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Reception theory (Stuart Hall, 1980). Audience response. Reception theory (Stuart Hall, 1980). Reception theory states that media texts are encoded by the producer- they are loaded with values and messages.

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Reception theory stuart hall 19801
Reception theory (Stuart Hall, 1980)

  • Reception theory states that media texts are encoded by the producer- they are loaded with values and messages.

  • However, the text is then decoded by spectators. However, different spectators will decode the text in different ways, perhaps not in the way the producer intended.

Reception theory stuart hall
Reception theory (Stuart Hall)

According to Hall, audience members adopt one of the following three positions when they decode the text:

  • Dominant, or Preferred, Reading - how the producer wants the audience to view the media text;

  • Oppositional Reading - when the audience rejects the preferred reading, and creates their own meaning for the text;

  • Negotiated Reading - a compromise between the dominant and oppositional readings, where the audience accepts parts of the producer's views, but has their own views on parts as well.

Reception theory
Reception Theory

Lots of factors could affect whether we take the dominant, oppositional or negotiated reading.

  • Life experience

  • Mood at the time of viewing

  • Age

  • Culture

  • Beliefs

  • Gender

Why might an audience member
Why might an audience member…

… take the dominant position: clear messages in your video; audience member is same age/ culture; your video is relevant to modern society; your video has an easy to follow narrative; your video deals with themes that are relevant to your audience; audience member likes this style of music

… take an oppositional position: your video has difficult or controversial themes; audience member disagrees with the messages in your video; audience member dislikes this style of music; your video has a complex narrative structure; your video does not deal with themes in modern society; your video references a previous era; audience member has different beliefs; audience member is of a different age/ from a different culture.

… take a negotiated position: a combination of some of the above e.g. audience member likes this style of music, is of the same age as you and understands some of the messages, but the narrative is complex and this inhibits full understanding