Pertti Alasuutari provides a state-of-the-art summary of the field of audience research. With contributions from Ann Gray, Joke Hermes, John Tulloch and David Morley, a case is presented for a new agenda to account for the role of the media in everyday life. Only this new agenda, they suggest, can adequately account for our ubiquitous, highly reflexive, participation in modern media culture. Offering a thorough survey of audience research this volume also offers a provocative pointer to future directions and trends in reception research and qualitative analysis.

To Be an Audience

To Be an Audience

To be an audience

The focus of this chapter is on people's notions or cognitions of themselves in their role as television audience. On the basis of research findings it will be shown that we often carry several different audience identities within us. The social and moral dilemmas of television audiencehood will be discussed.

A Meta-Perspective on Audiences

According to McQuail, the term ‘audience’ is not only shared between media practitioners and theorists, but it has also ‘entered into everyday usage, seemingly recognised by the media public as an unambiguous description of themselves’ (1994: 283). Not necessarily unambiguous, we all at least recognize that we talk about ourselves as viewers, listeners and readers. We tell our friends that we usually fall asleep when we ...

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