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Audiences are problematic. From both left and right they have been the subject of concern and debate. On the one hand, this has been expressed through fears about the effects of the mass media on a variety of different audiences; on the other, there is worry about the role of the media in the ideological framing of responses to key issues. Given the centrality of these debates, which recur perennially within media discourse itself, it is not surprising that the study of audiences has represented a key growth area of activity in the social sciences and humanities in recent times. There is now a vast amount of research and many books and articles on the audience, in particular the audience for television. Our view ...

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