Audience (Theories & Theorist Quotes)


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Audience (Theories & Theorist Quotes)

  1. 1. made by Sonia Tyrna
  2. 2. Audience Reception Theory PASSIVE Hypodermic Needle Theory The is a widely cited explanation of how mass audiences might react to mass media. It suggests that the media 'injects' ideas and views directly into the brains of the audience like a hypodermic needle, therefore controlling the way that people think and behave. The audiences passively receive the information transmitted via a media text, without any attempt on their part to process or challenge the data - we are therefore vulnerable from consuming media texts and easily manipulated by producers. We accept dominant ideologies as the norm. However, this theory was developed in an age when the radio and cinema were only two decades old - so the mass media was quite new. It was especially seen in Europe during the First World War when the government produced the propaganda which they used to try and sway the masses into their way of thinking.
  3. 3. Audience Reception Theory PASSIVE
  4. 4. Audience Reception Theory PASSIVE The Effects Theory, similarly to the previous theory suggests that the audience is passive. It also points out that the consumption of media texts has a negative effect/  influence upon the audience. In other words, if you watch something violent you may go and do something violent. The effects theory is most often cited as evidence of the dangers of violence in media. TV output that is too sexually explicit, too violent or offensive in other ways is censored, as it may influence the viewer to act the same way.
  5. 5. In order to protect children from unsuitable and even harmful content in films and videos and to give consumers information they might need about a particular film or video before deciding whether or not to view it, the BBFC examines and age rates films and videos before they are released. This independent scrutiny prior to release ensures the highest possible level of protection and empowerment. BBFC looks at issues such as discrimination, drugs, horror, dangerous and easily imitable behaviour, language, nudity, sex, and violence when making decisions. They also consider context, the tone and likely impact of a work on the potential audience. The BBFC rating of our film ‘Inside My Reality’ is a 15 – this is because the content includes frequent strong language, discriminatory language or behaviour and references to abuse and suicide.
  6. 6. Stanley Cohen defines 'Moral Panic' as ".. a mass response to a group, a person or an attitude that becomes defined as a threat to society." He argues that the media, especially news media, often create and/or enforce moral panics in the public. The term 'Folk Devil' is the name given to the object of the moral panic. Cultures who have been ‘demonised’ by the media throughout the decades; 70's – punks 80's - single mums 90's - immigrants 00's - youth Moral Panics & Folk Devils Throughout each era, a group has emerged who 'fits' the criteria of having a potential threat to social order. They all become associated with certain types of violence, which in turn also provoke public reaction and emotion, as topics in their own right. Such issues as football hooliganism, drug abuse, vandalism and political demonstrations, all struck a chord in public opinion, but the impact might not have been on such a large scale, were it not for the part the mass media play in the exposition of the facts. (SOURCE) A recent example could be Marilyn Manson's music and it's alleged contribution in the Columbine Shooting. FIND OUT MORE
  7. 7. The media effects model is definitely based on simplistic and reductive suppositions and ungrounded stereotypes regarding media content. It doesn’t allow for resistance or rejection of media messages assuming that the audience is simple minded and unable to question the messages that are put across. According to this theory, the media considers it self as superior to the audience. Audience Reception Theory criticisms PASSIVE *The effects model tackles social problems ‘backwards’. Taking the example of violence in society, it starts with the media and then tries to develop connections from there on to social beings. It looks at individuals, rather than society, in relation to the mass media. *The effects model is selective in its criticisms of media depictions of violence. The antisocial acts shown in drama series and films are said to have an effect on the behaviour of viewers, however the same kind of violent activities is seen in the news so there’s no reason why the news should not have similar effects on the audience *The effects model treats children as inadequate. As if children (“negatively seen as non-adults) couldn’t understand or be critical, as children couldn’t cope with the media.  *Dave Gauntletts 'Ten things wrong with the media effects model' (source) *The effects model makes no attempt to understand meanings of the media. Theories forget that interpretations and perceptions are heterogeneous.
  8. 8. Audience Reception Theory Pluralist model suggests that the media is diverse, with a wide range of available choices for consumers and that the audience have an active role to play in the understanding of and creation of meaning within a media text. ACTIVE This idea is the exact opposite of a hegemonic one as it argues that there is diversity in society and therefore there is also choice (of what to believe in). So, because the audience (society) is diverse, with different points of view, rather than the media influencing consensus, consensus values influence media representations. In particular representations are dominant - pluralists argue, it is because they are popular among the audience, not because powerful media institutions are ‘pushing’ a particular ideology. After all, the main function of the mass media is to entertain and to please their audience: to provide representations that meet audience expectations. This is where stereotypes come in: they pander to the views of the audience. The more media institutions pander to their audiences, the more money they can make.
