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Audience theories

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Kiri Thompson

on 6 January 2016

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Transcript of Audience theories

People commit violence because of all the violence on TV and in computer games. If we didn't allow violence in computer games and on TV children wouldn't hurt each other or grow up to be violent.
The Hypodermic Model
This model suggests that audiences passively absorb the content of media texts.

According to this model there is a direct correlation between the content of TV, video games etc. and the behaviours and values of audiences. Modern anti-social and criminal behaviour can be largely attributed to the influence of the media.
Is the media to blame?
School Shootings
Psychologists (Bandura, Ross and Ross) have carried out experiments that claim to verify the cause and effect relationship between the media and the behaviour of audiences.
Bandura's experiments involved showing small children a recording of a young woman behaving violently towards a Bobo doll and observing their subsequent behaviour toward a similar doll.
To what extent do you agree?
McCabe and Martin
argue that imitations of violence was a likely outcome of media violence due to the common representations of such behaviour as heroic.

This convinces children that under some circumstances the normal social rules applying to violence can be suspended - this is known as 'disinhibition effect'.
Can you think of examples of specific texts that make violence seem heroic?

Do you agree with the idea of the 'disinhibition effect'?
It is also suggested by some feminist sociologists (Morgan, 1980) that there is a strong link between increasing consumption of pornography and sexual violence. Dworkin suggests that pornography trivialises rape and sexual violence.

Other research (Denmark, 2007) suggests that pornography promotes a healthier attitude to sex.
What about a causal link between fashion models and the way that young girls perceive their own bodies?
Can you come up with arguments against the hypodermic model?
Blumler and Katz
Uses and Gratifications

The uses and gratifications theory puts emphasis on the audience as active participants in a relationship between media and audience, rather than a passive, message absorbing, sponge.
In the uses and gratifications theory the audience seeks out interactions with the media to fulfill a particular need.

For instance, in social situations people might feel more comfortable if they have certain facts and information about particular events to fuel conversation. By seeking out media the need to be informed is fulfilled.

What kinds of texts might fulfill this need?
Gauntlett (2008) suggests that people, particularly children, do not behave the same under laboratory conditions as they would do in their natural environment - children, for instance, generally have their media interactions monitored/controlled by their parents.
Moment of encoding
Moment of text
Moment of decoding
Stuart Hall
Reception theory
Stuart Hall believed that the emphasis in the making of meaning did not belong with the text, but with the consumer.
From here
To here
What was the basis of what Stuart Hall believed in relation to models like the hypodermic model?
There are 4 categories for uses and gratifications:
Entertainment and diversion. Pleasure of the text is being transported into the world of the film and forget about daily life.
usually through empathy with the main character, through the positioning of the camera, making him/her central to almost every shot. We know it is their story, so we care what happens to them and we follow them.
Social interaction
and personal relationships - discussing the texts with others at work, or at home or on facebook - participating in social experience of audience responses.
for information and education - to find out about an issue, perhaps vicariously through someone else's experience - that you would not otherwise get an opportunity to experience.
How do you use media texts? For any or all of these reasons? Can you think of examples of specific texts that you use for any of these reasons?
Cultivation Analysis
Cultivation analysis similarly views the audience as passive but, crucially looks at a longer term impact.

Cultivation analysis looks at how media texts affect attitudes and understanding of the world - ideology - rather than behaviour.
Cultivation analysis argues that the media are able to cultivate a particular view of the world over a long period of time through storytelling about the world which the audience accepts
Pick 'n' Mix Media
This is another active audience theory which was theorised by David Gauntlett.

According to this approach the audience actively chooses different types of media for different needs.
This means that because we have actively chosen and use it for our own needs and it is seen within the context of
Youth Violence
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