Article

Critical Audience Studies

Adrienne Shaw, Katherine Sender and Patrick Murphy

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication


Published online November 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780190228613 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.619

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Critical audience studies is the branch of media research primarily concerned with what people do with the media they consume, rather than on the supposedly negative effects of media on people. Critical audience studies has long drawn on “ethnographic ways of seeing” to investigate the everyday uses of media in myriad contexts. This area of audience research has had to define who and what constitutes “an audience,” where audiences are located, and how best to understand how people’s lives intersect with media. Changes in media production and distribution technologies have meant that texts are increasingly consumed in transnational and transplatform ways. These changes have disrupted historical distinctions between producers and audiences. Critical cultural approaches should be considered from a largely qualitative perspective and look at feminist and global reception studies as foundational to the understandings of what audiences might be and how to study them. Taking video game players as a boundary example, we need to reconsider how contemporary media forms and genres, modes of engagement, and niche and geographically dispersed media publics affect audiences and audience research: what, or who, is an audience, how can we understand it, and through what methods might we research it now?

Keywords: audience studies; critical; reception; transnational; feminist; ethnography; qualitative research; digital games; television studies; communication and critical studies

Article.  12287 words. 

Subjects: Communication Studies

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