Module Identifier TFM0930  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Merris Griffiths  
Semester Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   40 Hours  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment 2500 word essay A structured account of students? observation of two `events? within different media/cultural contexts (this will have a group component and an individual evaluation).33%
Semester Assessment 2500 word essay A structured examination of the experience of being an audience member.33%
Semester Assessment 2500 word essay An essay, exploring critically ideas about the formative nature of particular media or cultural forms.33%

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of this module, students should be able to:

1.   carry out close observation of a variety of lived cultural and media events
2.   draw upon the specific histories of a variety of cultural and media forms, to explore how modes of audience participation may be formed
3.   make connections with personal experience, and memory-work, and relate these to broader conceptual accounts
4. provide critical accounts of the differences occasioned by different media and cultural traditions, and through this, arrive at an understanding of concepts such as `live-ness?, `performativity? and `interactivity?.


To explore the specific differences occasioned by the historical, contextual and performative differences between different cultural and media forms.
To examine differences in traditions of researching audiences within different media and cultural spheres, and consider how they might assist each other.
To develop students? powers of structured observation within public contexts, in ways that can assist the understanding of audience processes and the design of appropriate research.


Indicative sessions might include:

1. Understanding audiences in contexts
2. Participant observation
3. Practice week: recording observations
4. Reviewing observation practices
5. Theorising contexts: theatre, cinema, museums etc
6. Auslander and the concept of `liveness?
7. Bourdieu, tastes and `habitus?
8. Practice week: examining tastes
9. Reviewing practices
10. Identity and performativity
11. Goffman/Butler on performance
12. Gender issues in audience research
13. Self, memory, and memory-work
14. Annette Kuhn on memory-work
15. Practice week: using memory
16. Reviewing practices
17. Ethical problems in audience research
18. Foucault and `confessional society?
19. `Pleasure? and its problems
20. `Passivity?, `activity?, `interactivity?

Brief description

This module will seek to explore, by a mixture of means, the differences in the kinds of encounter and the modes of involvement offered to people attending different kinds of event, presentation, and venue. Key concepts in here which will need critical examination are those of `live? vs `mediated? events, ideas of `performance? and associated debates about subjectivity, self-presentation and authenticity, debates about `active? vs `passive? audiences, and recently emergent debates about `interactivity?, especially in context of digital encounters. The wider notion of distinct `literacies? for different media of communication and sites of participation will also be explored.

The teaching programme will combine encounters with some key concepts and thinkers which have shaped ways in which researchers have addressed the ways in which audiences differentially engage with different modes of practice and communication, with exercises in which students will design, carry out and report back on forms of participant observation in different kinds of event/venue, in order to consider the nature of different kinds of participation.

Reading Lists

** Recommended Background
Auslander, Philip (1999) Liveness London: Routledge
Baxandall, Michael (1988) Painting and Experience in the Fifteenth Century New York: Oxford University Press
Bell, Vicki (ed.), (1999) Performativity and Performance London: Sage
Bennett, Susan (1997) Theatre Audiences London: Routledge
Bourdieu, Pierre (1984) Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste Cambridge, Mass: Harvard Up
Bromley, Roger (1988) Lost Narratives London: Routledge
Butsch, Richard (2000) The Making of American Audiences Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Cartmell, Deborah & Imelda Whelehan (eds) (1999) Adaptations: Text to Screen, Screen to Text London: Pluto Press
Dicks, Bella (2000) Encoding and decoding the people?, European Journal of Communication, 15:1
Foucault, Michel (1997) Essential Works NY: New Press
Gauntlett, David (2000) Web Studies: Rewiring media studies for the digital age London: Arnold
Gauntlett, David & Annette Hill (1999) TV Living London: Routledge/BFI
Hartley, Jenny (2001) Reading Groups Oxford: Oxford University Press
Kuhn, Annette (1999) Memories of cinemagoing in the 1930s?, Journal of Popular British Cinema, 2
Ong, Walter J (1982) Orality and Literacy: the technologizing of the word London: Methuen
Reason, Peter and Hilary Bradbury (eds) (2000) Handbook of Action Research: participative inquiry and practice London: Sage


This module is at CQFW Level 7