By Sonia Livingstone
In today’s completely mass-mediated international, audiences and publics are, in fact, composed of an analogous humans. but social technological know-how characteristically treats them really in a different way. certainly, it truly is typical to outline audiences against the general public: in either renowned and elite discourses, audiences are denigrated as trivial, passive, individualised, whereas publics are valued as energetic, significantly engaged and politically major.
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Extra info for Audiences and Publics: When Cultural Engagement Matters for the Public Sphere (IB-Changing Media, Changing Europe)
As publics extend their scope, encompassing greater heterogeneity, they seem to lose power, fragmenting under internal dissent or the dissipation of shared values. Consequently, government-sponsored initiatives to enhance participation find they need the media if they are to manage communication within and across ever-larger publics. Unlike publics, as audiences extend their scope, even beyond national boundaries, they do not necessarily lose power, thereby rendering audience participation potentially a source of strength rather than threat to the interests of publics.
This chapter has similarly argued for a transcendence of the audience/public opposition for, as a growing body of literature makes clear, such binary thinking no longer fits either the subtleties of media texts or the complexities of media power in late modern societies. However, I part company with the Foucauldian critique, as asserted by Ouellette, Bennett and others against the Habermasian position, instead ending with a question. Undoubtedly, the now-familiar critique of the public sphere is fair, for through its rigorous, perhaps even rigid, norms of access, discourse, topic, and consensus-seeking, the Bourgeois public sphere legitimates only a narrow portion of the population as ‘the public’, excluding others.
Qrk 25/5/05 11:04 am Page 43 Daniel Dayan Chapter 2: Mothers, midwives and abortionists: genealogy, obstetrics, audiences & publics1 Lunch in Leipzig Mothers, midwives and abortionists 43 ‘The genealogical side of analysis,’ writes Michel Foucault, ‘deals with series of effective formations of discourse. It attempts to grasp ... the power of constituting a domain of objects... ’ (quoted in Dreyfus & Rabinow, 1982, p. 105). This paper is concerned with ‘positivities’, with social realities such as audiences and publics, and with the speech acts or observational practices that produce them.