• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Audiences are problematic and the study of audiences has represented a key site of activity in the social sciences and humanities. Offering a timely review of the past 50 years of theoretical and methodological debate Audiences argues the case for a paradigmatic shift in audience research. This shift, argue the authors, is necessitated by the emergence of the `diffused audience'. Audience experience can no longer be simply classified as `simple' or `mass', for in modern advanced capitalist societies, people are members of an audience all the time. Being a member of an audience is no longer an exceptional event, nor even an everyday event, rather it is constitutive of everyday life. This book offers an invaluable rev

Forms of the Audience
Forms of the audience

The essence of the Spectacle/Performance paradigm by comparison with the Incorporation/Resistance paradigm is a redefinition of what an audience is and what it does. 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.

In the previous chapter, ...

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