Media Theories.

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outline of some major audience theories

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Media Theories.

  1. 1. Media theories
  2. 2. <ul><li>Effects theory (Hypodermic Syringe, Innoculation) – what the media does to audiences </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Uses and Gratifications – what audiences do with the media </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Reception theory (Nationwide audience, Dallas, Seinfeld, etc) – what audiences do to the media </li></ul>
  5. 5. Effects Theories <ul><li>Mass media/mass communications make people powerless to resist messages the media carries </li></ul><ul><li>Consumers are ‘drugged’, ‘addicted’ or ‘hypnotised’ </li></ul><ul><li>Effects theories taken up with protection of young, link between violence and the media </li></ul>
  6. 6. Effects Theories <ul><li>Historical stuff </li></ul><ul><li>Frankfurt School: Marxist German intellectuals reacting against Nazi propaganda and US advertising – suggested the power of big corporations and the state to control how we think </li></ul><ul><li>Rise of TV in the 50’s and 60’s – fear of danger to children </li></ul>
  7. 7. Effects Theories <ul><li>Historical Stuff </li></ul><ul><li>Influence of behavioural scientists (think of Pavlov’s dogs) – media may reinforce attitudes through repetition </li></ul><ul><li>Bobo doll experiment (1963) – Bandura and Walters – children imitate adult treatment of doll seen on film </li></ul>
  8. 8. Effects Theories <ul><li>Moral panics: Concern, hostility, consensus, disproportionality, volatility </li></ul><ul><li>Two step flow: </li></ul>Media Text
  9. 9. Effects Theories <ul><li>Moral panics: Concern, hostility, consensus, disproportionality, volatility </li></ul><ul><li>Two step flow: </li></ul>Media Text Opinion Leaders
  10. 10. Effects Theories <ul><li>Moral panics: Concern, hostility, consensus, disproportionality, volatility </li></ul><ul><li>Two step flow: </li></ul>Media Text Opinion Leaders Media Consumers
  11. 11. Effects Theories <ul><li>Moral panics: Concern, hostility, consensus, disproportionality, volatility </li></ul><ul><li>Two step flow: </li></ul>Media Text Opinion Leaders Media Consumers 1
  12. 12. Effects Theories <ul><li>Moral panics: Concern, hostility, consensus, disproportionality, volatility </li></ul><ul><li>Two step flow: </li></ul>Media Text Opinion Leaders Media Consumers 1 2
  13. 13. Effects Theories <ul><li>What’s wrong with effects theories? </li></ul><ul><li>The problems with violence are often social/psychological not to do with the media </li></ul><ul><li>The media can often be positive rather than harmful </li></ul><ul><li>Criticism of the media using the effects model is often politically motivated </li></ul><ul><li>There is not real grounding of research and theory for this model. </li></ul>
  14. 14. U&G <ul><li>Users of the media use media texts to satisfy certain needs </li></ul><ul><li>Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs </li></ul>
  15. 15. U&G: Denis McQuail (1987) <ul><li>Information : finding out about the world; seeking advice; satisfying curiosity; education; gaining security though knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Personal Identity : reinforcement of personal values; models of behaviour; identifying with valued other; gaining insight into oneself </li></ul><ul><li>Integration and Social Interaction : gaining insight into circumstances of others; identifying with others; basis for conversation with others; substitute for real life companionship; helping to carry out social roles; enabling connection with family friends and society </li></ul><ul><li>Entertainment : escapism; diversion; relaxation; cultural or aesthetic enjoyment; filling time; emotional release; sexual arousal </li></ul>
  16. 16. U&G: James Lull (1990) <ul><li>Structural </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental: background noise; companionship; entertainment </li></ul><ul><li>Regulative: keeping time; part of pattern of daily life </li></ul><ul><li>Relational </li></ul><ul><li>Communication Facilitation: experience illustration; common ground; conversation starter; anxiety reduction; agenda for talk; value clarification </li></ul><ul><li>Affiliation/Avoidance: physical/verbal contact/neglect; family solidarity; family relaxant/conflict reducer; relationship maintenance </li></ul><ul><li>Social Learning: decision making; behaviour modelling; problem solving; value transmission; legitimization; information dissemination; education </li></ul><ul><li>Competence/Dominance: role enactment; role reinforcement; substitute role portrayal; intellectual validation; authority exercise; gatekeeping; argument facilitation </li></ul>
