Denis McQuail provides a coherent and succinct account of the concept of ‘media audience’ in terms of its history and its place in present-day media theory and research. McQuail describes and explains the main types of audience and the main traditions and fields of audience research. Audience Analysis explains the contrast between social scientific and humanistic approaches and gives due weight to the view ‘from the audience’ as well as the view ‘from the media.’ McQuail summarizes key research findings and assesses the impact of new media developments, especially transnationalization and new interactive technology.
Audience Practices: Social Uses of the Media
The approaches described in the two previous chapters have problematized the “audience” as an uncertain outcome of many individual acts of more or less motivated choice. These acts can, up to a point, be accounted for by a number of interacting causal factors—the pushes of individual needs and social pressures, the disposition of circumstances, the relative attraction of particular media offerings. This way of formulating the problem stems from the motives that have guided most audience research: meeting the needs of media industries or the aims of media propagandists and responding to public concerns about harmful media effects.
From each of these perspectives, media use tends to be viewed ...