  9. 9. Audience Reception Theory Uses and Gratifications The   model  states that the audience was far from being a passive mass. In  fact, it was made up of individuals who actively consumed  texts for different reasons and in different ways.  Lasswell suggested that the media texts had following functions  for individuals and society: surveillance, correlation, entertainment  and cultural transmission. However, later on Blumer and Katz  expanded this theory saying that individuals might choose to use a  text for the following purposes: DIVERSION  escape from everyday problems and routine SURVEILLANCE  information which could be useful for living PERSONAL IDENTITY  finding yourself reflected in texts PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS  using the media for interactions  ACTIVE
  10. 10.  Here is a more detailed breakdown of the audience  motivation that I have made (Denis McQuail): 
  11. 11. Stuart Hall  Readings within audiences analysed the readings within audiences as either:  1. Dominant/preferred reading the meaning they want you to have is usually accepted 2. Negotiated Reading the dominant reading is only partially recognised or accepted and audiences  might disagree with some of it or fine their own meanings 3. Oppositional Reading the dominant reading is refused, rejected because the reader disagrees with  it or is offended by it, especially for political, religious, feminist reasons Meanings behind the text are encoded and decoded according to ones 'situated culture' (personal, small scale communications we have on a day to day basis).
  12. 12. characteristics of  source Passive (effects happen to us) Active (meanings happen with us) Largely subconscious (we don’t know  effects are happening) Conscious (we work to create meanings  and know we are doing so) Inaccessible to self-evaluation and  critical examination Accessible to self-evaluation and critical  examination Do not build on prior knowledge Build on prior knowledge More uniform and individual (acultural) More varied and socially-influenced  (culturally-rooted) Cannot be taught Can be taught What media do to audiences What media do with audiences Social Scientific Tradition (Scientific— Stimulus/Response) Literary or Historical Traditions  (Humanist—Reflection-based)
  13. 13. Theorist Quotes Julian McDougall suggests that in the online age it is getting harder to conceive a media audience as a stable, identifiable group - McQuail describes it as a 'temporary collective'. The 'online age' is made up of mainly young adults who share common identity and who follow trends eventually, the trends change and the young adults grow up, find other interests and move on. Therefore the audience is temporary and definitely not stable.
  14. 14. The sociologist Herbert Blumer about 1950's audience: Firstly, its membership may come from all walks of life, and all social strata, it may include people of different class position, vocation, cultural attainment and wealth. Secondly, the mass in an anonymous group or composed of anonymous individuals. Thirdly, there exists little interaction or change of experience between members of the mass who are usually physically separated and being anonymous do not have the opportunity to mill as do members of a crowd. Fourthly, the mass is loosely organised and is not able to act with the concernedness or unity of a crowd. The 50's audience is completely opposite of today as nowadays the new media technology allows us to interact and freely discuss a given media text. Due to the collectivism at the time the audience is really seen as a passive mass with no real importance of opinions and no individuality. Also, the class divide it not as big as in the 1950s - in the past there was a clear class structure, nowadays it's more balanced .
  15. 15. Ien Ang detailed that media producers have an imaginary entity in mind before the construction of a media product. "Audiences only exist as an imaginary entity, an abstraction, constructed from the vantage point of institution, in the interest of the institution." i.e. its less about the audience, and more about reflecting own agenda and ideology Ien Ang states that 'audience-hood is becoming an even more multifaceted, fragmented and diversified repertoire of practices and experiences' There is a lot more to audience – it’s not just about their demographics such as gender, age and social class but rather it’s about the psychographics such as the audiences hobbies, habits and interests. Audience is not a big lump of the same people – it’s made up of different individuals
  16. 16. John Hartley says that "institutions are obliged not to only speak about an audience, but - crucially, for them - to talk to one as well; they need not only to represent audiences but to enter into relation with them" i.e. companies must reach their audiences in order to find out more about them. BFI has a fund dedicated especially for educational purposes Hartley suggests that institutions must produce "invisible fictions of the audience which allow the institutions to get a sense of who they must enter into relations with"