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Audience Research► Producing data from research► Providing empirical evidence of audience behaviour or discursive evidence of audience responses.► Done commercially by media producers and distributors – ratings, market research► Done critically by media academics
Audience Theories► Creating new ideas / new ways of thinking about media audiences.► Audience research used to test out audience theories.► Effects.► Uses and gratifications.► Reception theory.► Ethnography.► Postmodern theory.► Media 2.0
Spectrum of behaviourismDirect TheoriesEffects of Activetheory AudiencesMedia stimulus is Audiences use mediafollowed by to satisfy particularstraightforward needs and to enableaudience the flow ofresponse “Effects debate” very communications from much alive – person to personSee Lasswelland the mass media andeffectiveness of social panicspropaganda
Media Effects ? (Behaviourism theories)► Benevolent? (education, Publicity, entertainment…)► Malign? (eg propaganda, hegemony)► Criticism: no study has conclusively identified or rejected the possibility of media effects
Early Models and Research► The Hypodermic Syringe Model► The Two-step Flow Hypothesis► Experiments► Claims 8
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.► Effects and ‘moral panics’.
► Violence and sex in media damaging childrenhttp://www.youtube.com/watch? v=B5QVaX32OdI&feature=fvw► Video Games Promote Racism, Sexism and Hatred - The Alan Titchmarsh Showhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_9nj-Xngpc► Beyond Good & Evil: Children, Media & Violent Timeshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CggjBd7o- PM&feature=related
Questions► How far do we agree that the media affect us?► What kind of forms do these effects take?► Is it possible to measure these effects? How would you do it?► What kind of variables or approaches need to be taken into consideration to explore audience research fully?
Fredic Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent (1955)► Two targets of his vitriolic attacks: Crime comics Television► 5 psychological problems identified: Passivity Misconception Imitation Identification Desensitization
Fredic Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent (1955)► Tests with children but unreliability of these artificial tests eg. The Duess Test – encourage research subjects to provide responses that researcher is expecting► [Also see the Bobo doll experiment]► These views : overstate media effects Understate capacity of children to distinguish fantasy from reality Have captured the public mood ever since! Have spurned many similar studies
Wertham’s spirit lives on…► Popular support and publicity, particularly during heightened incidents of violent crime in the real world.► Research: Explore other criticism of Wertham’s theories, for eg his focus on cases of juvenile delinquency and his lack of focus on socio- economic conditions to explain these unwanted behaviours► Media as scapegoat for the ills of society?
Effects research► Starts from a premise based in morals► Central question: “how much harm is done to vulnerable viewers by improper media materials?”► (see Gauntlett’s “10 things wrong with the effects model” for critique) 17
Problems► Assumes media affects behaviour, but this needs to be argued and evidenced. Distinctive message - can we assume there is ‘a (singular) reading’? Conceives audience as passive► Proof of media effects lies in advertising… Why would people pay for advertising if it had no EFFECT? 18
What is Violence?► What is “media violence”? Rank the following in terms of the most to the least violent: Itchy and Scratchy Saving Private Ryan The Sopranos Sin City Rambo News (fighting in Iraq) Boxing WWE wrestling Modern Warfare 2 19
Define► The point is are we even talking about comparable features, let alone are they the same? ► Because “media violence” exists only in the context of narrative, characters, genres, etc. It is simply a term that is impossible to define. 20
• The common sense argument is based on the need to protect children.• Difficult to question as within our society children are regarded as vulnerable, ignorant and irrational• BUT Buckingham (1996) observes that children become extremely sophisticated in reading media texts from an early age. Many children are frightened by horror but this is also true of the news. The ability to develop coping strategies for fiction but not for factual programmes shows the sophistication of children in reading texts.• See also Hodge and Tripp (1986) 21
Moral Panics and Media Effects► “It is now perhaps more interesting not to ask what the effects of television are, but rather why there is so much concern about the question” (Gauntlett)► Moral Panic – “a condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges as a threat to societal values and interests: its nature is presented in a stylised and stereotypical fashion by the mass media: the moral barricades are manned by editors, bishops, politicians and other right thinking people; socially accredited experts pronounce their diagnoses and solutions; ways of coping are evolved or (more often) resorted to.” (Cohen 1972, p.9) 22
Historical Perspective► Music halls in Victorian Britain – lawlessness and immorality► Football, 100 years ago – hooliganism► Bicycles, 1890s – cause of chaos and terror► Rock and roll, 1950s – “the Negro’s revenge”► Video Nasties, 1980s – “ban this sick filth”► Video Games, 1990s-now► Internet (IM, SNS), 2000s - now 23
Cultivation theory George Gerber et al. 1986)► Seeks to measure the long term effects of tv’s contributions to our conceptions of social reality► Tv (and other media) is too omnipresent for viewers to escape its “gradual encroachment” into our everyday lives.► Continued exposure to tv messages is likely to “reiterate, confirm and nourish” their values and perspectives (mainstreaming effect)
Cultivation theory (George Gerber et al. 1986)► Heavy tv viewers think differently to light viewers about the world around them► “Mean World Syndrome”► Eg. “Crime in prime time is at least 10 times as rampant as in the real world”► Concept of mainstreaming – appeal to broad audience interest homogenization of divergent views Gerber fears that tv broadcasting excludes diverse opinions (too much consensus – limited choice of ‘reasonable options’ represented)
Cultivation theory (George Gerber et al. 1986)Involves 3 Types of analysis;► Institutional process analysis;Eg. the production and distribution of a televised sporting event can be analysed in respect of how decisions are made and power exercised.► Message system analysis, ie extensive content analysis of media productions, such as children’ tv► Cultivation analysis = surveys of people’s opinions on certain subjects after tv viewing. Measures the differential in conceptions of “the outside world” between light and heavy viewers.
