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Hilde Van den Bulck

Hilde Van den Bulck

Department Head
Department of Communication
Office: 3201 Arch Street, Suite 100, Room 152
Phone: 215.895.0245


  • MA in Communication Studies from KU Leuven (B) (1989)
  • MA in Mass Communication from the University of Leicester (UK) (1991)
  • PhD in Social Sciences from KU Leuven (B) (2000)

Curriculum Vitae:

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Research Interests:

  • Political economy of media structures
  • Media policies for digitized media ecologies
  • Stakeholders and coalitions in media policies
  • Digitization, convergence and legacy media
  • Public (service) media
  • Methods of media policy analysis
  • Media culture in a digitized media ecosystem
  • Media and (collective) identities
  • Celebrity culture and industry
  • Celebrity philanthropy and activism
  • Fandom and anti-fandom


Hilde Van den Bulck combines expertise in media structure and policies with expertise in media culture. Her work on media structures and policies focuses on the impact of technological, political, economic and cultural processes, especially how digitization and convergence affect legacy media. She specializes in public (service) media in that regard, most recently analyzing how personalization strategies based on algorithms affect the core public media value of universality.

With regards to media culture, she analyses the relationships between media culture(s) and collective (national, ethnic, gender and age-related) identities. However, the past ten years, she has focused on the role of mediated communication in celebrity culture and the celebrity apparatus, in particular how celebrities’ ideas, words, and actions provoke mediated debates amongst fans, wider audiences and, in the case of celebrity activism, politicians and policy makers.

In 2018, Routledge published her book 'Celebrity Philanthropy and Activism: Mediated Interventions in the Global Public Sphere'. The core content of this book is presented in this animated video:

Beyond that, for many years she had a monthly column in Belgian newspaper De Standaard and, later, on the news site of main Flemish public media institution VRT. For 12 years, she was vice chair of the Sectorial Media Council that provides policy advice to the Flemish Media Minister.

Before coming to Drexel, Hilde was a Professor of Communication Studies, Head of Department of Communication, then Associate Dean of Research and later Dean of the Social Sciences at the University of Antwerp in Belgium.

Selected Publications:


  • Van den Bulck, H.; Puppis, M.; Donders, K. & Van Audenhove, L. (Eds.) (forthcoming) Palgrave Handbook of Methods for Media Policy Analysis. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave.
  • Van den Bulck, H. (2018) Celebrity Philanthropy and Activism: Mediated Interventions in the Global Public Sphere. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.


  • Donders, K.; Van den Bulck, H. & Raats, T. (2018) 'The Politics of Pleasing: A Critical Analysis of Multistakeholderism in Public Service Media Policies in Flanders', Media, Culture and Society, online first.
  • Van den Bulck, H. & Moe, M. (2018) ‘Universality and Personalisation Through Algorithms: Mapping Strategies and Exploring Dilemmas’, Media Culture and Society, 40(6): 875-892 (open access:
  • Van den Bulck, H. (2017) ‘”She Died of a Mother’s Broken Heart”: Media and Audiences’ Framing of Health Narratives of Heart-Related Celebrity Deaths’, International Journal of Communication, 11: 4965-4987. DOI: 1932–8036/20170005.
  • Van den Bulck, H.; Claessens, N.; Mast, J. & Kuppens, A. (2015) ‘Representation of Fandom in Mainstream Media: Analysis of Production and Content of Flemish Television’s Superfans’, European Journal of Cultural Studies, 19(6): 513-528. DOI: 10.1177/1367549415597924
  • Van der Burg, M. & Van den Bulck, H. (2015) ‘Economic, Political and Socio-Cultural Welfare in Media Merger Control: An Analysis of the Belgian and Dutch Competition Authorities Reviews of Media Mergers’, Information Economics and Policy, 32: 2-15. DOI: 10.1016/j.infoecopol.2015.07.002
  • Panis, K. & Van den Bulck, H. (2014) ‘In the Footsteps of Bob and Angelina: Celebrities’ Diverse Societal Engagement and Its Ability to Attract Media Coverage’, Communications, 39 (1): 23–42. DOI: 10.1080/19392397.2015.1062655

Book Chapters

  • Donders, K.; Vand en Bulck, H. & Raats, T. (2019) Public Service Media in a Divided Country: Governance and Functioning of Public Broadcasters in Belgium’, pp. 89-110 in E. Polo´nski & C. Becket (Eds.) Public Service Broadcasting and Media Systems in Troubled European Democracies. N.Y. Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Bels, A. & Van den Bulck, H. (2019) ‘Social Media Celebrities as Salient Resource for Preteens' Identity Work’. In S.S Duvall (Ed.) Celebrity and Youth: Mediated Audiences, Fame Aspirations and Identity Formation. New York: Peter Lang.
  • Van den Bulck, H. Donders, K. & Lowe, G.F. (2018) Public Service Media in the Networked Society.  What Society? What Network? What Role? 11’, pp 11-28 in G.F. Lowe, H. Van den Bulck & K. Donders (Eds.) Public Service Media in the Networked Society. Gothenburg: NORDICOM.
  • Bels, A.; Van den Bulck, H. & Claessens, N. (2017) ‘Blossoming Beauty or Unhinged Teen? Media and Audiences Discussing Celebrities Coming of Age’, pp. 154-182 in J. O’Conner & J. Merger (Eds.) Childhood and Celebrity. Abingdon, UK & NY, NY: Routledge.
  • Van den Bulck, H. (2017) ‘Is Convergence the “Killer Bug” in the Media Ecosystem? The Case of Flemish Media Policymaking 2010–2015’, pp. 241-260 in S.Sparviero; C. Peil & G. Balbi (Eds.) Media Convergence and Deconvergence. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Van den Bulck, J. & Van den Bulck H. (2017) Communication Sciences in Flanders: A History. in S. Averbeck-Lietz (Ed.) Kommunikationswissenschaft im internationalen Vergleich. Transationale Perspektiven. NY, NY: Springer.
  • Van den Bulck, H. (2015) ‘Public Service Media Accountability in Recent Decades: A Progressive Shift from State to Market’ in K.A. Ibarra, E Nowak & R. Kuhn (eds.) Public Service Media in Europe: A Comparative Approach. London: Routledge.
  • Van den Bulck, H.; Claessens, N. & Panis, K. (2015) ‘World Relations and Development Issues: Framing Celebrity Philanthropy Documentaries’, in E. Jeffreys & P. Allatson (Eds.) Celebrity philanthropy. Bristol, Intellect.
  • Claessens, N. & Van den Bulck, H. (2014) ‘A Severe Case of Disliking Bimbo Heidi, Scumbag Jesse and Bastard Tiger: Analysing Celebrities’ Online Anti-fans’, pp. 63-75 in L. Duits, K. Zwaan & S. Reijnders (eds.) The Ashgate Research Companion to Fan Cultures. London: Ashgate.