Publication details

Uses Genres and Media Ensembles : A Conceptual Roadmap for Research of Convergent Audiences



Year of publication 2020
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

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Description This chapter tackles one of the main methodological and conceptual challenges to current audience research: fragmentation of viewers’ practices of reception. The use of digital and networked media and the consequent multiplication of screens, distribution channels and content sources have further complicated the notion of “watching television” and, along with that, academic and applied audience research. The chapter reintroduces Maria Bakardjieva’s concept of uses genres and connects it with the concept of media ensemble, suggesting that for research on the domestic consumption of films and TV series, the application of these concepts in qualitative (ethnographic) research and in audience surveys comes with strong advantages. Firstly, the concepts help to identify distinct types of consumption practices linked with specific technological objects, with specific audiovisual content and with typical everyday situations, and they enable us to analyze consumption explicitly within the contexts of the spatiotemporal and social organization of everyday life. Secondly, in cases of small- and peripheral-market audiences, the concepts enable us to identify specifics in audiences’ practices linked with the characteristics of these markets (e.g., with localized and non-localized content, with domestic and global production, etc.). And thirdly, the concepts explicitly acknowledge power both involved in and shaping the analyzed practices by emphasizing the “generative process of technology,” i.e., the transformative role of users’ practices in shaping technological and economic systems.
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