Media Consumption and Public Engagement: Beyond the Presumption of Attention

Media Consumption and Public Engagement: Beyond the Presumption of Attention


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Democracy is based on the belief that themedia gets the attention of voters. But is this plausible in an age of multiplying media, disillusionment with the political system and time-scarcity? This book addresses this question, and charts experiences of 'public connection'.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780230247383
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan UK
Publication date: 04/03/2007
Series: Consumption and Public Life
Edition description: 2010
Pages: 247
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Author S. Livingstone: Nick Couldry is a sociologist of media and culture. He is Professor of Media, Communications and Social Theory at the London School of Economics and was previously Professor of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author or editor of eleven books including for Palgrave Ethics of Media (co-edited with Mirca Madianou and Amit Pinchevski, 2013) and Media Consumption and Public Engagement: Beyond the Presumption of Attention (with Sonia Livingstone and Tim Markham, 2007,revised paperback edition 2010). He has led funded research on citizens public connection (see and on story exchange in community engagement ( He is currently with Andreas Hepp working on a new book on the mediated construction of reality.

Table of Contents

List of Tables x

List of Figures xi

Preface xiii

Preface to the Revised Edition 2010 xv

Part I Theoretical Foundations

1 Democracy and the Presumption of Attention 3

Introduction 3

The idea of 'public connection' 5

Public connection: the conceptual and empirical background 8

Accounts of the crisis of democracy 12

The current UK and international context 16

Conclusion 20

2 Media Consumption and Public Connection 23

Why media consumption? 23

The plurality of media 24

'The media' - legitimate object of blame? 26

Mediating a shared frame of attention 28

From the collective to the public 30

The traditional centrality of the news 32

Engaging with media in late modernity 34

New and emerging sites of mediated public connection 37

Conclusion 40

3 Tracking Public Connection: Methodological Issues 42

Overall design 42

Research precedents 43

Diary methodology 45

Issues of interpretation 50

The Public Connection Survey 55

Comparing the diary and survey data 56

Conclusion 57

Part II The Public Connection Project

Introduction 61

Diary phase 61

Survey phase 63

4 Mediated Public Connection: Broad Dynamics 65

Introduction 65

Modelling individual diarists' public connection 66

The dynamics of mediated public connection 76

Underlying orientations 81

Public/private 83

An alternative definition of the 'public' world? 84

Conclusion 87

5 The Variability of Media Use 88

The nature of our evidence 88

Patterns of media use 97

Quality of media use 98

Media use and wider routine 103

Critical media use and media literacy 105

Conclusion 109

6 Values, Talk and Action 111

Values 111

The duty to keep up with the news 113

Talk 114

Action 121

Conclusion 127

7 Democracy Seen from Afar 130

Henry 130

Josh 132

Andrea 133

Kylie 135

Beccy 136

Samantha 138

Bill 140

Sheila 142

Shared concerns 144

Conclusion 145

8 Engagement and Mediation: Findings from the Public Connection Survey 147

Introduction 147

Declining public participation 148

Linking media consumption to public participation 153

Mediating participation 157

Relating political participation and public connection 160

Contextualising participation 166

Conclusion 170

Part III Conclusion

9 Conclusion: The Future of Public Connection 179

Review of our findings 180

The Public Connection Survey 185

Summary of empirical findings 188

Where do we go from here? 188

Conclusion 194


IA The Public Connection Diarists 196

IB Regional Profiles 199

IC Interview and Focus Group Schedules 203

ID Technical Note on Timeline Construction 212

IIA Survey questions 215

IIB Demographic Breakdown of Survey Population 219

References 221

Index 239

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