Michael Schudson (born November 3, 1946) is an American academic sociologist working in the fields of journalism and its history, and public culture.
He was brought up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has an undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College, and a doctorate in sociology from Harvard University. From 1976 he was assistant professor at the University of Chicago. In 1980 he joined the faculty of University of California, San Diego, where he was a Professor of Communication and Adjunct Professor of Sociology until 2009. He is currently a full-time faculty member of The Journalism School at Columbia University.
He received a MacArthur Foundation award in 1990.
In the mid 1980s Schudson used the term "capitalist realism" to describe mainstream practices in advertising. Chapter seven of Schudson's Advertisng: The Uneasy Persuasion compares the messages and appeals of advertising to those found in the Socialist Realism of the Soviet Union. In his account, the realism of advertising promotes a way of life based on private consumption, rather than social, public achievement.