How did the culturalist school understand audience, what was he aim of their argument and research and how convincing is their approach and its conclusion.
In today’s world, communication is very important and necessary in how lives so as technology is to us, the world is becoming more civilised and man is working so hard to bring perfection in all they do. We now live a modern life where mass media and technology is what we live for, we build the media and the media builds us. However, mass media wouldn’t be complete without its audience. Although all this started with the culturalist school, the question now is what is cultural studies, Who are the culturalist school, What was there aim and what is an audience?, All these questions can’t be answered without a proper definition of cultural studies and the origin of cultural school. Cultural studies are the study of the way of life and way people do things in a given culture. According to Stuart Hall in his 1989 lecture, culture is the changing ways of life of societies and groups, the network of meanings, which individual and groups used to make sense out of communicating to one another. The word audience is a Latin word ‘audire’ which means hearing or to hear, which began in the 14thcentury. An audience can therefore be defined as a group of people with the act of hearing, expressing and attending. The word audience was later extended to those congregating for public speeches and to theatre goers. In 1964 Hall was invited to join Richard Hoggart at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies( CCCS) which operated as a research centre at the university of Birmingham(UK), it was first founded by Richard Hoggart. Hoggart and Hall shared many key with Frankfurt School. The Birmingham school came to focus on the interplay of representations and ideologies of class, gender, race, ethnicity and nationality in cultural texts, including in media culture, they were the first to study cultural studies. They also focused on how various audience interpreted and used media culture in varied and different ways and contexts. Their aim was to analyse factors that made audiences respond in contrasting ways to media texts. According Hoggart and Hall, culture is the crucial determinant of class and class identity. As such, culture is not something apart, after, or floating above the economic “basis”, but actually constitute of the social relations of capital. This understanding of social class is fundamental to cultural studies. While Hoggart and Hall work in cultural studies in the UK was organised round two fundamental distinctions. First, the hegemonic upper and middle class culture is distinct from popular culture can be distinguished from commercial culture. The product of what the Franfurt School had already called the ‘culture industry’. Moreover, Hoggart, Hall, Williams and Thompson all wanted a reclaim that appropriated cultural atifacts of the working class. The second distinction was between commercial and popular culture, and this project was one that proved much more difficult and demanded the serious study of commercial atifacts and how they used in terms of identity, representation, consumption and resistance. As Stanley Aronowiz argued cultural studies seeks to transgress the boundaries between the humanities and the science, and even to transcend the boundaries of formal academic sites. At its best cultural studies is not inter-disciplinary, it is anti-disciplinary. In 1968, Hall took over from Hoggart and started directing (CCCS), in his stay, he wrote a number of books which included the Encoding and Decoding in the Television Discourse (1973). This was rewritten several times and criticised communication models. In 1947, Claude E.Shannon, a research mathematician working for Bell Labs, created a theory of communication designed to facilitate information transmission over telephone lines. Later Warren Weaver added the...
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