"Interpreting Audiences" offers a comprehensive guide to important new developments in the study of media reception. Reviewing a wide range of work done by qualitative audience researchers over recent years, the author charts the emergence of a critical ethnographic perspective on everyday consumer practices. Shaun Moores considers the distinctive features of audience ethnography and outlines its various applications in communication and cultural analysis. Four main areas of inquiry are discussed: the power of media texts to determine the meanings made by their readers; the relationships between media genres and social patterns of taste; the day-to-day settings and dynamic social situations of reception; the cultural uses and interpretations in the communication technologies in the home. Identifying the issues at stake in each of these areas, the author then relates advances in audience research to a broader set of questions about the practices and politics of cultural consumption.
Assessing the theories of Bourdieu, De Certeau and others - and drawing on his own investigations of new media technologies in domestic contexts - he advances a model of creativity and constraint in everyday life. This accessible text aims to provide an introduction to recent work on audiences for students of media, communication and cultural studies, and a helpful analytical overview for media teachers and researchers.
Shaun Moores is Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh. He has published several articles and papers on audiences, and was one of the contributors to Culture and Power: A Media, Culture & Society Reader.