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

Spectacle and Narcissism

Spectacle and narcissism

In Chapter 2 we distinguished four levels at which one could speak of the diffused audience. First, people spend a lot of time in the consumption of mass media. For example, as Lewis (1991) notes, whereas earlier in the century most people spent their time working and sleeping, from 1950 or so they work, sleep and watch television. Second, the media are intensely pervasive in that they are very difficult to avoid in everyday life. Indeed, the media and everyday life have become so closely interwoven that they are almost inseparable. Third, contemporary society is a performative society. A good deal of human activity is constructed as a performance, whether it concerns the airline stewardesses' greeting of passengers embarking on ...

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