Communication: Will Knowledge Workers of the World Unite (co-authored with Catherine McKercher, Lexington, 2008), Knowledge Workers in the Information Society (ed. with Catherine McKercher, Lexington, 2007), and The Digital Sublime: Myth, Power, and Cyberspace (MIT Press, 2004).

Dr. Mosco is a member of the editorial boards of academic journals in the North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. He has held research positions in the U.S. government with the White House Office of Telecommunication Policy, the National Research Council and the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment and in Canada with the Department of Communication. A founding member of the Union for Democratic Communication, Dr. Mosco also served as head of the Political Economy section of the International Association for Media and Communication Research and was a longtime research associate of the Harvard University Program on Information Resources Policy. In addition, he has been a consultant to trade unions and worker organizations in Canada and the United States.

In 2004 Dr. Mosco received the Dallas W. Smythe Award for outstanding achievement in communication research. The Digital Sublime won the 2005 Olson Award for outstanding book in the field of rhetoric and cultural studies. In 2014 the Cultural and Critical Studies Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication presented Dr. Mosco and his partner in life and in research Dr. Catherine McKercher with the Professional Freedom and Responsibility Award for outstanding achievement in research and activism.


NEW BOOK- To the Cloud: Big Data in a Turbulent World

May 2014 284 pages
Paradigm Publishers

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-61205-616-6
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-61205-615-9

Book interview podcast:

In the wake of revelations about National Security Agency activities many of which occur in the cloud this book offers both enlightenment and a critical view. Cloud computing and big data are arguably the most significant forces in information technology today. In clear prose, To the Cloud explores where the cloud originated, what it means, and how important it is for business, government, and citizens. It describes the intense competition among cloud companies like Amazon and Google, the spread of the cloud to government agencies like the controversial NSA, and the astounding growth of entire cloud cities in China. From advertising to trade shows, the cloud and big data are furiously marketed to the world, even as dark clouds loom over environmental, privacy, and employment issues that arise from the cloud. Is the cloud the long-promised information utility that will solve many of the world s economic and social problems? Or is it just marketing hype? To the Cloud provides the first thorough analysis of the potential and the problems of a technology that may very well disrupt the world.

"Once again, Vinny Mosco is way ahead of the pack in understanding the great communication phenomena of our times. To the Cloud shines a powerful light on cloud computing, educating us all and providing critical analysis, nuance, and context. In the process, Mosco provides an indispensable resource for making sense of the digital age." --Robert W. McChesney, author of Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet against Democracy

"A towering figure in the political economy of communications, Vincent Mosco has taught generations of media scholars how to drill below the surface of corporate hype and decipher the sharp realities underlying apparently nebulous developments. Now he turns his formidable intelligence to the analysis of the cloud. This landmark publication is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the next phase of digital capitalism." --Ursula Huws, University of Hertfordshire Business School

"Vincent Mosco has brilliantly demystified cloud computing and big data. He looks through the clouds to ask critical questions about how these new systems are being used, who controls them, and what the consequences are. To the Cloud brings us back down to earth and is an essential source for understanding these important new developments." --Janet Wasko, University of Oregon


  1. The Cloud Ate My Homework
  2. From the Computer Utility to Cloud Computing
  3. Selling the Cloud Sublime
  4. Dark Clouds
  5. Big Data and Cloud Culture


The Political Economy of Communication
Second Edition

April 2009 280 pages
SAGE Publications Ltd

Paperback ISBN: 9781412947015
Hardcover ISBN: 9781412947008

'Vincent Mosco's heavily revised and thoroughly updated Political Economy of Communication is a masterpiece. (It) is the one single indispensable book that all media students and scholars need to read to understand this vital and growing area of research.'
Robert W. McChesney
Gutgsell Endowed Professor
Department of Communication
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

'Mosco has done all students of communication a great service by updating this book. It captures, summarizes and illustrates an important set of voices and arguments, key interlocutors in the ongoing effort to construct a critical theory and analytic of contemporary communication and culture.'
Lawrence Grossberg
Morris Davis Distinguished Professor of Communication Studies and Cultural Studies; Adjunct Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Director of the University Program in Cultural Studies,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

'The Political Economy of Communication is a contemporary classic of media studies. Now, in this comprehensively revised second edition, Vincent Mosco, among the leading media scholars of our or any time, brings his searing insights and crystal prose to bear on the latest issues and debates of the field… An indispensable resource for researchers, activists, and students everywhere. It is a classic all over again.'
Toby Miller
Professor of English, Sociology, and Women’s Studies
University of California, Riverside


  1. Overview of the Political Economy of Communication
  2. What is Political Economy? Definitions and Characteristics
  3. What is Political Economy? Schools of Thought
  4. The Development of a Political Economy of Communication
  5. The Political Economy of Communication: Building a Foundation
  6. The Political Economy of Communication Today
  7. Commodification: Content, Audiences, Labour
  8. Spatialization: Space, Time and Communication
  9. Structuration: Class, Gender, Race, Social Movements, Hegemony
  10. Challenges on the Borders ... and Beyond 

The Laboring of Communication: Will Knowledge Workers of the World Unite?
Vincent Mosco and Catherine McKercher, Lexington Books, 2008 

Technological change, corporate consolidation, and neoliberal governments pose significant challenges to labor, especially for workers in the communication and information industries. This book focuses on how traditional trade unions and new worker associations, many growing out of social movements, are coming together to address today’s crisis of organized labor. It documents the creative responses of high tech and cultural workers in the mass media, telecommunications, and computer industries. Drawing on political economy, labor process, and feminist theory, it offers several ways of thinking about communication workers and the nature of the society in which they work. Based on interviews and the documentary record, the book provides case studies of successful and unsuccessful efforts among both traditional and alternative worker organizations in the United States and Canada. It concludes by addressing the thorny issue of outsourcing, describing how global labor federations and nascent worker organizations in the developing world are coming together to develop solutions.


Preface and Acknowledgements

  1. Introduction: New Responses to Bad Times for Organized Labor
  2. Theorizing Knowledge Labor
  3. Women and Work: Feminism and Political Economy
  4. Convergence, Solidarity, and Labor Power: The Dream of One Big Union
  5. Labor Convergence in the Information Economy
  6. Beyond Business as Usual: Social Movement Unionism and Information Workers
  7. Workers in a Changing Global Division of Labor


“While there are many texts describing the knowledge economy and organized labor's decline in North America, I know of no other book that tells the story of how knowledge workers are organizing through convergence in the face of technological change, growing corporate concentration, and neo-liberalism. Nor can I imagine a more compelling set of case studies through which to develop this critical narrative. This book is a welcome addition to scholarship in communication studies, labor studies, and women's studies.”
Leah Vosko, Canada Research Chair, York University

“In this textured empirical and theoretical examination of the workers in new media and information systems, Mosco and McKercher answer Castells' technology-focused network society with a critical sociological study of the conditions of work and the labor struggles in the making of the new global capitalist informational economy.”
Gerald Sussman, professor, Portland State University

“As more and more people line up to join the ranks of the creative class, figuring out how to empower and, if possible, protect them becomes a crucial part of our understanding of the global cultural economy. In this groundbreaking book, Mosco and McKercher offer the foundations for a such a critical analysis.”
Mark Deuze, author of Media Work and professor, Indiana University and Leiden University

View a full list of Dr. Mosco's PUBLICATIONS (200kB).


*PDF files can be viewed using Adobe Reader.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000