  17. 17. U&G: Richard Kilborn (1992) <ul><li>Part of routine and entertaining reward for work </li></ul><ul><li>Launchpad of social and personal interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Fulfilling individual needs – a way of choosing to be alone or of enduring enforced loneliness </li></ul><ul><li>Identification or involvement with characters </li></ul><ul><li>Escapist fantasy </li></ul><ul><li>Focus of debate on topical issues </li></ul><ul><li>Kind of critical game involving knowledge of rules or conventions of the genre </li></ul>
  18. 18. U&G: Problems <ul><li>We may not have choice about what we watch </li></ul><ul><li>Neglects any aspects of effects theories </li></ul><ul><li>Neglects socio-economic factors </li></ul>
  19. 19. Reception Theory <ul><li>Often as opposite to Effects theories </li></ul><ul><li>Sees media consumption as active not passive </li></ul><ul><li>Suggests media texts are polysemic </li></ul><ul><li>Research examines social, cultural, economic, gender, sexuality as influence on the reading of media texts </li></ul>
  20. 20. Reception Theory <ul><li>Active </li></ul><ul><li>versus </li></ul><ul><li>Passive </li></ul>
  21. 21. Reception Theory <ul><li>Reception Theory </li></ul><ul><li>versus </li></ul><ul><li>Effects Theory </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>1 </li></ul>Reception Theory
  23. 23. Nationwide Audience <ul><li>David Morley 1980 </li></ul><ul><li>Different social/economic groups watched same TV programme </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews reveal different readings of same text </li></ul>
  24. 24. Nationwide Audience <ul><li>Dominant (Hegemonic) reading : reader shares the encoded meanings of the text </li></ul><ul><li>Negotiated reading : reader shares some of the embedded ideologies but not all </li></ul><ul><li>Oppositional (counter-hegemonic) reading: where the reader does not share the programme’s code and rejects the preferred reading </li></ul>
  25. 25. Nationwide Audience <ul><li>Members of the same subculture will tend to decode texts in similar ways. </li></ul><ul><li>Individual readings of texts will be framed by shared cultural formations and practices. </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>2 </li></ul>Reception Theory
  27. 27. Watching Dallas <ul><li>Ien Ang 1985 </li></ul><ul><li>Different social/cultural groups watched same TV programme </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews reveal different readings of same text </li></ul>
  28. 28. Watching Dallas <ul><li>Importance is the pleasure derived from ‘Dallas’ as entertainment </li></ul><ul><li>Independent of ideas about mass culture </li></ul>
  29. 29. Watching Dallas <ul><li>Readers saw characters as either realistic or unrealistic </li></ul><ul><li>All saw characters as ‘genuine’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Emotional Realism’ </li></ul><ul><li>May see the programme as lowbrow but accept that it is entertaining. </li></ul>
  30. 30. <ul><li>3 </li></ul>Reception Theory
  31. 31. Leibes and Katz on Dallas (1984) <ul><li>International cross cultural groups watched Dallas </li></ul><ul><li>Retell the story </li></ul><ul><li>The retelling was shaped by cultural background although there were similar patterns amonst all groups </li></ul>
  32. 32. <ul><li>4 </li></ul>Reception Theory
  33. 33. Watching Seinfeld <ul><li>Lori Yanish 1995 </li></ul><ul><li>Canadian and Dutch viewers’ reactions to Seinfeld </li></ul><ul><li>Dutch viewers associated American comedy with low class television </li></ul><ul><li>Media as cultural imperialism </li></ul>
  34. 34. <ul><li>5 </li></ul>Reception Theory
  35. 35. Madonna <ul><li>John Fiske 1989 </li></ul><ul><li>Does Madonna exploit the music industry or does the music industry exploit Madonna? </li></ul>
  36. 36. Modes of Address <ul><li>How a text is constructed to make us feel that it is specifically aimed at us </li></ul><ul><li>The ways in which texts built to appeal to particular audiences (Skins, any children’s programme, The Sun) </li></ul>

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