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Lecture 2

CMN 4166 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Focus Group, Jodie Foster, Fetus


Department
Communication
Course Code
CMN 4166
Professor
Gary Evans
Lecture
2

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Lecture 2
Theories
Effects theory
!You watch something and it has an affect on you
Two step flow theory
!People form their opinions under the influence of opinion leaders
who in turn are influenced by the mass media.
Uses and gratification theory (replaced from two step flow theory)
!John Fiske
!Individuals are actively engaging with the things that they are being
subjected to.
Using fame to promote social causes around the world.
Katz & Lazarsfled articulated the two step flow model of communication.
!From radio and print to opinion leaders who then influence the less
active sections of the population.
!Thus interpersonal relations affect a negotiated understanding of
dynamic between media and audiences.
Bandura and Walters (1960s) then developed the ‘media effects’ debate
especially with their study of effects on children of viewing violence, a
debate that resonates vis a vis amounts of TV exposure.
Blumler & Katz in 1970s developed the ‘uses and gratification’ approach, i.e.
that mass communication is used by people to connect to others. Types?
Diversion, personal relationships, personal identity & surveillance.
Fiske purposed this by stating that a message is what an audience makes of
it, in spite of the fact that ‘media reporting’ seems to have had a basic
influence on people’s point of view.
Raymond Williams noted how tv programs and ads flow together in spite
breaks in the TV schedule because they all share similar styles and content
producing a flow of emotions not necessarily linked to shows or ads.
Jancovich and Lyons went on to note that from this essential (or
aoppointment) viewing “must see tv” has changed the way viewers watch TV
critically and emotionally.
The rise of DVD and internet has changed all this since Williams’ idea of flow
no longer holds true.
Early 2000s, rediscovery of Stuart hall’s 1980 encoding/decoding
paradigm:

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!Audiences decode a text from
o!a) Dominant hegemonic position
!!e.g. ad for BMW car
!!people will see BMW as a status symbol
!!Dominant hegemonic position would be guys who have
the money convince you to buy something you didn’t
need, but now you do.
o!b) by using a negotiated code employing exceptions to the
rule and oppositional code where they viewer reads a term
OPPOSITE to that which the dominant media intended.
Ruddick noted that in FICTION, audiences often deny the preferred reading
and bring to it something entirely different from what the producers
intended.
Ethnographically what we see is what we are as people.
Create a need where one never existed.
Morley pursued the problems if encoding/decoding noting that
!a) There is a slide towards intentionality
!b) that TV is a conveyor belt for messages and the audience does
not easily arrive at its own “meaning” and
!c) decoding involves very separate processes, i.e. (as Jen Ang
stated) audiences assign a variety of meanings, especially as they
seek out and enjoy the PLEASURE of viewing experience and
identifying with characters.
Some contemporary theorists (like Alsuutari) challenge the three phases
(or generations) of audience research as being too chronomigical if
not along too didactic:
!a) effects
!b) uses and gratification
!c)
TV is a polusernic medium, i.e. comprising many signs generated through
variety of codes, visual, verbal, technical, nonverbal, etc.
New developments in audience research: tv while you wait.
Public TV is remarkably for persons ‘waiting for the next thing to happen.’
McCarthy calls this ambient television.
McCarthy asks if there is this deep structure of TV spectatorship, especially
if the viewer is waiting for an upcoming program, or better music video.
How to explain what happens when the resumption of the narrative is
interrupted by commercials, etc.
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