Undergraduate Courses

MCC-UE 1016 - Media Audiences

Communication scholars have long concerned themselves with the relationship between various media/technologies and ‘the audience.’  Different intentions and perspectives inform the discourse and research on how media and communication technologies and their audiences/users interact.  This course will proceed historically, theoretically, and methodologically, always questioning the construction of audiences and media users -- constructions that are shaped by commercial, academic, political and cultural contexts. Students will reflect on some historical analyses of ‘emergent’ audiences and critical responses to institutional constructions of audiences.  Students will critique mass communication ‘positivist’ studies and questions of ‘media effects’ that dominated debates about audiences beginning in the early twentieth century and still continue today. In addition, students will examine how media and audiences are both situated in particular multiple contexts that have a bearing on how media are generated and circulated, and how audiences experience and make meaning of media/technologies. Methodologically, students will investigate how audiences are conceptualized and researched by scholars and cultural critics.  Throughout the course, students will explore the thinking and multiple contexts that frame various conceptualizations of media/technologies and audiences, and how these different approaches inform the concerns, questions, methods, findings, and implications of audience/user research.