Central Theme The aim of this article is to discuss and evaluate the validity of a newly emerging research trend, "audience ethnography", in the field of media reception studies. "Audience ethnography" is regarded as a new approach to the question of reception, reading, and decoding of media discourse. In D.Morley's formulation, this qualitative and descriptive mode of analysis has widely been adopted by British and European scholars since 1980s, and the consequence of this kind of research is under question at present. This article attempts to offer a new examination of "audience ethnography" from a historical and comparative point of view. In order to do so, it widely reviews not only the argument posed by "audience ethnographers", but also the response from the scholars in other schools, including "uses and gratifications approach". Based on this stand point, the article is shaped by two specific objectives. First, as a theme, it attempts to consider "audience ethnography" in the context of academic research history. It, conversely, sheds new light on other research traditions for audience and reception, by comparing with this new trend. Second, a new approach to the study of academic research history is proposed. Especially, a mode of analysis utilizing "cognitive models" is suitable for clarifying the logical structure observed in academic discourse. This means that paying attention to the conceptual schemes which frame chronological transformation of theoretical paradigms for reception over time-span, a holistic picture of theoretical discussion becomes obtainable. Content These objectives are pursued by the following steps. 1) Internal analysis roughly summarizes the general traits of "audience ethnography". Using qualitative methods such as in-depth interviews and discourse analysis, this kind of projects shares the concern for the reception in social context. Further, "audience ethnography" is characterized by two features, illustrated by "ethno" (studies of specific audience groups, categorized by ethnicity, class, gender, etc.) and "graphy" (qualitative and descriptive monography). On the one hand, "graphy" part reflects theoretical requirement after the surge of structural analysis, and is exemplified by the works by D.Morley and J.Radway. On the other hand, "ethno" part is related with changes in the ways of media reception, resulting from the globalizing tendencies of population and communication flows. A number of comparative analysis is conducted to study reception of American TV program Dallas in several foreign countries. Especially, the achievements by E.Katz and T.Liebes, and I.Ang are considered to form another important feature of "audience ethnography". 2) External analysis compares several authors' viewpoints, which try to examine "audience ethnography" in the background of different research paradigms in reception studies. 2-1) Evolution model (by D.Morley) situates "audience ethnography" as the final form in the development of effects research, uses and gratifications research, encoding/decoding model, and psychoanalysis. 2-2) Convergence model (by K.Shrφder) sees "audience ethnography" as a product of convergence in two different research trends: empirical, social science paradigm and critical communications research paradigm. 2-3) Concurrent model (by K.Jensen and K.Rosengren) advocates a dynamic states of coexsistence of five traditions: effects research, uses and gratifications research, literary criticism, cultural studies, and reception analysis. In part, "audience ethnography" is categorized in the last three or one tradition listed above. 2-4) Revisionist model (by J.Curran) criticizes Morley's view, and suggests a revival of 1940s and 1950s
Research on the cognitive influence of television has often been guided by cultivation theory proposed by Gerbner and his associates. Cultivation theory posits that the more time people spend watching television, the more likely their conceptions of social reality will reflect what is seen on television. Furthermore, the theory contends that heavy consumption of television contributes to a homogeneous view of the social reality. Thus far, several researchers have questioned or challenged Gerbner et al.'s conceptual assumptions, methodologies, and findings. The purpose of this article is to evaluate whether cultivation theory can with-stand those criticisms, and to provide some ideas so as to refine the theory. Before discussing the criticisms of cultivation theory, this article explains the basic concepts of the theory. They are the world of television and viewer's conceptions of social reality. The former refers to the most general system of messages and images on TV as revealed by content analysis. The latter means viewer's perceptions, beliefs, or attitudes about the real world. It should be noted that Gerbner et al. assume that people watch television in a relatively non-selective fashion. It is also important to make a distinction between what is called first-order and second-order cultivation when we examine the relationship between TV viewing and conceptions of social reality. First-order cultivation means perceptions of the frequency or probabilities of events, and second-order cultivation refers to beliefs that do not have any quantifiable referent in television content but that one can extrapolate from the television world. In my view, the criticisms of cultivation theory can be divided into two types: (1) those which question the basic framework or formulation of the theory and (2) those which suggest some modifications of the theoretical framework. This article addresses the issues of causation and audience interpretations among the first type of criticism. As examples of the second type of criticism, this article deals with three factors: non-selective viewing, contingent conditions and the psychological mechanism of cultivation. First, some opponents of the theory criticize that Gerbner et al. have failed to determine in what direction the relationship lies