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MDSA02H3 (54)
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Chapter 10

MDSA01 - Chapter 10: Reception Analysis

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Media Studies
Ted Petit

10Reception AnalysisThis chapter asks the question What is the role of the actual audience in the process of meaningmaking in the mediaReception scholars primarily seek to understand the personal meanings that individuals make of mass media texts in relation to their lived social systems and experiencesThe power of audiences in shaping the media landscapeInstead of looking at how media content or production practices influence helpless media consumers Reception analysis supports the notion of an active audience constantly reformulating the meanings of a media text across lines of race class gender sexuality and moreReception theory stresses audience interpretation as the primary site of meaningmakingThe Traditional View of AudiencesHypodermic ModelThe earliest model of media effects research the audience are viewed as mindless vessels ready to receive media messagesAlso known as the Hypodermic needle approach this research tradition was predominantly interested in outlining how the mass media injected particular meanings into consumersThe media messages meant only exactly what producers intended them to mean and audiences were unable to ignore or negotiate themAudience is seen as highly passive They receive the message and do nothing to shape its meaningmedia injects people with various beliefs and they absorb these beliefs as isWeaknesses of this approachMessages do not mean the same thing to every person and the audience does not just absorb any and all media messagesBecause of the weaknesses to this approach Paul Lazarsfeld proposed the twostep flow model TwoStep FlowCertain individuals in the audience attend more carefully to media than others opinion leadersMass media messages would influence these individuals who in turn disseminate the information to secondary audiencesIn other words media effects are indirectly established through the personal influence of opinion leadersThe majority of people receive much of their information and are influenced by the media secondhand through the personal influence of opinion leaders Opinion leaders are those initially exposed to a specific media content
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