Dr Maria Touri

Associate Professor

School/Department: Media, Communication and Sociology, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2859



I am an interdisciplinary scholar with research and teaching interests in the fields of media and communication, human geography and food studies.


Communication, Sustainable Development and Global Food Networks (India and Mexico)

My current research focus is on the field of Communication for Development and Social Change, and the role of participatory communication in the sustainability of organic and fair-trade farming communities. The research focuses on global food networks and takes an interdisciplinary approach that draws from the fields of communication, agri-food studies, and economic geography. This is a collaborative project with farmers in India and Mexico and SMEs in Europe and Mexico. It is the first study that explores the theory and practice of Communication for Development in the context of the trade relations between farmers and businesses across the globe, and through the everyday practices of communication that connect these two actors. The project also includes an exploration of the role of ICTs in the farmers’ sustainability through processes of self-formation and identity building.

Impact Case Study - Communication strategies for sustainable trade for organic farmers in India and Mexico and SMEs in Europe

The case study concerns the improvement of the professional marketing strategies of farmer cooperatives in India and Mexico and SMEs in England, France, Germany, and Mexico. The farmers’ cooperatives and five SMEs have developed new marketing strategies with the use of videos created by the farmers.

Communication and Journalism for Sustainable Development (Greece) – with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, funded by the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation

I am collaborating with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki on a project that promotes the role of sustainable development in Greece through communication and journalism. The project will develop educational activities for the training and capacity building of Communication and Journalism professionals that work in the areas of environmental and sustainable development in Greece. This is the first theoretical and empirical account of Communication for Development in the context of Greece.  

Participatory journalism practices

In this area, my most recent work concerns the impact of online tools on journalism practices and the bottom-up development of news frames, in ways that challenge dominant paradigms. I have studied the influence of news blogs on mainstream news agendas through an analysis of news blogs networks (with Barrie Gunter and Vincent Campbell; funded by the Nuffield Foundation). I have also conducted research on the progress of online journalism in Greece focusing on a) the ways in which technological advances and the current financial crisis have affected the process of news production and the way the newsroom operates; and b) the role of Greek news blogs as vehicles for political expression and deliberation during the on-going financial crisis. My previous research includes the influence of news media on foreign policymaking in a bottom-up fashion. A part of this research was also the development of a theoretical model for the active role that journalists can play as non-state actors in international conflict, with the use of decision-making theories such as prospect theory.

Research grants

2021-2022: ESRC IAA Rapid Response Grant, ‘Developing innovative participatory communication strategies for marginalised farming cooperatives (Mexico)’

2019-2023: Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (HFRI), with Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, ‘Communication and Journalism for Sustainable Development: Greece as a Case Study’

2018: Research Impact Development Fund, University of Leicester ‘Indian farmers’ empowerment through communication and digital storytelling’

2017-2019: British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants, ‘Communication and Human Development in Alternative Food Networks: Digitally connecting produces and consumers across the globe’ 2016: Research Development Fund, University of Leicester, ‘Capacity Building in Alternative Food Networks’

2015: Society for the Advancement of Management Studies College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities,‘ Sustainability, Food and Fashion: the role of Social Sciences as an agent for innovation – Workshop organised in collaboration with the School of Business, University of Leicester

2013: Research Development Fund, University of Leicester, ‘Sustainable agriculture and development in a global context. The role of businesses in supporting producer - consumer interactions. A case study of Indian Organic Farmers Producer Company Limited (IOFPCL)’


Touri, M. (2024) 'Deconstructing the role of ICTs in agricultural development using the Diverse Economies Framework', Information Technology for Development, Special Issue: Understanding local social processes in ICT4D Research,

Touri, M. (2021) Sustainable Development and Communication in Global Food Networks: Lessons from India, Palgrave Macmillan

Touri, M., Galatsopoulou, F., Kenterelidou, C., Kostarella, I. (2021), 'Communication for Sustainable Development and Blue Growth: Towards New Theoretical and Empirical Directions', in M.J. Yusha'u and J. Servaes (Eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of International Communication and Sustainable Development, Palgrave Macmillan

Touri, M. (2020) Representation, voice and producer-consumer solidarity in fair trade movements: toward new empirical directions, Geoforum 117: 103-113

Touri, M. (2020) ‘The Power of Weak Communication’, in J. Tacchi and T. Tufte (Eds.) Communicating for Change, Concepts to Think With, Palgrave Macmillan

Touri, M.(2018) 'Development and Communication in trade relations: new synergies in theory and practice', Development in Practice 28 (3): 388-399, DOI:10.1080/09614524.2018.1432569

Touri, M. (2016) 'Development Communication in Alternative FoodNetworks: empowering Indian farmers through market relations’ Journal of International Communication, 22(2):209-228 DOI:10.1080/13216597.2016.1175366 

Touri, M. (2017), 'Journalism culture and professional identity in transit: technology, crisis and opportunity in the Greek media' in J. Tong and S.H. Lo (eds.) Digital Technology and Journalism: An International Comparative Perspective, Palgrave Macmillan

Touri, M. & Kostarella, I. (2016), 'News Blogs vs Mainstream Media: Measuring the gap through a frame analysis of Greek blogs', Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, DOI: 10.1177/1464884916648097 

Touri, M., Theodosiadou, S. & Kostarella, I. (2016), 'The Internet's Transformative Power on Journalism Culture in Greece: looking beyond universal professional values' Digital Journalism,DOI:10.1080/21670811.2016.1166062 

Touri, M. & Koteyko, N. (2015) 'Using corpus linguistic software in the extraction of news frames: towards a dynamic process of frame analysis in journalistic texts', International Journal of Social Research Methodology,18(6):601-616 


I welcome enquiries from prospective research students who wish to undertake projects related to the following subjects/areas: global media and communication, development and communication, ICTs and development, sustainable development goals (SDGs), food and communication, social justice and communication.


MS3004 Global Cultures

MS3026 Community Radio in Practice

MS7082 Global Communication and Development

MS7083 Theories of Globalization and New Media 

MS7006 Global Affairs

Media coverage

Small businesses and social scientists must collaborate for a sustainable food chain’, Food Navigator, October 5, 2015

Why we must reconnect consumers and producers’, Leicester Mercury, October 15, 2015

‘Sustainability struggles amid cheap excess’ Western Morning News, November 19, 2015


Higher Education Academy Fellowship

PhD Communication Studies, University of Leeds

MA International Communication, University of Leeds

BA Communication and Mass Media, University of Athens 

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