ERIC Number: ED293494
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Constituting the Television Audience: A Problem of Method.
Jordin, Martin; Brunt, Rosalind
This paper critiques the methodology used for television audience research by David Morley for his study, "The Nationwide Audience," in which he attempts to systematically determine relationships between the various ways in which different audience groups make sense of television programs and the social relations that define their material conditions of existence. Focusing on the use, nature, and status of the decoding group as representing a key interface between theory and methodology, this discussion examines Morley's rationale for the use of groups rather than individual respondents in his research, and questions whether group work is a necessary condition of applying the encoding/decoding model, what the groups represent in this context, and what these groups do in their role as active, productive audiences. The issues involved in different approaches to the use of groups or individuals in audience research are also discussed. The need to study the decoding of television in terms of real groups operating in specific material conditions, rather than in terms of formally representative entities is then discussed, and examples of areas where decoding already exists as an extended process are provided. It is concluded that the choice between a restricted or extended conception of decoding/encoding--i.e., the individual or group respondent--is not a simple matter of definition but part of the whole way the general parameters and objectives of an audience study are set up. (CGD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the International Television Studies Conference (London, England, July 10-12, 1986).