Chapter Synopsis



Chapter Synopsis
Chapter 5, “Theoretical Perspectives on Audiences,” moves from examining content and media forms alone (Chapter 4) to examining the interaction between content and audiences. There are three major parts.

The opening theoretical synthesis sets the stage for the chapter by pointing out that the media and the audience—and the culture of which they are both a part—are active in the meaning creation process. Media produce programs and create meaning. Audience members take those messages (programs) and make of them what they will, thereby also creating meaning for themselves. Both the media and the audience create meaning from within the framework of the culture of which they are a part and, in doing so, contribute to the evolution of that culture.
With this beginning theoretical synthesis in place, the chapter then reviews a number of perspectives on audiences. These perspectives represent attempts by scholars to define the nature of the interaction between audiences and the media. The exploration begins with effects, agenda-setting, and cultivation analysis. In part as a reaction of middle-class US researchers against the Frankfurt School

The advocates of this perspective argued that the important element was what the audience did with the media content to which they were exposed: for example, modelling the behaviour of the main characters or media consumption as a way of spending time together.
In the simplest terms, the Frankfurt School extended Marx’s notion that the capitalist system favoured the accumulation of wealth by the few over the many into the culture industry. They argued that the industrialization of cultural production effectively deprived the many from participating in the articulation and celebration of their own realities. Entertainment was produced for the benefit of the few producers in two ways: they accumulated wealth and they extended the ideology that legitimized their position in society.

In the same way that effects research spawned derivative perspectives so too did British cultural studies, which developed out of and as a reaction against the constraints introduced by the Frankfurt school. Cultural studies maintained a critical orientation, but concerned itself with the position in which the media tended to put the audience, how audience members used media content, and what kind of

position in society they were left in through that engagement. Feminist research has built on both cultural studies and Marxism. The structure is much the same as cultural studies, however. The villain in the piece is not the capitalist, but the (capitalist) male and hence patriarchy. (Some US feminists have argued that feminism is much more broadly conceived and merely privileges the position of women in its focus.)

Reception analysis takes into account the social setting and what audiences bring to media content in their active engagement in meaning making.
Industry audience research is completely different from all of the preceding points because it asks a different set of questions. Industry studies take the audience as a given and explore such elements as audience size, the age of audience members, the amount of time people spend being audience members, the products audience members of certain publications or programs buy, and whether the audience for this or that type of program is increasing or decreasing, and so on. Particular attention is paid in the appendix to Canada’s Print Measurement Bureau database, the most comprehensive analyses of a national magazine audience in

Part I, composed of Chapters 1, 2, and 3, provided an overview of the media and communication in society. Part II, which begins with Chapter 4, first explores theoretical perspectives dealing with media content, and the interaction between media content and audience interpretation or user engagement.

Though somewhat long, Chapter 4 is interesting reading because it delves into the nature of the production of content (and therefore meaning), as well as the various ways in which created content and meaning can be understood. Another way to state the same idea would be to say that it explores various levels or types of analysis of content that can provide insight into the transmission and transformation of meaning.

The opening section introduces a number of terms that set the stage for the rest of the chapter. Representation, symbolic production, signification, indeterminacy of representation, denotative/connotative, hermeneutics, and multiplicity of meaning (or polysemy) are all important. An underlying and significant point in all of them is that communication theorists are less interested in truth (what a message really says, because that is indeterminate or unanswerable)

han in the manner in which human beings make meaning out of messages.
Following this is a review of a variety of approaches theorists have used to study and understand media content. You will recognize some, such as literary criticism. You will also see from both the headings and the descriptions how there are certain clusters of interpretive frameworks (e.g., structuralism, semiotics, and post-structuralism). You might find the following helpful.
Structuralism and semiotics address the underlying elements of content. Post-structuralism brings us back to the distinguishing features of content, rather than their underlying elements. Discourse analysis, like post-structuralism, is concerned with context. Quantitative content analysis is a rather mechanical procedure for counting repeated elements. Political-economic analysis looks at ownership, control, and business variables and shows how they extend into content production. And genre or media form analysis is an extension of McLuhan’s notion that the medium itself structures the message.

