Meanings of Audiences: Comparative Discourses, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Meanings of Audiences

Comparative Discourses, 1st Edition

Edited by Richard Butsch, Sonia Livingstone


212 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415837309
pub: 2013-08-22
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pub: 2013-08-29
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pub: 2013-08-15
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In today’s thoroughly mediated societies people spend many hours in the role of audiences, while powerful organizations, including governments, corporations and schools, reach people via the media. Consequently, how people think about, and organizations treat, audiences has considerable significance.

This ground-breaking collection offers original, empirical studies of discourses about audiences by bringing together a genuinely international range of work. With essays on audiences in ancient Greece, early modern Germany, Soviet and post-Soviet Russia, Zimbabwe, contemporary Egypt, Bengali India, China, Taiwan, and immigrant diaspora in Belgium, each chapter examines the ways in which audiences are embedded in discourses of power, representation, and regulation in different yet overlapping ways according to specific socio-historical contexts.

Suitable for both undergraduate and postgraduate students, this book is a valuable and original contribution to media and communication studies. It will be particularly useful to those studying audiences and international media.


'An original and well organised book, mostly written by young academics, that draws on comparative and historical insights to make new sense of a key topic: how audiences are constituted, defined, condescended to, deferred to, anathematised, ‘civilised’, seduced, interact, and are recreated. After reading this book, you will think about audiences, and discourses about them, in a different way.' - James Curran, Professor of Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London

‘Pooling their considerable expertise, Butsch and Livingstone here demonstrate that the branding of media audiences as mass, public, citizens, consumers, etc. - in different times and places - is revealing of underlying patterns of social stratification and social control. There is a hint here that the study of ‘collective behaviour’ may have found a new home in media research.’ - Elihu Katz, Distinguished Trustee Professor of Communication, University of Pennsylvania

'All essays include a helpful bibliography. A resource for cross-cultural studies and media culture. Summing Up: Recommended' - R.A. Logan, University of Missouri-Columbia in CHOICE, Vol. 51 No. 09

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: "Translating" Audiences, Provincializing the West Richard Butsch and Sonia Livingstone 2. Publics and Audiences in Ancient Greece David Kawalko Roselli 3. When Curiosity Met Printing: Audiences and New Media in Early Modern History Christian Oggolder 4. Shoppers, Dupes and other Types: The Television Audience in Post-Soviet Russian Discourses Sudha Rajagopalan 5. Between Unruliness and Sociality: Discourses on Diasporic Cinema Audiences for Turkish and Indian Films Kevin Smets, Iris Vandevelde, Philippe Meers, Roel Vande Winkel, and Sofie Van Bauwel 6. Producing Loyal Citizens and Entertaining Volatile Subjects: Imagining Audience Agency in Colonial Rhodesia and Post-colonial Zimbabwe Wendy Willems 7. A Consuming Public: Movie Audiences in the Bengali Cultural Imaginary Manishita Dass 8. "The Mass Wants This!" How Politics, Religion and Media Industries Shape Discourses about Audiences in the Arab World Joe F. Khalil 9. Egyptian Audiences of Musalsalat in the Eye of the Beholder Aliaa Dawoud 10. Senior Audiences and the Revolutionary Subject in the People’s Republic of China Stephanie Hemelryk Donald 11. The Articulation of Audience in Chinese Communication Research Guiquan Xu 12. From Qunzhong to Guanzhong: The Evolving Conceptualization of Audience in Mainland China Jingsi Christina Wu 13. Active Citizenship: The Politics of Imagining Internet Audiences in Taiwan Fang-Chih Irene Yang and Ping Shaw

About the Editors

Richard Butsch is Professor of Sociology and Film and Media Studies at Rider University, New Jersey, USA. He is author of The Making of American Audiences from Stage to Television, 1750 to 1990 and The Citizen Audience: Crowds, Publics, and Individuals, and editor of For Fun and Profit: The Transformation of Leisure into Consumption and Media and Public Spheres. He is currently writing a book tentatively titled Screen Culture: A Global History.

Sonia Livingstone is a professor at the Department of Media and Communications, LSE. Her research examines children, young people and the internet; media and digital literacies; the mediated public sphere; audience reception, the public understanding of communications regulation. Her sixteen authored or edited books include Making Sense of Television (1998), Audiences and Publics (2005), The Handbook of New Media (2006), Media Consumption and Public Engagement (2010) and Media Regulation (2012).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies