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Active audiences?: the debate progresses but it is far from resolved

Livingstone, Sonia ORCID: 0000-0002-3248-9862 (2015) Active audiences?: the debate progresses but it is far from resolved. Communication Theory, 25 (4). pp. 439-446. ISSN 1050-3293

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Identification Number: 10.1111/comt.12078


The study of media audiences has long been hotly contested regarding their supposed power to construct shared meanings, to mitigate or moderate media influences, or to complete or resist the circuit of culture. Transformations in the media environment add further grounds for contestation over audience activity or passivity, so–called, given the increasing mediation and digitalization of all dimensions of modern societies. Yet despite such persistent contestation, audiences are often taken for granted within communication theory as, implicitly, an invisible and indivisible mass. The article notes that the audience project—and thus a grounded recognition of significance of ordinary people's collective and individual experiences of living in a digital age—seemingly must be reasserted for each generation of scholarship, rearticulating their role in relation to each new phase of sociotechnological change and, perhaps most interesting, reflexively rethinking “audiencing” as the very conditions of modernity are globally reconfigured. After reflecting on the possibility that Western audience researchers have come to take for granted the wider context of audiences' lives, the article observes that one benefit of globalization is a renewed necessity for researchers to articulate that which is taken for granted and thus seek ways to reinsert audiences into the wider analysis of the circuit of culture.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 International Communication Association
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 12 May 2015 13:29
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 18:30

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