Communication and context: ethnographic perspectives on the media audience

Authored by: David Morley , Roger Silverstone

A Handbook of Qualitative Methodologies for Mass Communication Research

Print publication date:  December  2015
Online publication date:  September  2002

Print ISBN: 9781138134867
eBook ISBN: 9780203409800
Adobe ISBN: 9781134938254


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We all watch television at different times, but with how much attention and with what degree of commitment, in relation to which types of programs and occasions? Only if these kinds of qualitative distinctions are established, can the aggregated statistical results of large-scale survey work be broken down into meaningful components. We need to focus on the complex ways in which television viewing is inextricably embedded in a whole range of everyday practices, and is itself partly constitutive of those practices (Scan-nell, 1988). We need to investigate context - the specific ways in which particular communications technologies come to acquire particular meanings and thus come to be used in different ways, for different purposes, by people in different types of households. We need to investigate television viewing in its “natural” settings.

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