There is little doubt that media texts affect audiences; what that effect is, and how it happens, is open to considerable doubt. The debate is clouded with, on the one hand, emotion, and on the other, the vagaries of social science. The emotion is often a result of ‘moral panics’ and the science has been so agenda-driven that conclusions cannot safely be drawn from research. Despite this, audiences must be considered as a key concept of Media Studies and therefore we need theories to conceptualise them.
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