Audience research at the crossroads: the 'implied audience' in media and cultural theory.
European Journal of Cultural Studies, 1
While audience research, particularly reception studies, has successfully furthered the diverse traditions from which it developed, there now seems to be some uncertainty about the way forward: audience research is at a crossroads. This article argues that the future agenda should not restrict itself to repeating the cultural studies 'canon' of reception research, but should strengthen external relations between audience research and other domains of media and cultural studies, challenging the 'implied audience' - the ways in which audiences are theorized outside audience theory — within the realms of political, policy, technological, economic and social theory. It is further proposed that by developing a multi-level conception of audiences that analytically links the macro and the micro, several existing problems facing reception studies - particularly concerning the nature of audience activity and resistance - may be addressed.
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