The Citizen Audience: Crowds, Publics, and Individuals

The Citizen Audience: Crowds, Publics, and Individuals

by Richard Butsch
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0415977894

ISBN-13: 9780415977890

Pub. Date: 12/26/2007

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

In The Citizen Audience, Richard Butsch explores the cultural and political history of audiences in the United States from the nineteenth century to the present. He demonstrates that, while attitudes toward audiences have shifted over time, Americans have always judged audiences against standards of good citizenship.

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Overview

In The Citizen Audience, Richard Butsch explores the cultural and political history of audiences in the United States from the nineteenth century to the present. He demonstrates that, while attitudes toward audiences have shifted over time, Americans have always judged audiences against standards of good citizenship.

From descriptions of tightly packed crowds in early American theaters to the contemporary reports of distant, anonymous Internet audiences, Butsch examines how audiences were represented in contemporary discourse. He explores a broad range of sources on theater, movies, propaganda, advertising, broadcast journalism, and much more. Butsch discovers that audiences were characterized according to three recurrent motifs: as crowds and as isolated individuals in a mass, both of which were considered bad, and as publics which were considered ideal audiences. These images were based on and reinforced class and other social hierarchies. At times though, subordinate groups challenged their negative characterization in these images, and countered with their own interpretations.

A remarkable work of cultural criticism and media history, this book is essential reading for anyone seeking an historical understanding of how audiences, media and entertainment function in the American cultural and political imagination.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780415977890
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
12/26/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Politics of Audiences in America I. Crowds 1. Theater Audiences, Crowds and Publics 2. From Crowds to Masses: Movies, Radio and Advertising II.Publics 3. From Cultivated Individual to Public Citizen 4. Broadcast Publics III. Individuals 5. Mass Media, Mass Man 6. Media Effects and Passive Audiences 7. Boob Tube, Fans and Addicts: Pathological Audiences IV. Epilogue

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