Download Audiences: A Sociological Theory of Performance and by Nick Abercrombie, Brian Longhurst PDF

By Nick Abercrombie, Brian Longhurst

Audiences are problematical and the learn of audiences has represented a key web site of task within the social sciences and arts. supplying a well timed evaluate of the previous 50 years of theoretical and methodological debate Audiences argues the case for a paradigmatic shift in viewers examine.

This shift, argue the authors, is necessitated via the emergence of the `diffused audience'. viewers event can now not be easily labeled as `simple' or `mass', for in sleek complex capitalist societies, everyone is participants of an viewers for all time. Being a member of an viewers is not any longer a good occasion, nor even a regular occasion, relatively it really is constitutive of daily life. This publication deals a useful rev

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Extra info for Audiences: A Sociological Theory of Performance and Imagination

Example text

Audiences can be active and give their own meanings to texts without any implication that the preferred meaning of the text is being subverted. Furthermore, even if the preferred reading is subverted by a particular section of the audience, other sections of the audience may well have their prejudices confirmed by that preferred reading. Third, in celebrating the activity of the audience, the artistic or moral poverty of the text may be concealed and there is the real danger of a kind of populism in which particular pieces of popular music or particular television programmes must be good just because the audience is active in relation to them.

In this chapter we explore these issues by contrasting three types of audience experience - the simple audience, the mass audience and the diffused audience. In contemporary societies all three types of audience experience are present. Pre-modern societies, on the other hand, manifest only simple audiences. It is therefore important to note that the distinction between simple, mass and diffused audiences is both synchronic and diachronic. We will want to argue that mass and diffused audiences develop out of simple audiences, created by the forces of modernization, but do not replace them.

For example, Curran (1990) argues that television texts are not infinitely open; even if they contain a plurality of meanings, there is definitely one preferred reading and that is bound to limit what audiences can do with the text. Second, there may be a danger of confusing the active audience with the resistant audience. As Cobley (1994) points out, activism does not of itself give power or even the capacity to resist. Audiences can be active and give their own meanings to texts without any implication that the preferred meaning of the text is being subverted.

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