and suggest the possibility of reverse causation. This article points out that although Gerbner and his associates acknowledge that both of the causal relationships are possible, they put much more emphasis on the direction of television's contribution on viewer's conceptions of social reality. Second, other critics maintain that the theory does not take into consideration any assessment of the nature of viewers' perceptions and interpretations of program content, which might mediate television influence. They claim that cultivation theory overlooks the perspective of the active viewer, and thus in the cultivation framework, viewers are given the only passive role in receiving the mass-mediated messages. These opponents contend that meanings of the television messages are not fixed but polysemic. They argue that the reason most cultivation studies have found only low correlations between TV viewing and social reality beliefs is that those studies test only one interpretation derived from content analysis. Based on this perspective, the author points out that diverse viewers' interpretations of the "message system" on TV might be possible concerning second-order cultivation. Third, one of the basic assumptions of the theory, non-selective viewing, is critically examined. Several researchers are opposed to this assumption. Some studies found that program selectivity was linked more strongly than overall TV viewing to cultivation effects. Therefore it can be argued that using the amount of overall viewing is not the most appropriate way of explaining cultivation
Following the publication of major newspapers addressed to the intelligentsia, there emerged a number of popular papers which were mainly directed toward the general public by the extensive use of furikana on the Chinese characters. These popular papers were relatively cheap and widely read, added an entertainment aspect to other papers, and functioned as a means of developing a new style of written Japanese. The ultimate objective of the present study is to clarify the development process of the new style of the language adopted by three representative popular papers, Yomiuri Shinbun, Tokyo Eiri Shinbun and Kanayomi Shinbun, during the period from 1875 to 1880. For this purpose, this study attempts to identify the nature and characteristics of regular readers by analyzing 8,352 letters from approximately 3,700 readers. Major findings of the present study are as follows: (1) Nearly half the letters were in fact contributed from regular readers, who accounted for a small proportion of the public. However, more than 70 percent of the contributors were residents of Tokyo, especially from the downtown sections of Asakusa, Nihonbashi, Fukagawa, and Shitaya. Of the 59 contributors for whom details could be ascertained, 57 were male and about half were merchants while the other half were of samurai origin and now professionally engaged in journalism or public service. (2) Regular contributors formed an informal support group for these papers and often gathered at the publisher in order to have direct communication. Their letters functioned as a source of news for other readers. More importantly, the conversation within the group was often directly written up as letters, thus preparing the way for the formation of a new style of written Japanese language.
During the 10 years of the late seventies to early nineties, with Deng Xiaoping's modernization policy's establishment, excecution and improvement of economic reform and opening to the outside world, China has had many great changes which aroused attention all over the world in the fields of politics, economy, culture etc., and at present these changes are still being expanded quickly. It should be pointed out is that throughout the development and evolution process of this historical transformation from traditional society to modern society, whatever important social changes would undoubtedly make an old order, old formation face a new challenge or a new choice. It will exert a great influence upon its future development as well as on the inherent mass communication structure of China that is closely related with social development. It must look squarely at this new choice, and at the same time face up to all kinds of pressure. This thesis, firstly, from history development angle, gives a general relation and analysis on some of the basic characteristics of the inherent mass communication structure of China and historical reason of how it formed; then, on the basis of grasping and summing up the structure history, it puts the traditional structure in the present changeable social background of China, analizes some of the existing unreasonableness and urgency for a reform that must be carried out in this field, centering on the structure's contradiction and conflict with every aspect of the society. The thesis is composed of the following two parts: The first part: The Basic Structure of China Mass Communication It is reflected in three aspects: firstly, mass media has different function from that of western countries, such as propagandizing and educating people, mobilizing and organizing all kinds of social strength and keeping the political unity of the whole country, etc. Secondly, in the aspect of the direction of communication, it describes the intensifying communication from above to below and weakening communication from below to above and the deficiency of level communication. Thirdly, it discusses some of the characteristics of mass communication in operating and managing aspects. The second part: The Realistic Crisis of the Structure Ahead Starting from the view of economic, political and cultural changes and alteration of mass communication circumstance itself, the thesis points out the necessity and urgency for a reform that must be carried out in China's mass communication structure centering on the unadaptability of China's mass communication structure to the realistic society and various contradictions and conflicts it caused.