• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The SAGE Handbook of Media Studies examines the theories, practices, and future of this fast-growing field. Editor John Downing and associate editors Denis McQuail, Philip Schlesinger, and Ellen Wartella have brought together a team of international contributors to provide a varied critical analysis of this intensely interesting field of study. The Handbook offers a comprehensive review within five interconnected areas: humanistic and social scientific approaches; global and comparative perspectives; the relation of media to economy and power; media users; and elements in the media mosaic ranging from popular music to digital technologies, from media ethics to advertising, and from Hollywood and Bollywood to alternative media.

Audience and Readership Research
Audience and readership research

Any theory about the media is incomplete if it does not take audiences (or “readers”) into account. We may analyze texts and the processes through which they are produced, but without understanding audiences, such analyses can imply more than they deliver. To fully assess the media's role in society—its mediation, limitations, and sometimes unexpected implications—we need to study how people “read,” use, and respond to the media. This is perhaps the most difficult task of all. The audience is an ephemeral and inherently relational concept. Audiences are defined, at least initially, in relation to texts (films, news bulletins, soap operas) or objects (such as books, radio, or TV sets). Quite who constitutes the audience, as well as when, ...

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