Download Making Sense of Television: The Psychology of Audience by Sonia Livingstone PDF

By Sonia Livingstone

Taking the cleaning soap opera as a case examine, this publication explores the 'parasocial interplay' humans have interaction in with tv programmes. It appears on the nature of the 'active viewer' and the position of the textual content in social psychology. It additionally investigates the present theoretical versions provided through social psychology and different discourses. This moment variation takes into consideration contemporary learn paintings and theoretical advancements in fields similar to narrative psychology, social illustration conception and ethnographic paintings on audiences, and watch for the constructing function of viewers learn. it will likely be a necessary examine for college students and teachers in social psychology and media reviews.

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Extra resources for Making Sense of Television: The Psychology of Audience Interpretation

Example text

For example, with what reliability can certain meanings be said to underlie the manifest meaning, or, how validly do frequency patterns index the symbolic importance of a theme or association? T h e problem remains, however, for both structural and content analysis, that the meanings which analysts find in the text may not be those which a reader finds. Both conceive of text meaning as fixed, stable and given irrespective of the context of reception and the activity of the viewers. O n e may resort to explanations such as false consciousness—arguing that the viewer does pick u p the meanings identified by the analyst even though the opposite seems to be t r u e , or to simply seeing the viewer as wrong—having m a d e a nonsense of the text by misinterpreting the real meanings.

Thus empirical evidence of divergent readings is uncritically taken as evidence for an open text. Yet this is quite different from Eco's original use of the concept, and is in fact the opposite of Eco's meaning. As described above, closed texts are more indeterminate because 42 Making Sense of Television of their inability to control or anticipate actual social conditions of reading, while the b r e a d t h of vision and demanding nature of the open text makes unexploited interpretative resources and hence unanticipated readings far less likely: A s for aberrant presuppositions and deviating circumstances, they are not realizing any openness, but, instead, producing mere states of indeterminacy.

But for a media researcher or psychologist, if a highly popular television text merely requires repeated rehearsal of stereotyped knowledge, this must be studied for its experien­ tial consequences. Problems with reader-oriented theories The concept of the open text has been enthusiastically adopted by researchers of popular culture in the last few years. In the process, the concept has become somewhat blurred in meaning. Specifically, it is most frequently used as a synonym for indeterminacy. For example, Bucking­ ham (1987) writes 'Soap operas can therefore be seen to possess a greater degree of " o p e n n e s s " or "indeterminacy" than many other television genres' (p.

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