Book Review; Understanding AudiencesTheory and method Reviewed by: Muhammad Siddique Soomro

Wednesday 15 March 2017 2 weeks ago 165   Hyderabad   Print

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Blogger  Web desk : (Ruddock, A. Publisher: London, Sage Pages: 202 Year: 2000) For last more than two decades, audiences have remained focus of various corners of academia. Ruddock’s book, “Understanding Audiences: Theory and Method”, exhibits far reaching and differed territory of contemporary audiences studies. The book contains not simply another outline of audience studies, yet gives a broad meta-examination of the long running discussion on the investigation of media power. Ruddock tries to separate distinctions between various ideal models by contrasting groups of audience research from early positivist mass communication models to post-positivist models. From the expanding field of "cultural studies" to the research laboratories of cognitive psychology, audiences show an overpowering riddle to be explained. Understanding Audiences: Theory and Method by Andy Ruddock is "... a book about audiences and how to study them-from a cultural studies perspective" (p. 1). Unlike numerous authors of that kind, Ruddock has some sensitivity for American social sciences. Drawing from scholarship of cultural studies, Ruddock appears to have found the group of audiences in the late 1970s, he contends that "... taking the controversial step of situating cultural studies within the field of communication shows us that media audiences have been studied and publicly discussed from the beginning of the twentieth century" (p. 6). Ruddock begins his contention by presenting the principle queries he plans to address as: would it be possible for cultural studies to inform us regarding the social orders in which we live, and how does this learning vary in content and substance from other "truths" offered by other (social) sciences? Chapter one on theory and method trains the readers on moving ideal models and the risks of "simple positivism." As the nature of the truth is complex to the point that we never figure out how to know it totally, researchers ought to be interested in an assortment of ways breaking down reality since various strategies give us a more intricate, albeit never entire look into this perspective. Ruddock favours post-positivism over positivism, the last mentioned being guided by unrefined authenticity where the world is viewed as a physical structure made by physical laws of circumstances and end results. This does not represent the distinction between basic cultural studies and the supposed media effect studies. This is no less than one motivation to consider in what capacity called non-basic research conventions have contributed our comprehension of audience. Chapters two and three survey two camps in these early audience studies: media effects research and public opinion. Chapter 2 centres on the earlier time inquiries of mass communication about quantitative media effects. The chapter takes note of the early Payne Fund research, Hovland experimentation on persuasions, and more contemporary work on violence. In spite of the fact that impact focuses heavily on a tendency to stress the (negative) effect on conduct, utilising quantitative strategies, couple of specialists, in any case, considered media impacts in "hypodermic" terms. Chapter three examines the historical background of academic studies into public opinion. The section takes us through Lippmann, Lasswell, and Lazarsfeld, and then leads readers to agenda setting. It examines a noteworthy part of standard sociological studies on audiences. Here thought and sentiments, rather than conduct, were thought to be characterized by media. Ruddock infers that various public opinion inquiries exhibit various critical improvements in comprehension of audiences. Step by step researchers understood that society could not be conveniently partitioned into reliant and subordinate factors since the relationship between political foundations, the media and exposure to media was intuitive. Additionally, the impacts of these connections regularly rose over a more drawn out time-frame, in the type of profoundly situated political institutions. Chapter four competently focuses on another paradigm known as cultivation analysis. Ruddock examines the advantages and disadvantages of application of scientific methods to bigger cultural open debates. Cultivation analysis shows that quantitative research can likewise be utilised for post-positivist researcher. In the meantime due to these quantitative techniques, cultivation analysis cannot give a widely inclusive hypothesis of media power. Chapter five illustrates the general points and presumptions of basic subjective investigation by focusing on the idea of philosophy and the rise of the encoding/decoding model. This social way to deal with media audiences focuses on the creation and gathering information about audiences of profound significance. It moves far from early mass communication effects hypothesis to the more extensive advancement of interpretive analysis of human thought and conduct in the sociology. In the rest of the sections on cultural studies, Ruddock portrays the authentic improvement of cultural studies, media consumption. The author goes through the standard prospects (e.g., Hall, Fiske, Morley, and so forth.) in a decent synopsis of such work since 1980s or somewhere around. Finally, the last sixth chapter presents the idea of consumption as a subject through which we can investigate the extension of viewership into the domain of regular day to day existence. Media consumption is characterized as the most important portion of media industries. Ruddock sees this improvement in media audience research as a postmodern response to limitations of encoding/decoding research. Taking after Michel Foucault, Ruddock talks about new avenues for audience research, for example, feminist activist research, research into popular culture and the everyday allotment of media space to various portions of society. Toward the finish of the book author presumes that the historical backdrop a group of audience reveals to us that the relationship between the media and audience is mind boggling and requires various strategies for investigation. Nonetheless, Rudduck recommends that social science may offer something of significant worth to cultural studies which is followed by a pretty much ordered record of scholarly group of audience studies. Regardless of its numerous excellence, the book does not make an especially decent showing with regards to the questions of audience formation. Rather, the concentration happens to be on what occurs after individuals experience media. This attracts our attention for inquiries like the accompanying: How do media influence individuals? How do individuals process or read media? What implications do they get from experience? These are surely genuine inquiries and reasonably most likely represent a dominant part of scholarly research on audience. I have generally thought, be that as it may, such a concentration-as in Ruddock book- leaves unaddressed similarly fascinating inquiries regarding how the audience encounters such questions which are of vital importance to the media enterprises themselves. How could it be that huge quantities of individuals come into contact with media offerings? How are audience made and managed during a time of plentiful media and divided audience? The point to be noted is that these inquiries are critical for specialists and scholars alike. At exactly that point are we prone to have an entire comprehension of audience. All things considered, the book is a decent measure of contemporary subjective science appears to fall outside the domain for his book on group of audience studies. Andy Ruddock is a Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies at Monash University, Australia. His research focuses on media audiences, media users and the politics of popular culture. He often uses ethnography, cultivation analysis, quantitative survey, research, content analysis and online thematic discourse analysis, guided by ground theory. His publications include youth and Media, investigating Audiences and numerous scholarly journals. 02