Publics, Crowds, Mass

Authored by: Richard Butsch

The Handbook of Communication History

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  January  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415892599
eBook ISBN: 9780203149119
Adobe ISBN: 9781136514319


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In the last two decades, the study of audience history has grown from almost nothing to a substantial interdisciplinary field of scholarship. Mostly this has documented who were audiences and what they did. But recently, scholars have begun examining how audiences were treated. Inherent in the treatment were attitudes and stereotypes about audiences of particular types. Audiences, depicted collectively rather than as individuals, have been categorized and characterized in judgmental terms, sometimes positive but often negative, and have engendered moral panics about them (Springhall 1998; Drotner 1999). Officials, elites, businessmen, as well as people in general, even audiences themselves, have considered audiences as communities, crowds and masses, citizen publics, consumers, and mass.

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