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The Labour of Media Use: The Two Active Audiences
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Communication, Media and Communication Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0216-8862
2012 (English)In: Information, Communication and Society, ISSN 1369-118X, E-ISSN 1468-4462, Vol. 15, no 6, 796-814 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The ‘active audience’ has theoretically been conceptualized from two perspectives: in political economy, it is suggested that television audiences work for the networks while watching and that they contribute to the valorization process with their labour. Although contested, it has survived among media scholars, also feeding into the discussion on web surveillance techniques. The other conceptualization comes from reception theory, media ethnography and cultural studies, where the interpretive work by audiences is seen as productive and resulting in identities, taste cultures and social difference. This article relates these perspectives by considering audiences as involved in two production–consumptions circuits: (1) the viewer activities produce social difference (identities and cultural meaning) in a social and cultural economy, which is then (2) made the object of productive consumption as part of the activities of the media industries, the end product being economic profit.This article argues for the relevance of analysing these as separate circuits, with different kinds of labour at their centre, and that recent debates on the active audience often misrecognize the difference.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2012. Vol. 15, no 6, 796-814 p.
Keyword [en]
audiences; media use; media production; media consumption; field theory; Web 2.0
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Critical and Cultural Theory
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-16962DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2012.677052ISI: 000306320300002ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84863904404Local ID: 1272/42/2007OAI: diva2:546956
Value and the media
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2012-08-26 Created: 2012-08-26 Last updated: 2016-09-22Bibliographically approved

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