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Interpretation: from audiences to user

Das, Ranjana (2011) Interpretation: from audiences to user. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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In this thesis I primarily address those within media and communications studies who research mass media audiences and their engagement with a diverse range of texts. I ask in what ways our knowledge about the interpretation of genres, emergent from many decades of empirical research with mass media audiences, is useful in understanding engagement with new media. This conceptual task is pursued empirically by applying a conceptual repertoire derived from reception analysis to interviews with youthful users of the online genre of social networking sites (SNSs). The thesis presents findings on the heterogeneity of children’s experiences in using SNSs following their perceptions of authorial presence, their notions of others using the text, their expertise with the interface and pushing textual boundaries. I explore four tasks involved in the act of interpretation – those being intertextual, critical, collaborative and problem-resolving. In analysis, I also reflect on a selection of the core conceptual tools that have been animated in this thesis, in research design as well as analysis and interpretation. It is concluded that inherited concepts - text and interpretation, continue to be useful in extension from the world of television audiences to the world of the internet. Second, inherited priorities from audience reception research which connect clearly to the conversation on media and digital literacies prove to be important by connecting resistance and the broader task of critique to the demands of being analytical, evaluative and critical users of new media. Third, the notion of interpretation as work is useful overall, to retain in research with new media use, for there is a range of tasks and responsibilities involved in making sense of new media.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2011 Ranjana Das
Library of Congress subject classification: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Sets: Departments > Media and Communications
Supervisor: Livingstone, Sonia

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