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Personal Relationships
This section comes in two parts. We can form a relationship with the media,
and also use the media ...
Personal Relationships
This section comes in two parts. We can form a relationship with the media,
and also use the media ...
Escapism
Escapism involves watching the television so we can forget about our own lives
and problems for a while and think...
Personal Identity
Personal identity explains how being a subject of the media allows us to
reaffirm the identity and posit...
Surveillance
Surveillance is based around the idea that people feel better having the feeling
that they know what is going...
Surveillance
Surveillance is based around the idea that people feel better having the feeling
that they know what is going...
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02Audience Theory Handout - Audience Pleasures

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02Audience Theory Handout - Audience Pleasures

  1. 1. Personal Relationships This section comes in two parts. We can form a relationship with the media, and also use the media to form a relationship with others. Relationships with the Media Many people use the television as a form of companionship. This may seem sad, but think about how many times you've watched TV on your own, or with other people but sitting in silence. By watching the same people in a programme on a regular basis we can often feel very close to them, as if we even know them. When presenters or characters in a soap die, those who have watched that person a lot often grieve for the character, as if they have lost a friend. Some events can even cause media outcries, such as the imprisonment of Deirdre from the TV soap Coronation Street, which caused many national newspapers to campaign for her release. We also talk to the TV a lot. Not many football fans can sit through a televised match without shouting at the players or the referee, and many people tell characters what to (or not to do) next. “Don't go down the stairs in your nightie! No don't open the door! No...!!!” The more we watch the same personalities, the more we feel we get to know them. Reality TV shows such as Big Brother give us such a feeling of intimacy with the participants that they can become part of our lives. Even though the relationship is completely one-sided, it's easy to see how we can fall in love with TV personalities.
  2. 2. Personal Relationships This section comes in two parts. We can form a relationship with the media, and also use the media to form a relationship with others. Using the Media to form Relationships with others Another aspect to personal relationships is how we can sometimes use the media as a springboard to form and build upon relationships with real people. Having a favourite TV programme in common can often be the start of a conversation, and can even make talking to strangers that much easier. “Did you see Glee last night?” Some families use sitting around watching the television as a starter for conversation, talking to each other about the programme or related stories while it is on. This kind of use (as well as some of the others), is heavily satirised in the BBC sit-com The Royle Family.
  3. 3. Escapism Escapism involves watching the television so we can forget about our own lives and problems for a while and think about something else. This can work with positive programmes, such as sit-coms which make us laugh or even holiday shows which cheer us up and help us to forget our own problems, and with negative programmes, such as the bleak EastEnders or a tragic film, which help to put our own problems into perspective. “At least my life's not that bad!” Escapism also accounts for using the media for entertainment purposes, such as a good thriller film (to get the brain thinking), and for relaxation (slumping in front of the telly, don't care what's on).
  4. 4. Personal Identity Personal identity explains how being a subject of the media allows us to reaffirm the identity and positioning of ourselves within society. This can mostly be seen in soaps, which try to act as a microcosm of society as a whole. The characters in soaps are usually designed to have wildly different characteristics, so that everyone can find someone to represent themselves, someone to aspire to, and someone to despise. For example you might feel close to a character who is always falling victim to other people, and this connection might help you to understand and express your own feelings. You may also really like a character who seems 'cool' and leads a lifestyle you'd like to lead. This relationship could act as a way to channel your own life, helping you to set goals to work to. Finally there may be a character you really can't stand. By picking out their bad characteristics and decisions, it helps you to define your own personal identity by marking out what you're not like... “oh, she shouldn't have done that” The use of the media for forming personal identity can also be seen outside soaps. Sports personalities and pop stars can often become big role models, inspiring young children everywhere (which is why there's such an outcry when one of them does something wrong).
  5. 5. Surveillance Surveillance is based around the idea that people feel better having the feeling that they know what is going on in the world around them. One of the genres this is often applied to is news. By watching or reading about news we learn about what is happening in the world, and as the news is usually bad news, this knowledge leaves us feeling more secure about the safety of our own lives. This idea might seem a bit strange, that the more we know about tragedies the safer we feel, but sociologists argue that ignorance is seen as a source of danger, and so the more knowledge we have the safer we feel. When looking at the news it's easy to spot news items that give us this reaction. For example if it wasn't for watching the news we might be unknowingly left with five pound notes that are worthless, or become vulnerable to the latest computer virus, or end up in a hospital. It's not just news that fulfils ‘surveillance’ however, the theory can also be seen in many consumer and crime-appeal programmes such as Watchdog, Rogue Traders and CrimeWatch. These appeal directly through the idea that they are imparting information that people need to know. The programmes talk far more directly to the viewer, and even try to get the viewer involved in the programme. Because these programmes deal purely with national and local concerns, the issues have the potential to affect the viewer directly. By watching the programme we are finding out about which particular insurance companies are a con, how mobile phone muggings are taking place and the tricks plumbers use to charge us through the roof. This knowledge of life's potential pitfalls gives us the feeling that we are more able to avoid them (though in reality it's hard to see how this actually happens). The surveillance model then is all about awareness. We use the mass media to be more aware of the world, gratifying a desire for knowledge and security.
  6. 6. Surveillance Surveillance is based around the idea that people feel better having the feeling that they know what is going on in the world around them. One of the genres this is often applied to is news. By watching or reading about news we learn about what is happening in the world, and as the news is usually bad news, this knowledge leaves us feeling more secure about the safety of our own lives. This idea might seem a bit strange, that the more we know about tragedies the safer we feel, but sociologists argue that ignorance is seen as a source of danger, and so the more knowledge we have the safer we feel. When looking at the news it's easy to spot news items that give us this reaction. For example if it wasn't for watching the news we might be unknowingly left with five pound notes that are worthless, or become vulnerable to the latest computer virus, or end up in a hospital. It's not just news that fulfils ‘surveillance’ however, the theory can also be seen in many consumer and crime-appeal programmes such as Watchdog, Rogue Traders and CrimeWatch. These appeal directly through the idea that they are imparting information that people need to know. The programmes talk far more directly to the viewer, and even try to get the viewer involved in the programme. Because these programmes deal purely with national and local concerns, the issues have the potential to affect the viewer directly. By watching the programme we are finding out about which particular insurance companies are a con, how mobile phone muggings are taking place and the tricks plumbers use to charge us through the roof. This knowledge of life's potential pitfalls gives us the feeling that we are more able to avoid them (though in reality it's hard to see how this actually happens). The surveillance model then is all about awareness. We use the mass media to be more aware of the world, gratifying a desire for knowledge and security.

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