MC402      Half Unit
The Audience in Media and Communications

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Pollyanna Ruiz STC. S214


This course is available on the MSc in Culture and Society, MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and Fudan), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and USC), MSc in Media and Communications, MSc in Media and Communications (Media and Communications Governance), MSc in Media and Communications (Research), MSc in Media, Communication and Development, MSc in Politics and Communication and MSc in Social Research Methods. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course examines a variety of social, cultural and psychological issues as they relate to the audiences for television and new media. It analyses people's everyday engagement with media, beginning with the history of audiences and audience research, then examining audiences for a variety of genres, before addressing transformations in audiences and audience research with the advent of new media, especially hybrid, globalised, cross-media genres and user-generated content. The course frames its critical investigation of empirical audience studies in relation to theories of active audiences, interpretative communities, encoding-decoding and fandom, among others. Students will be encouraged to read widely, to forge links with other aspects of media, communications and cultural studies, and to debate the nature and future of audiences in a changing media landscape.


13 hours of lectures and 7 hours of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to complete advance reading, prepare seminar presentations, and submit one essay of 1,500 words.

Indicative reading

Abercrombie, N.& B Longhurst, B. (1998) Audiences: A Sociological Theory of Performance and Imagination, Sage; Brooker, W. & Jermyn, D. (2003) The Audience Studies Reader, Routledge; Fiske, J. (1987) Television Culture, Routledge; Gillespie, M. (Ed) (2005) Media Audiences, Open University/McGraw Hill; Livingstone, S. (2005) Audiences and Publics: When Cultural Engagement Matters for the Public Sphere, Intellect; Morley, D. (1992) Television, Audiences and Cultural Studies, Routledge; Nightingale, V. (ed.) (2011) The Handbook of Media Audiences, Wiley-Blackwell. Nightingale, V., & Ross, K. (eds.). (2003). Critical Readings: Media and Audiences, Open University Press; Schroeder, K., Drotner, K., Kline, S., and Murray, C. (2003) Researching Audiences, Arnold.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the LT.

To be submitted in week 2 of Lent Term.

Teachers' comment

This course critically investigates the nature and the future of audiences in our ever changing media environment.

Students' comments

"I enjoyed the involvement of guest lecturers - it made the course varied and interesting. I also appreciated the activities that made us pool our personal experience on Moodle."

Key facts

Department: Media & Communications

Total students 2012/13: 45

Average class size 2012/13: 15

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills