MC402      Half Unit
The Audience in Media and Communications

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Sonia Livingstone STC.105


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.


In order to accommodate academic staff research leave and sabbaticals, and in order to maintain smaller seminar group sizes, this course is capped, meaning that there is a limit to the number of students who can be accepted. While we do our best to accommodate all requests, we cannot guarantee you a place on this course.

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.


11 hours of lectures and 9 hours of seminars in the LT.

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. & Longhurst, B. (1998) Audiences: A Sociological Theory of Performance and Imagination, Sage;


Brooker, W. & Jermyn, D. (Eds.) (2003) The Audience Studies Reader, Routledge;


Butsch, R., & Livingstone, S. (Eds.) (2013) Meanings of Audiences: Comparative discourses, Routledge;


Carpentier, N., Schroeder, K., & Hallett, L. (Eds.) (2013), Audience Transformations: Shifting Audience Positions in Late Modernity, Intellect;


Evans, E. (2011) Transmedia Television: Audiences, New Media and Daily Life, Routledge;


Morley, D. (1992) Television, Audiences and Cultural Studies, Routledge;


Nightingale, V. (ed.) (2011) The Handbook of Media Audiences, Wiley-Blackwell.


Schroeder, K., Drotner, K., Kline, S., and Murray, C. (2003) Researching Audiences, Arnold.


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

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 14
Merit 58.5
Pass 24.4
Fail 3

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 2014/15: 64

Average class size 2014/15: 16

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Lecture capture used 2014/15: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills