Television, Audiences, and Cultural Studies

Television, Audiences, and Cultural Studies

Television, Audiences, and Cultural Studies

Television, Audiences, and Cultural Studies

Synopsis

Television, Audiences and Cultural Studiespresents a multi-faceted exploration of audience research, in which David Morley draws on a rich body of empirical work to examine the emergence, development and future of television audience research. In addition to providing an introductory overview from a cultural studies perspective, David Morley questions how class and cultural differences can affect how we interpret television, the significance of gender in the dynamics of domestic media consumption, how the media construct the 'national family', and how small-scale ethnographic studies can help us to understand the global-local dynamics of postmodern media systems.
Morley's work reconceptualises the study of 'ideology' within the broader context of domestic communications, illuminating the role of the media in articulating public and private spheres of experience and in the social organisation of space, time and community.

Excerpt

The sequence of the materials in this book is organized in an attempt to offer a particular reading of the trajectory of my research, as it has moved from the analysis of the ideological structure of factual television programmes, through a concern with the wider field of popular programming, towards the multifaceted processes of consumption and decoding in which media audiences are involved. This work has also involved an attempt to reframe the study of ideology within the broader context of domestic communications, entailing the interdiscursive connections of new technologies, broadcast media and family dynamics. Most recently, the work has been concerned with the fundamental role of the media in articulating the public and private spheres, and in the social organization of space, time and community. This, I would argue, is the proper context in which current debates about the role of the media in the construction of cultural identities can most usefully be situated (see Morley and Robins 1989, 1990 and 1992).

I am aware both of the dangers of hindsight, and of the dangers of claiming an over-coherent trajectory to this work. It has simply been a case of returning, again and again, to the same old questions about cultural power, sometimes reformulating those questions in different ways, and at various points shifting the angle of vision from which the questions have been asked.

The work can be said to have involved a series of shifts in its principal foci of interest, moving from a concern with questions of ideology and the analysis of televisual messages, through a set of questions concerning class structure and the decoding process, towards an emphasis on gendered viewing practices within the context of the family. From this point on, the work has been engaged in two principal shifts, one concerning the decentring of television as the focus of interest (towards a more inclusive concern with the uses of various information and communication technologies in the domestic sphere), and the other involving a broader consideration of the functions of such media in the construction of national and cultural identities within the context of a postmodern geography of the media.

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