Critical Perspectives: Section A, Question 1(b) - AudienceIntroduction to audience theory:Historically, media theorists vi...
Blumler & Katz – Uses and Gratifications TheoryThis theory assumes the audience is active rather than passive and itemphas...
David Gauntlett and the Pick ‘n’ Mix ReaderThe internet and web pages offer good examples of Gauntlett’s idea of the‘pick ...
David Buckingham – The Creative AudienceDavid Buckingham conducted a number of research studies into audiences.His work de...
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Audience worksheet2012

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Audience worksheet2012

  1. 1. Critical Perspectives: Section A, Question 1(b) - AudienceIntroduction to audience theory:Historically, media theorists viewed the audience as a mass that were directlyaffected by the media, this links in with a history of the media generatingmoral panics surrounding the effects of things like videogames.Contemporary thinking surrounding audience theory believes that theaudience is not a mass with one response to a media text, it is vital that weconsider the social and cultural experiences that affect audience’s responsesto a range of texts.It is important to move away from the idea that the meaning within texts isalready embedded and fixed and that all audiences respond to messagesencoded in the text in the same way. Audiences are made up of individualswho are very capable of filtering out what they do and don’t want from mediatexts.Stuart Hall - Encoding and DecodingStuart Hall, in his research (1973), suggested that texts were ‘encoded’ by theproducers of the texts to contain certain meanings related to the social andcultural background of the creator of the text. However, once the reader‘decoded’ that text then the meanings intended by the producer may change.Hall suggested three main perspectives on the way an audience responds toa particular text.This involves how the audience is positioned by the text and their subsequentresponse. 1. Preferred or dominant readings – the audience interprets the text as closely to the way in which the producer of the text intended. 2. Negotiated readings – the audience will go through some sort of negotiation with themselves to allow them to accept the way in which the text is presented. The audience may agree with some elements of the text and disagree with others. 3. Oppositional or resistant readings – the user of the text will be in conflict with the text itself due to their culture, beliefs or experiences. 1
  2. 2. Blumler & Katz – Uses and Gratifications TheoryThis theory assumes the audience is active rather than passive and itemphasises what the audiences of media texts do with them rather than whatthe media does to the audience. The Uses and Gratifications theory suggeststhat individuals and social groups use texts in different ways and the audienceare no longer viewed as passive receivers.The identified needs of the audience we later refined as: • Entertainment & Diversion – as a form of escapism • Personal relationships/ social interaction – identification with characters and being able to discuss media texts with others • Personal identity – the ability to compare your life with that of characters and situations presented in media texts • Information/Education – to find out and learn about what is going on in the world 2
  3. 3. David Gauntlett and the Pick ‘n’ Mix ReaderThe internet and web pages offer good examples of Gauntlett’s idea of the‘pick and mix’ audience. Here the audience uses texts – it ignores someaspects of them and chooses the aspects that suit them at that time. The nexttime people play or search they may ‘pick and mix’ a different menu – theflexibility is there to enable the user of these formats to do this.Quote: (‘Media, Gender and Identity’ (2002) Routledge: London) Pg 206.To conclude, Gauntlett talks about a highly sophisticated media user that isaware of what they want and don’t want from media texts and is also aware ofthemselves as a consumer. 3
  4. 4. David Buckingham – The Creative AudienceDavid Buckingham conducted a number of research studies into audiences.His work demonstrated that young people use the media to help make senseof their experiences, of relating to others and in organising their daily lives.“The media offer material for experimentation with alternative social identities,if only at the level of fantasy or aspiration” (Reading Audiences: YoungPeople and the Media” Manchester University Press: 1993: P13). Buckinghambelieves it is essential to situate young peoples media use within the contextof their other social activities and experiences due to the fact that many youngpeople are using the media as a wallpaper, a wall of noise to fill up ‘downtime’ or just to pass the time due to boredom. That many of their interactionswith the media are not contrived, commited or concentrated but fleeting,visceral and meaningless.These ideas point to a blurring of the lines between consumer and producer,caused by the rise in digital technologies.Digital technology and the rise of the Internet has changed the nature ofspectatorship through interactivity and the playback possibilities inherent inthese technologies, thus allowing for infinite revisits to the scene of particularinterest. 4

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