The following section, entitled “Media Creating Meaning: Possibilities and Limitations,” deals with how the media pull elements of lived reality out of society and re-presents them back to members of society, thereby binding themselves to meaning generation. Like a lifestyle ad that foregrounds a product in a highly valued social activity, media select social behaviour for presentation and thereby integrate themselves into the societies in which they reside.
Such integration is not limited to everyday social interaction, but rather it is part and parcel of the manner in which the media interact with the political dynamics of a country. The discussion in the chapter extends to a consideration of how far the media must reflect society and how easily they can generate false impressions.

The chapter also contains a useful appendix that provides an example of a semiotic analysis.

ssay 1 (20%)
Chapter 4 looks at different perspectives on the study of media content and Chapter 5 reviews the theories of the effects of media on audiences. Using examples of each of these approaches to media research, discuss the ways in which audiences can be, but are not always, transformed or affected by media content.

Your essay should be 1,500 words, typed and double-spaced.

Although the content of your work is the priority, please note that style, structure, and proper referencing are also important to the overall presentation of your work. Poorly written work inevitably receives a lower grade.

Expectations and Suggestions
Your goal is to demonstrate both your understanding of the course material and your ability to apply this newfound knowledge (i.e., the course material and content) to relevant examples.

Most important is that you demonstrate your understanding of the main ideas and concepts in your own words, not just by quoting from the textbook. You must illustrate how you can apply these ideas and concepts by using relevant examples to strengthen your key points or arguments.

You must also demonstrate your ability to think beyond the information and analysis pr

presented. You are required to demonstrate academic relevance/references in all your examples.

The tutor-marker will look for how you process the course information and apply this knowledge to the wider world.

Points to Remember
Include the question at the top of the first page. If you want to create a separate title under it, fine, but don’t omit the question.
Don’t be afraid to use headings. If the textbook does, so can you. This is not an English class.
Bold opinion does not belong in an essay. A point of view supported by facts and argument does.
Use a spell checker.
Read the essay out loud. If you stumble, your sentence construction is probably awkward.
Look at the essay-marking rubric your tutor-marker will use.

Grade of A

The title is strong.
Topics are set in significant relationships and relevant contexts.
The introduction briefly identifies the sources and the topic.
The introduction describes a position in relation to the topic.
The introduction expresses a position as a thesis stemming from an interesting question about the topic, and indicates how the paper will be developed (explicitly or implicitly).
The introduction leaves the reader feeling prepared to engage with the argument; motivated, and intrigued.
The main sections of the essay contain reminders of the topical focus of the paper.
The reader can accurately predict what is coming next.
The discussion section of the essay contains details that illustrate or provide evidence for the points being made.
The discussion section explicitly states the significance of the evidence and reasons the examples are used. The evidence is strongly organized and prioritized, and includes multiple sources.
The paper demonstrates ability to address an opposing or alternative view.
Synthesis of lectures and texts is apparent. Factual information represents what is generally accepted as historically accurate.
There’s a good balance of detail and

The evidence is correctly referenced.
There is intense engagement with the material. The paper demonstrates an exceptional grasp of how to deepen, extend, or modify the material within this field.
The main points of argument are summarized in brief synthesis in the conclusion of the paper.
The conclusion does not just stick to the scope of the topic or paper.
The significance of the material is developed in the conclusion of the paper.
There is some aesthetic linkage between the main title allusion and the conclusion or argument.
The text is grammatical and conventionally punctuated.
Reading is enabled by sophisticated and appropriate vocabulary and syntax, including fluent use of transitions.
References are conventionally and accurately reported.
Quoted material is properly cited.
The paper is interesting to read.
The writer tackles the subject confidently and with some energy.
The mode of reasoning is clearly interpretive and distinctive. It may include abstract reasoning, by allegory or metaphor.
The paper is highly original.
The paper demonstrates that the student can handle theoretical complexity.
The paper is a leader in the field.

"Looking for a Similar Assignment? Get Expert Help at an Amazing Discount!"