The Imagined Reader An introduction to Audience Theory
Audience TheoriesTheories help you to create new ideas and new ways of thinking about media audiences and should be incorporated into your G325 response.Some ideas: Effects. Uses and gratifications of the product. Reception theory. Ethnography. Postmodern theory. Media 2.0
Ideology and Interpellation*Key example = gender based magazinesNuts does four things:1. Represents men to men.2. Represents men to women.3. Represents women to men.4. Represents women to women.* to identify with a particular idea or identity
Men’s magazine covers = womenWomen’s magazine covers = women Why?
Complicity* three theorists Althusser: interpellation misrecognition Winship: complicity and false belonging Gauntlett – irony / play *the state of being an accomplice*
The active audience Marxist ideology theory presents the media as a controlling force (Antonio Gramsci, Raymond Williams) Effects theories tend to assume a passive audience. Reception theory sees audiences as active makers of meaning. Audiences may read the media as the producers intended (preferred reading - hegemonic). They may partly share the preferred response (negotiated reading) They may interpret the text in an alternative way (oppositional, counter-hegemonic reading).
Ownership and Media Power A Marxist view of media will focus on the relationship between the providers of media, broader power structures and the messages in media products circulated by these power-holding institutions. This is media hegemony / ideology theory. Outfoxed is a key example. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w39FnpuMRfo In the postmodern world it is more complex – eg The Simpsons mocking Fox, Murdoch buying Myspace. Whatever, we do we need to be aware of where media is coming from and whose interests it might serve.
Identity and Locality Local Media National Media Public Service Media Commercial Media Deregulated Media Global Media Cultural Imperialism – eg Hollywood film Diaspora – eg Bollywood Postmodernity What happens to our identities?
Models of Mass Media‘Classic’ (outdated or timeless?) models: Shannon and Weaver, 1949 Galtung and Ruge, 1965 Blumer and Katz,1974
Shannon and Weaver, 1949
Hypodermic Model ‘Effects’ theory is / was often limited to the idea that the media ‘inject’ messages into audiences who are seen as passive. The constant attempt to ‘prove’ that media violence creates violent citizens (eg horror films, video nasties in the 1980s, videogames now) is based on this false premise.Gauntlett on effects - http://www.theory.org.uk/tenthings.htm
Galtung and Ruge, 1965 Gatekeeping the flow of information Agents in gatekeeping are owners, editors, journalists etc who create agendas (eg news agendas) and then select and construct media information to fit the agenda.
Two Step Flow ModelMcQuail and Windahl, 1986The stars are ‘opinion leaders’The circles are everyone else
Uses and GratificationsBlumer and Katz, 1974We USE media (active, not passive) for: Diversion Personal Relationships Personal Identity Surveillance
Follow Up These are basic introductions to some key ‘classic’ audience theories but there are many more and they are more complex. To avoid ‘parodic’ versions of the theories, read this: http://www.rdillman.com/HFCL/TUTOR/Media/medi a2.html