Module Information

Module Identifier
TFM2320
Module Title
Audience Cultures and Practices
Academic Year
2016/2017
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 2
External Examiners
  • Dr Helen Wheatley (Associate Professor - University of Warwick)
 
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Viewing 10 x 3 Hour Viewings
Seminar 10 x 2 Hour Seminars
 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay 1: 2,500 words  50%
Semester Assessment Essay 2: 2,500 words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resit of essay 1:  All resits will need to focus on a different topic to that originally submitted. Resits of assignments when necessary will be in accordance with the conditions and timetable set by the university.   50%
Supplementary Assessment Resit of essay 2  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a systematic knowledge of key (sociological/psychoanalytic/paratextual/digital) theories and perspectives in audience studies.
  • Demonstrate a detailed ability to link theories and issues to specific audiences, examples and case studies.
  • Demonstrate an advanced critical understanding of the cultural politics of audience representations, practices and theorisations.

Aims

To understand the cultural and discursive sites, struggles, and cultural practices, through which "audiencing" is accomplished in relation to screen (and other) media.
To scrutinise the cultural politics involved in the performance, commodification, and evaluation/theorisation of audiences.
To think about how screen media relate both to personal, psychical identities and broader communal/cultural interests, including moments where personal/communal use of screen (and other) media come into conflict with institutional interests (e.g. piracy and 'spoilers'), moments where personal significance may exceed cultural/communal ascriptions of value (e.g. intensely felt fandom), and moments where commercial/brand value may be reinforced (free labour and popular aesthetics).

Brief description

This module will look at issues raised by how empirical audience cultures and practices have been marginalised in certain theoretical frameworks (e.g. work in the "effects" tradition and that which posits "ideal" audiences on the basis of textual study alone). It will trace how different paradigms have dominated audience studies, and how sociological/psychoanalytic concepts can be utilised. The module will consider the ways in which audiences "resist" and refocus textual meaning (through paratextual orientations), as well as how aesthetic, economic, social and personal values can play a role in the audience-text relation. In particular, this module will investigate how audiences have become objects of moral concern, and just how audiences are commodified as well as being highly active (something explored in relation to social media and digital fandom). We will investigate audiences' own cultural criteria of aesthetics/appreciation alongside discourses of factuality and authority which are central to media culture's DVD/blu-ray commentaries, extras and promotion. Finally, rather then assuming that audiences are 'active' as fans or lovers of screen (and other) media, what of "haters" and even indifferent, disinterested readers/spectators/viewers? Analysing audiences means considering a wider range of affects than have typically been represented in scholarship, as well as theorising the cultural specificity of ourselves -- academics and students -- as audiences.

Content

Course delivery:

10 x 2-hour seminars
10 x 3-hour screening slots

Seminars and related screenings on:
Week 1: "Ideal" audiences and "effects": neglecting audience cultures?
Week 2: Approaching audiences (I): sociological concepts
Week 3: Approaching audiences (II): psychoanalytic concepts
Week 4: Decentring 'the text' (I): audience 'resistance' and opposition
Week 5: Decentring 'the text' (II): audiences and (their) paratexts
Week 6: Recentring 'the text' (I): 'popular aesthetics' and values of artfulness
Week 7: Recentring 'the text' (II): 'popular authority' and values of factuality
Week 8: Digital audiencing (I): Social media, spoilers and "presentism"
Week 9: Digital audiencing (II): Piracy and "free labour": Taking and giving back to the industry
Week 10: "Anti-fans", ataraxic and academic audiences: neglecting dislike, disinterest... and ourselves?

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A; the module will adopt a qualitative and cultural-theoretical approach to audiences.
Communication Students will be expected to contribute to in-class discussions and relate their own research progress orally. Students' capabilities to structure ideas and arguments in their essays will form part of the module assessment criteria.
Improving own Learning and Performance In the course of the module, there will be points where students will be asked to think reflexively about their reading and viewing, as well as how their research is progressing.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to use information resources within the library where relevant within their research, as well as investigating online audience practices via Facebook groups, Twitter hashtags, forums/messageboards, Tumblr, Blogger etc.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will be encouraged to develop research skills, presentation skills, engage in group work, and develop their writing skills. These attributes will feed into their development as individual researchers, which will be particularly suited for an academic career or a career within the field of media arts.
Problem solving Students will need to think critically about issues related to the ways in which audiences have been represented and theorised (celebrated/condemned) within a range of contexts, as well as how audience cultures and practices have been variously evaluated.
Research skills This element is developed through students' own investigations into specific audience cultures and practices, audience-text relations, and relevant theories. Students can bring these to bear upon the module, articulating the results in their two essays.
Subject Specific Skills
Team work Although there is no official group work on the course, it is hoped that students will work together in seminars for small tasks and small-group discussions.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 7