Big Brother pp 144-170 | Cite as

Big Brother Culture

  • Jonathan Bignell


In academic studies of television, there has been a shift in the ways audiences are understood. The tradition of mass communications research regarded the audience as a statistical abstraction or a complex market open to manipulation by the forces of regulation, advertising or scheduling. More recently, researchers have been interested in the particularity of audiences in smaller-scale groupings, whether selected by locality, gender, age-group or social class. Similarly, the understanding of the viewer as a textually produced construct hollowed out by the structures of the television programme has been replaced by a more fluid notion of the dynamic interchange between the particular viewer and the flow of television, with attention also to the more diffuse social uses of television, in social talk and cultural processes of self-definition. Uses and gratifications research has described the uses and pleasures which audiences derive from media and genres within a medium, reversing the emphasis in research attempting to determine the effects of media on attitudes and behaviour, by asking how and why people act on and use media. Audiences are considered as active appropriators of meaning, rather than passive recipients of it.


Television Programme Interactive Service Soap Opera Television Audience Cent Share 
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© Jonathan Bignell 2005

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  • Jonathan Bignell

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