Mass culture - because it was successful and a high profile piece of US pop TV culture Detached or ironic - knew the show was 'bad' but wanted to see what it was other people were watchingPopularism- everyday routines and the pleasure they got from watching it, even though they may recognise the show as trashOnly 42 replies to her request for participants for her study.
Tax duty on newspapers and made it so only the rich could buy newspapers
Naming and shaming paedophiles, legislation to control dangerous dogs
• What is audience theory?
• Who are the key theorists?
• What are the key terms?
• How does this help with your section a: 1b?
• Audience theory
• Effects and Moral Panic
• Who am I?
• Katz & Bulmer
• Katz & Lazerfield
• Primary media
• Secondary media
• Tertiary media
• Mass media
• Utopian solution
• Situated culture
• encode & decode
We must get away from the habit of
thinking in terms of what the media
do to people and substitute for it
what people do with the media
Effect or Affect?
• What effect does the media have on
• How do audiences affect the media?
• What do you think?
Active or Passive?
• The Hypodermic Syringe model
– Developed in 1930s
– All audience members react in the same way.
– All passively receive messages.
– The media affects thoughts and behaviour.
• Audiences are passive.
• The focus is not on how behaviour is
affected, but how ‘world view’ is created.
• Belief that repeated exposure will affect how
people view the real world. (Believing
representation rather than reality). The ‘mean
• We become desensitised to violence.
• The term for other factors that affect our
interpretation of media texts (and our ‘world
– Daily lives
• Dominant institution such as government uses
culture to impose values, definitions, opinions
etc. on the general public.
Where we pay close attention to the
media text in front of us, reading a
magazine or in the cinema
Where the media text is there in the
background, not really watching TV
or music based radio
The text is present but we are
not at all aware of it, i.e adverts
Read the report ‘Violent games affect behaviour’
(09.01.06) from the BBC news website:
•What points conform to the hypodermic theory?
•What arguments are made against the theory?
•What references are there to cultivation theory and
•How are these theories evaluated?
The active audience
This is the dominant (most accepted) model.
• ‘Two step’ model (Katz & Lazarsfeld; 1940s)
– They concluded the media alone wasn’t that
influential in affecting an audience’s attitudes, but
was part of a larger system of situated culture.
– The audience often received the media’s message
through ‘opinion leaders’ – individuals who pay
close attention to the media and filter information
to family and friends, so people receive the
message without consuming the text.
Uses & Gratifications Theory
• Term coined by Blumler and Katz in the 1970s.
• It suggests the audience uses the media to
fulfil needs and motivations:
– Personal Relationships & Social Interaction.
– Personal Identity.
• Something to do
Personal Relationships & Social
• Audiences can become involved in the social
lives of people presented in media texts
through interviews, and gossip.
• Audiences can observe a range of
relationships with others and understand the
• Audiences can learn empathy.
• Audiences can identify with characters
represented in the media.
• Audiences can make comparisons between
characters and their own behaviour.
• The media provides information and
education, helping the audience to stay
informed and know what’s happening in the
List the media texts with which you
Categorise them using the ‘uses and
Which need do you fulfil the most?
Evaluate the model
• Does the model apply when the audience
hasn’t chosen to receive the media
(trailers, adverts, pop-ups, background
• How much choice does an audience have in
• Uses and Gratifications theory argues that the
audience uses the media to fulfil needs – is it
possible that sometimes those needs have
been created by the media in the first place?
• Is the model affected by developments in new
technology? Do we need to add to the list of
Uses and Gratifications?
• Encoding and Decoding – Stuart Hall (1970s)
– Texts are encoded with meaning (semiotics!).
– Different audiences respond (decode) in different
– Both encoded and decoded meaning will be
understood in the context of the social and
cultural background of the producer and
• Dominant reading – the audience uncritically
accepts the preferred (or intended) meaning
of the text.
• Negotiated reading – the message is partly
accepted and partly rejected.
• Oppositional reading – the audience rejects
Identify the codes and
conventions of layout
Is the mode of address
typical for a tabloid?
readings which are
encoded in the front
Evaluating encoding & decoding
• Is there one single message in a text which has
been deliberately encoded by producers?
• Would all audiences agree on the intended
• How do we know if we have found the
• If there isn’t a single preferred meaning, does
that mean there is a range of oppositional
• Cheryl Cole is besotted with her new friend.
• David Beckham is stunned at being told his
career is over, but remains strong.
• Image and copy send same message.
• Daily Mirror trusted source of celebrity gossip.
• The stories may be rejected because:
– They are gossip
– The source isn’t trusted
– The audience doesn’t value celebrity
• May believe the story about Beckham because
the story is also reported in the Sports press.
• May reject story about Cheryl Cole as
uninterested or the source as unreliable.
• To understand the dominant reading you must
understand the ideology:
– The Daily Mirror is a national newspaper with a
– It has selected these stories as the most important
of the day.
– The dominant reading, therefore, constructs
celebrities as important in our society.
• These models were constructed 30 years ago.
• The available mainstream media was:
– Terrestrial TV: 4 free to air channels
– Analogue radio: BBC and commercial stations
– Press and magazines
– Film: cinemas and home video
– Home video games consoles
• Make a list which reflects the
available media today.
• How do these changes in technology
and introduction of new media forms
affect the relationship between the
audience and the media?
– Where and who do you receive media texts?
– Are there times when you receive more than one
media text simultaneously?
– What are the different platforms (eg
computer, mobile phone) you use to receive
• Existing audience models:
– Does the increased range of media forms affect
the theory of encoding and decoding?
– Does the emphasis on interactive technology
make the audience more or less likely to be active
– Do new media technologies provide alternative
uses and gratifications?
1. What assumptions are being made about the VALs of
the target audience?
2. How might someone outside the target audience
respond to the advert?
3. What are some of the uses and gratifications
available to the audience?
4. Provide a dominant, negotiated and oppositional
reading for the advert.
5. How might the theory of desensitisation be applied
6. How might you use the example of advertising to
argue for and against the effects model?
Morley's Nationwide study
• Morley & Brundson
• How different audiences responded to
• Audiences brought a complex set of
knowledge & experience to texts they were
• This experience and other factors is an
important part in the way in which audiences
'consume', 'understand' and 'create meaning'.
Ang's Dallas Study (1985- I was 5!)
• Reasons and reactions for watching Dallas.
• She found 3 categories:
• The ideology of mass culture
• The Ironic or 'detached' position
• The Ideology of popularism
• Children's response to Eastenders -
• Moved between positions of
involvement, amusement, boredom, mocking.
Utopian solution- entertainment
genres are popular because of their
fantasy element and escapism.
Musical or Westerns.
'Effects' debate and moral panics
• Tales from the Crypt - 1955 Children and
Young Persons (harmful Publications) Act
• Panics about effects traced to the 18th
• Cohen - Folk Devils and Moral Panics (1972)
• A mass response to a group, a person or an
attitude that becomes defined as a threat
• Media 'addresses' the audience - Mode of
• Position - 'privileged' i.e soap opera