Given that the Effects model and the
Uses and Gratifications have their
problems and limitations a different
approach to audiences was developed
by the academic Stuart Hall at
Birmingham University in the 1970’s
This considered how texts were encoded
with meaning by producers and then
decoded (understood) by audiences.
When a producer constructs a text it is
encoded with a meaning or message that
the producer wishes to convey to the
In some instances audiences will correctly
decode the message or meaning and
understand what the producer was trying
In some instances, the audience will either
reject or fail to correctly understand the
Stuart Hall identified three types of
audience readings (or decoding) of the
1) Dominant or Preferred
Where the audience decodes the
message as the producer wants them to
do and broadly agrees with it.
E.g: Watching a political speech and
agreeing with it.
Where the audience accepts, rejects or
refines elements of the text in light of
previously held news.
E.g; Neither agreeing or disagreeing with
the political speech or being
Where the dominant meaning is
recognised but rejected for cultural,
political and ideological reasons.
E.g: Total rejection of the political
speech and active opposition.