Lee McGuigan is an assistant professor in the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media. He studies the history and political economy of advertising, media and information technology.

McGuigan's ongoing work looks at knowledge infrastructures and logistical processes in advertising and media industries. His book, "Selling the American People: Advertising, Optimization, and the Origins of Adtech," was published in 2023 by the MIT Press, and it is available for open-access download here. The book tries to make sense of today’s “attention merchants” and “choice architects” by examining how related efforts to predict and influence consumer habits and to package and sell audience attention have collectively channeled and amplified currents in surveillance, data processing and behavioral and management sciences.

McGuigan's scholarship has appeared in a variety of books and journals, including Big Data & Society, New Media & Society, the Journal of Law and Political Economy, Media, Culture, & Society, Critical Studies in Media Communication, the Journal of Consumer Culture, Media Industries, Communication, Culture, & Critique, and Television & New Media. He is also co-editor (with Vincent Manzerolle) of "The Audience Commodity in a Digital Age," published in 2014 by Peter Lang.


  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
  • M.A., University of Western Ontario
  • B.A., University of Western Ontario