Interpretative-practices of the Audience and the Influence of Mass Media (<Special Symposium>Discussins on the New Theory of Audience)

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Other Title
  • 「受け手」の解釈作業とマス・メディアの影響力 (<特集>新しい「受け手」論の研究)
  • 「受け手」の解釈作業とマス・メディアの影響力
  • ウケテ ノ カイシャク サギョウ ト マス メディア ノ エイキョウリョク

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Abstract

The audience "interprets" messages from mass media. Would this fact be inconsistent with an emphasis on the strong impact of mass media ? Phenomenological sociology and ethnomethodology been analyzing conversations in "every day", face-to-face interactions. This article is an attempt to apply this face-to-face, interactive communication model to the analysis of communication between mass meida and the audience. The audience does not "passively" receive the massage from mass media as expressed, but "actively" makes out the meaning by interpreting it. In these interpretative-practices, however, the audience is strongly influenced by mass media. In this article, we take up the complaint of the women's movement against a TV commercial as an example. Hearing a news report on the complaint against the commercial, some of the audience took exception to the act of complaning and expressed various opinions about it. These opinions reval the audience's interpretative-practices clearly. The audience imaginatively categorized the complanants according to certain personality types and expessed a sense that the complaint was not relevant to the audience. Acoording to this analysis, we can build up a model for the interpretative -practice on TV commercials of the audience. The audience, (1) interprets cemmercial messages in terms of the primary interest in an advertisement for the goods. (2) distinguishs "serious" messages from "joking" ones, and restrains the interpretation which confuses the difference between them. (3) makes up for "tacit" messages, which are not directly expressed in the commercial messages, by interpreting them. As analyzed above, it is obvious that the audience is actively engaged in interpretative-practices of making sense out of both TV commercials and news reports. The interpretative-practice, however, should not deny the great influence of mass media. The audience is under the strong influence of the "tacit messages" of mass media in terms of interpretative-practices.

Journal

  • Japanese journalism review

    Japanese journalism review 37 (0), 51-65,322-321, 1988

    Japan Society for Studies in Journalism and Mass Communication

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