segunda-feira, 10 de maio de 2010

Dr Nico Carpentier


Nico Carpentier (PhD) is an assistant professor working at the Communication Studies Department of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB - Free University of Brussels). He is co-director of the VUB research centre CEMESO and vice-president of the European Communication Research and Education Association. His theoretical focus is on discourse theory, his research interests are situated in the relationship between media, journalism, politics and culture,
especially towards social domains as war & conflict, ideology, participation and democracy, both at the national and international level.

For more informations:


If we want to think about the future of internet research, we have to go back to the past, in order to counter the enthusiastic and sometimes messianistic discourses of novelty that still engulf ‘new’ media technologies and practices. If we want to take the calls to re-articulate (or re-new) our present-day ideological and theoretical frameworks –to deepen democracy- seriously, we need to return to what has been said before. If we want to evaluate the democratic capacity of these so-called ‘new’ media practices, we need to contextualise them by confronting them with the media practices ‘from the past’ (which are -as always- still very present), we need to consider the applicability of the ‘old’ (so-called outdated) theoretical frameworks to make sense of the diversity of participatory practices that characterise the media configuration of today.

The starting point of this paper is audience theory, and more specifically, the structuring dimensions of audience theory: the active/passive, the interaction/participation and the micro/macro dimension. The strategy behind this starting point is to show that the signifier audience has not lost its conceptual strength, and can provide us with a well-functioning connection with past theoretisations of media use in order to counter the tabula rasa tendencies of (some) new media theory. Moreover, foregrounding the interaction/participation dimension of audience theory will allow me to show the diversity and complexity of audience activities, and open the discussion on the history of participation and on the differences in intensity of participatory practices.

This choice for audience theory as starting point implies that I do not subscribe to the idea that the signifier audience has become outdated and should be abandoned –a point of view that McQuail seems to have adopted –at least at certain moments in time- for instance when writing that: ‘there is no doubt that the audience concept is in many ways outdated and its traditional role in communication theory, models, and research has been called in to question. We can (and largely do) go on behaving as if the audience still exists “out there” somewhere, but we may be largely deceiving ourselves.’ (McQuail, 1997: 142) On the contrary, I want to argue that the signifier audience can provide us with a set of bridges with our intellectual traditions, allowing for the evaluation of the specificity of the claims made on behalf of the online active audience. In this paper, I first want to provide an overview of audience theory’s dimensions, which will provide me with the toolkit to examine three of these specificity claims: the shift from one-to-many to many-to-many communication; the re-articulation of the audience into the ‘produser’; and the convergence of top-down business with bottom-up production and consumption practices. Their problems will be discussed, each time with the support of a small case study.

Sem comentários:

Enviar um comentário