• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Reception Theory

Reception theory emphasizes the active role played by the spectator in constructing and interpreting the meaning of a text. In contrast to theories that understand the audience as passive, simply absorbing the meanings and messages embedded in a text, reception theorists argue that meaning emerges processually in the interaction between the text and the socially situated audience. Thus, through qualitative methodology, such as ethnography and in-depth interviewing, reception scholars seek to capture the concrete ways in which audiences make sense of texts within a particular historical and cultural context. Reception theory is difficult to characterize, as it is interdisciplinary in origin and broad and diffuse in practice, embracing many of the methodological and theoretical commitments of the Chicago school of sociology and often defining itself ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles