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By Marshall McLuhan

Museum und Medien - Museumskommunikation - Kommunikationstheorie - Medientheorie - Museum und Öffentlichkeit.

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Extra info for Die magischen Kanäle = "Understanding media"

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Prevailing methodology was deductive reasoning on the basis of evaluative premises of the nature of human beings and of their potential. P HA S E 2: P L U RA L I S M A N D R E I N F O RC E M ENT From some time preceding the Second World War, and in particular during and after it, there developed a more empirical approach to questions of media and their effects. This approach was largely spearheaded by psychologists and social psychologists working for the US armed services to investigate the potential of wartime propaganda to bring about alterations T h e o r y C i r c l e s a n d S p i r a l s 31 in knowledge, attitude and behaviour of readers, listeners or viewers.

New Audience Research This is defined largely by its rejection of the role attributed to the audience in traditional media effects studies. These had positioned the audience either as passive receivers in a 'transmissional' model of communication, or as marginally more active receivers whose media preferences were identified mainly by reference to broad categories of content and gratification, and broad categories of membership of social and cultural groupings. New audience research, drawing on ethnographic methodology, regards the processes whereby both authors and readers make sense of texts - their encodings and decodings - to be complex, culturally derived competencies, and that extend to the factors that bring individuals to texts in the first place.

In other words, at least some of the basic conceptual tools that are encountered in the study of mass communications are of much broader applicability. A focus on the media in the BFI's treatment of the key aspects, finally, could divert our attention from the media as situated in society and culture, acted upon and constituted by society and culture just as much as they feed into, influence, serve and transform society and culture. FROM D E S C R I P T I O N TO T H E O R Y The distinction between theory and ideology, as I have indicated, is never absolute, but is rather a question of degree of systematicity, reflexivity and openness, and a question of purpose.

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