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Dolber, Ph.D.

Brian Dolber, Ph.D. (2017)

Associate Professor of Communication


Phone: (760) 750 - 8206

Office: SBSB 2205  

Brian Dolber earned his Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2011), with a focus in political economy, labor, media history, and media policy. He also holds a B.A. in journalism from The George Washington University (2003). 

Dr. Dolber’s scholarship examines the relationships media, labor, technology, and the policymaking process in historical and contemporary contexts. He believes that historical inquiry can help develop strategies for contemporary movements for social justice. His ongoing research examines the rise of the gig economy, and the ways in which platform workers are developing new models of organizing through digital technologies. In particular, he is interested in how workers harness media power through organizing to reshape public narratives. His participant-action research with Rideshare Drivers United, an organization of 20,000 app-based drivers in California, has been supported by the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council and the Media, Inequality & Change (MIC) Center. He has been quoted in a wide range of media outlets, including the Guardian, Los Angeles Times, and The Nation.

Dr. Dolber is the co-editor of The Gig Economy: Workers and Media in the Age of Convergence (Routledge, 2021) and author of Media and Culture in the U.S. Jewish Labor Movement: Sweating for Democracy in the Interwar Era (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), and his essays have appeared in numerous journals including International Journal of Communication, tripleC: Communication, Capitalism and Critique, and Communication, Culture & Critique. He has served as co-chair of Union for Democratic Communications.

Dr. Dolber teaches courses including Histories of Media Technology, Political Economy of Media, Media Policy in the U.S., and Digital Policymaking. He previously taught at SUNY College at Oneonta.


The Gig Economy: Workers and Media in the Age of Convergence. (Routledge, 2021).


Media and Culture in the U.S. Jewish Labor Movement: Sweating for Democracy in the Interwar Era. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) 


Select Scholarly Articles

Communications Policy and Cultural Political Economy: Charting the Collapse of the Neoliberal Consensus in the U.S. International Journal of Communication, (2021), 15, 3698-3718.

Precarity and Solidarity at Neoliberalism’s Twilight: Towards a Production Autoethnography of the Transnational Cultural Industries. Cultural StudiesßàCritical Methodologies, (2020), 20:4, pp. 311-321.

Pressing Pause: Critical Reflections from the History of Media Studies. (with Andrew O’Baoill). Triple C. Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society, (2018), 16:1, pp. 264-279.

Blindspots and Blurred Lines: Dallas Smythe, the Audience Commodity, and the Transformation of Labor in the Digital Age. Sociology Compass (2016), 10:9, pp. 747755.

Commodifying Alternative Media Audiences: A Historical Case Study of the Jewish Daily Forward. Communication, Culture & Critique (2016), 9:2, pp. 175-192. 


Most California Rideshare Drivers are not Receiving Health-Care Benefits under Proposition 22. (with Eliza McCullough). National Equity Atlas, 2021.

From Independent Contractors to an Independent Union: Building Solidarity Through Rideshare Drivers United’s Digital Organizing Strategy,” Media Inequality and Change Center, Annenberg School for Communication and Rutgers University, 2019.