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March 2011, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Richard Butsch <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 10 Mar 2011 11:24:01 -0500
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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*Discourses about Audiences: International Comparisons*,


*Call for Proposals*, from Richard Butsch and Sonia Livingstone

*Deadline:May 1, 2011*

_Please forward and post_ on listservs, especially those likely to reach 
scholars of non-Western media cultures

We seek proposals from media scholars to study the representations of 
audiences in non-western societies and pre-modern Europe. We use 
"western" to indicate culture rather than geography. In that sense, the 
term contrasts to all societies not based upon Western traditions, 
including not only "eastern" societies but also societies south of the 

We plan to publish the studies in special issues of journals and as an 
edited book, in multiple languages. We also plan to organize an 
international conference where the authors will present and discuss 
their work.

In our books, /The Citizen Audience/ and /Audiences and Publics/, we 
have explored representations of audiences and the categories used to 
characterize them. These explorations have been within the context of 
modern democracies in Western Europe and North America. In Western 
discourse, audiences have been variously considered crowds, publics, 
mass and consumers, active or passive, additive or selective, vulnerable 
and suggestible or critical and creative, educated or ignorant, high or 
low brow, and characterized differently on the basis of their presumed 
race, class, sex and age.

These debates and these categories sometimes have been adopted and 
applied to audiences in non-Western cultures. The conjoined terms 
"audiences and publics," for example, have begun to be used by scholars 
across the globe. But there is no reason to assume that such Western 
categories and associations apply, or apply in the same way, in 
non-western societies. At a time when global and regional media 
(satellite, television/radio, recording, mobile phone, internet) 
saturate even remote populations and cultures, we have no comparative 
empirical studies to reveal what categories are indigenous to individual 
non-western cultures, and to recordhow they differ and change.

Consequently our goal is to bring together research from across the 
globe, toinvestigate whether the terms associated with audiences in 
western Europe and North America actually fit the indigenous discourses 
on audiences in non-Western cultures. Each culture likely has a 
different and interesting history. We think that such a comparative 
study of discourse on media and audiences could bring new insights into 
global media as well as Western discourse and scholarship on media and 
audiences, and be of immense value to government policymakers and media 
practitioners as well.Moreover, it will be an opportunity for 
non-Western worlds to speak about themselves, unfiltered through Western 

The project will explore specifically non-Western languages and 
cultures, and as a whole, will compare their discourses on audiences. In 
this globalized world this will sometimes be a marginal distinction, 
given the bleeding of Western ideas through borders and cultural 
boundaries. We would like applicants to go beyond non-Western 
incorporations of Western terms about audiences that accompanied their 
adoption of media technology and texts, to explore their discourses on 
indigenous practices and their audiences. With this foundation, then 
applicants would investigate how indigenous discourses represent media 
audiences as these media spread through these societies.

 From all applicants, we will select 10-15 scholars to research 
discourses in their proposed culture and language, looking at these both 
before and since their contact with Western culture and the spread of 
twentieth and twenty-first century media. We expect to include:

1. Studies on discourses in major languages of the world, e.g. Chinese, 
Hindi, Bengali, Arabic, Urdu, etc.,

2. Studies on cultures and languages less integrated into globalization 
and more remote from Western influence, and

3. A study of a major medieval European culture and language before 
democracy and publics became associated with audiences.

Applicants should be fluent in the language and generally familiar with 
the media/audience history of the culture they propose to study. For 
their research, we wish contributors to study representations in that 
culture and language, examining its historical development, in whole or 
part, of discourses as media are introduced into that culture through 
the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with special consideration to 
the lexicon used to characterize media audiences. Junior as well as 
senior scholars are welcome, as long as each demonstrates his/her 
capabilities for this research.

Proposals should be in English and include a preliminary research plan 
of no more than 3 single-spaced pages, specifying the 
cultural/linguistic context and describing the plan of research. as well 
as current vitae of the applicant(s). Send proposals as email 
attachments to both [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]> and 
[log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>, no later than 
*May 1, 2011*.

We look forward to reading your proposals.

Richard Butsch, Professor of Sociology, American Studies, and Film and 
Media Studies

Rider University, USA

Sonia Livingstone, Professor of Social Psychology

Department of Media and Communications,

London School of Economics,UK

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