- Subject index
Picking up on some of the themes developed in his critically acclaimed book Understanding Audiences (SAGE), this new book on audience research focuses on qualitative methods and will draw upon students’ own media experience. Structured around contemporary topics, including celebrity and reality TV, Investigating Audiences is designed with the needs of lecturers and students in mind. The book is divided into chapters that deal with audience research in terms of concepts and topics. Regarding concepts, Investigating Audiences is firmly grounded within interpretive approaches to studying viewers, readers, and listeners.
Chapter 3: Media, Pleasure and Identity: The Meaning of the Meaningless
Media, Pleasure and Identity: The Meaning of the Meaningless
An early foray into audience research found me sitting in an American middle class living room asking a man and his teenage sons why they enjoyed The Simpsons (Ruddock, 1997). I had decided that the animated series was replete with politically subversive messages, including an opening sequence offering an Althusserian critique of American living. Louis Althusser's neo-Marxist analysis argued that social and cultural institutions worked in league with capital and the state to reproduce class divisions (1972). Paul Willis used these ideas in Learning to Labour (1977). His study characterized the UK educational system as an ambition suppressant. Far from maximizing potential, schools ensured that, as the book's ...