Monday, June 1, 2009

Problems in Media Audience Research

Readings for 6/2/09

Seiter, "Making Distinctions in TV Audience Research" responses:

1) "...It is difficult for academics involved in television studies to imagine the frustration and anger provoked by a dependency on television for education and lifelong exclusion from elite forms of higher education," (Seiter, 391).

With this in mind, how do academic studies of media define high and low culture in mass audiences? Mr. D said his work in fashion came from television viewing- how he understood what different furniture and time period styles were. If culture is going to be characterized in terms of audience depictions of viewing, should it not focus on what the information is that has been obtained, but how and to what detailed extent?

2) Seiter describes herself as a feminist and admits to Mr. H as a non-sympathetic man because of his stereotypical, sexist jokes. She then admits to errors and miss communications throughout the interview and research. Could it not be concluded that these miss communication came up not because of class backgrounds, but because Seiter's opinion led her interviews and understandings of the subjects' responses?

Machin, Chapter 5 responses:

1) On page 82, Machin tells us in his own ethnographic studies,"it is very hard to accept what people say about exactly what they do." On the next page he states that "ethnography allows the researcher to be much more certain about the validity of their data. I know which programmes you watch because I have been watching with you...," (Machin, 83). If Machin gives a clear statement about the meaning of ethnographic research, why does his first statement stray away from his interpretation? Does he mean to tell us that in ethnographic studies, it is impossible to question a subject because their answers may lack validity?

2) Page 87: Transparency:
We've learned thus far within ethnography lies anthropology. "Anthropology, therefore, should be understood as being a form of writing and not as a transparent reproduction of a particular culture," (Machin, 87). Because literature can be susceptible to different interpretations, how can a culture, whether it is studied ethnographically or anthropologically, be seen as the absolute truth in which members of that society see it? Is every culture susceptible to interpretation?

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