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Produsing Theory in a Digital World 2.0

The Intersection of Audiences and Production in Contemporary Theory – Volume 2

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Rebecca Ann Lind

Continuing the explorations begun in the first Produsing Theory volume, this book provides a site at which varied theories – some still emerging – can intersect and shine a light into the spaces between what previously had been neatly separated and discrete components of media systems. In some settings, division by audience, content, and production settings remains useful, but this volume, like the first, is all about the interstices.
Contributors reflect varied perspectives in their approaches to the spaces formed as a result of rapidly developing and swiftly deploying new communications technologies and social software. They shine multiple spotlights into the intersection of audiences and production, providing a guide toward a nuanced understanding of the interstitial spaces.

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Chapter Two: The Interpretive Community Redux: The Once and Future Saga of a Media Studies Concept (Thomas R. Lindlof)

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 C H A P T E R T W O  The Interpretive Community Redux: The Once and Future Saga of a Media Studies Concept Thomas R. Lindlof ew media and information technologies are often considered disruptive innovations because they roil existing industries and business models. Technological revolutions may also be responsible for disrupting certain theories, research programs, and seemingly settled issues of research practice. More than in most fields, scholars of media are at least moderately aware of the historical contingency of their theories—the notion that theories of mediated communication, although not exactly inhabiting the same cultural space as consumer fads and fashions, are certainly influenced by (and vulnerable to) the rise and fall of technological, economic, and political regimes, and thus should be regarded at least in part as intellectual artifacts of the epochs in which they are conceived. Such is the case with audience studies. Since the turn of the millennium, a period coinciding roughly with the ascendancy of Web 2.0, audience researchers have witnessed the object of their inquiry radically transformed by the digital media revolution. Where once upon a time every mass medium controlled its own zone of content, effectively corralling the audiences seeking that content, digitalization has brought down those fences, probably forever. Where once media companies manipulated how and when audiences could gain access to their content, a seemingly limitless array of devices and apps equips people with the means to reel in content on their own timetables, creating new types of consumption...

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