How does our media consumption shape our opinions, actions, identities and lives? How do audiences influence the production and circulation of media? How do we create our own media presence online, and act as an audience for each other? This course will examine the relationship between audiences and media. We will discuss theory and research that represents audiences as passive consumers of media products, active decoders of media texts, producers of our own representations online, and participants in interactive media production. The course will look at a broad range of media forms (such as television, radio, film, the Internet, social networking, home theatre, cell phones and videogames), and content (including violence, music, reality television, soap operas, news, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs). “Media Audiences” will encourage you to reflect on your own relationship with media, and to consider the broader contexts that shape your listening, viewing, reading, and interaction.

We will also be intertwining the theory of audiences with a ‘live' research exercise which will guide you through the necessary steps to conducting your own research.

 Course outcomes

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • understand how audience studies and research fits into the field of media & communication studies.
  • describe a range of theories of the audience
  • apply these theories to contemporary media issues and debates
  • use audience research to discuss the relationship of media and culture
  • reflect critically on your own media use
  • use audience research methodologies to design and conduct your own research.