Cultivation theory (George Gerber et al. 1986)► “TV provides a guide and offers ‘tv answers’ to the question of how to act and behave in the outside world.” (including promotion of capitalist views in the western world)
Agenda setting and social functions of media (see McCombs and Shaw, 1972) similar to cultivation theory► Concerned with how public opinion is shaped by media► Again, looking at long term effects► Media agenda (patterns of news coverage) Public agenda (concerns of the public)
Implication – mass media create passive and drowsyaudience
McCombs and Gilbert, 1986► Extensive content analysis to show that “Through their routine structuring of social and political reality, the news media influence the agenda of public issues around which political campaigns and voter decisions are organized”► Salience given to certain news item by journalists► Stories selected in accordance with certain news values► See Hasina’s Presentation
Giving salience to certain news items:► Frequency of repetition (rolling news story)► Prominence with which items are displayed (headline, salience of media images over issues for readers/viewers etc.)► Degree of conflict (political scandals > newsworthy than consensus)► Framing of news item (in what context / when it appears eg. summer holiday weekend = news about excessive teenage drinking)
John Pilger’s The War You don’t See► http://g325crit.blogspot.com/
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=2IwIRNM5noY
Outfoxed What does Outfoxed reveal? Is this a shock? Power and influence Democracy and representation Who owns your media? How are you influenced?
Two Step Flow ModelKatz and Lazarsfeld,1955McQuail and Windahl,1986The stars are ‘opinion leaders’The circles are everyone else
Two step flow► Hasina’s presentation► Study of how people influence the flow of mass media messages► FIRST MAJOR REBUTTAL TO THEORIES OF MEDIA EFFECTS
► Katz and Lazarsfeld compare the role of opinion leaders to the role of media in influencing individuals’ decision-making processes.► Opinion leaders from all occupational groups, all socio-economic backgrounds► Ideas can flow from the media source To opinion leaders And from them to the less activeVery relevant today with sections of the populationnew and social media!
Joseph Kappler’s Phenomenistic approach (same line as 2 step flow)► Focuses on how audiences respond to media messages in a wider context► Looks at how media generates a stimulus to which audiences might respond BUT asserts that mass media cannot be seen in isolation from all other influences that cause human behaviour to change, or their attitudes or actions
Kappler’s conclusions► Media in most cases do not cause effects on their audiences► Instead they function as one component along a spectrum of factors which are “more likely to reinforce than to change” people’s behaviour and attitudes.
Kappler’s conclusions5 main mediating factors:1. An individual’s predisposed opinions and how these tend to mean they use media in selective ways2. The group to which the individual belongs and how the predispositions of the group impact on the individual’s opinions3. Interpersonal dissemination of media content (ie like- minded people)4. Opinion Leadership (similar to 2 step flow): OL use media messages to reinforce their predisposed opinions rather than simply relay what these messages have to say5. Role of mass media in a free enterprise society (prerequisite to please both advertisers and audiences institutions tend to produce content based on successful formulas rather than try out more innovative content and run risk of displeasing stakeholders)
Uses and GratificationsBlumer and Katz, 1974We USE media (active, not passive) for:► Diversion► Personal Relationships► Personal Identity► Surveillance
Blumer and Katz, 1974► Find out what they argue in their study (eg, need precedes the effect)► Find out in what ways this line of thinking has been created, particularly in today’s media- saturated society.► Eg some say that this theory smacks of a mere defence of media institutions’ oldest argument, ie. “we only give the people what they want”
Conclusion► Vested interests in appropriating blame at the doorstep of the media► Most frequent concern is new media/cultural behaviour and practices► All media content is not the same or even for everyone► Simplistic cause and effect claims are problematic 46
Spectrum of behaviourismDirect TheoriesEffects of Activetheory AudiencesMedia stimulus is Audiences use mediafollowed by to satisfy particularstraightforward needs and to enableaudience the flow ofresponse communications from person to personSee Lasswelland the Can you fit in all theeffectiveness of theories we have seenpropaganda along that spectrum?
4 Research Groups► Conduct your research using the relevant slides and finding more sources (which you will list), including at least 1 or 2 videos from YouTube or Vimeo or… Find at least one real example from the media to apply your theory to.► Prepare to PRESENT and TEACH your findings to the rest of the group (PPT or Prezi) – aim for 5 to 10 minutes.► Topics to choose from – 1 per ‘group’: Cultivation Theory Joseph Kappler’s Phenomenistic approach Uses and gratifications - Blumer and Katz, 1974 Uses and gratifications – criticism of the theory