Throwing out the baby: Populism and active audience theory

Article


Cobley, P. 1994. Throwing out the baby: Populism and active audience theory. Media Culture and Society. 16 (4), pp. 677-687. https://doi.org/10.1177/016344379401600409
TypeArticle
TitleThrowing out the baby: Populism and active audience theory
AuthorsCobley, P.
Abstract

During the last ten years, active audience theory has taken a central place in cultural studies. In Media, Culture and Society alone there have been at least five major articles’ addressing methodological issues associated with audience theory. The most concerted critique so far is that of Seaman (1992), who puts to the test what he sees as some of the claims regarding the activity of media audiences. Focusing on British reception theorists, he challenges those features of their work which purportedly demonstrate the limited effects of the media and, in particular, the possibility that audiences produce ‘resistant’ readings which subvert the media’s power to control by imposing meaning. It seems that, for Seaman, research centred on the examination of readers’ meanings is almost wholly pointless. However, this is not the case for all critics of audience theory. Arguing against the tendency to isolate the study of media audiences from the study of media institutions, John Comer notes that the crucial problem is that media power as a political issue ‘has slipped almost entirely off the main research agenda’ (1991: 267).

PublisherSage
JournalMedia Culture and Society
ISSN0163-4437
Electronic1460-3675
Publication dates
Print01 Oct 1994
Online01 Oct 1994
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Apr 2020
Accepted01 Dec 1993
Output statusPublished
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/016344379401600409
Web of Science identifierWOS:A1994PL29400009
LanguageEnglish
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