"Despite the (implicit) nominal link to the work on what is also called 'Reception Theory', within the field of literary studies, carried out by Wolfgang Iser, Hans Jauss and other literary scholars (particular in Germany), the body of recent work on media audiences commonly referred to by this name, has on the whole, a different origin, although there are some theoretical links (cf., the work of Stanley Fish) than the work in literary theory. In practice, the term 'reception analysis', has come to be widely used as a way of characterising the wave of audience research which occurred within communications and cultural studies during the 1980s and 1990s. On the whole, this work has adopted a 'culturalist' perspective, has tended to use qualitative (and often ethnographic) methods of research and has tended to be concerned, one way or another, with exploring the active choices, uses and interpretations made of media materials, by their consumers.
As indicated in the previous discussion of 'The Media Audience', the single most important point of origin for this work, lies with the development of cultural studies in the writings of Stuart Hall at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham, England, in the early 1970s and, in particular, Hall's widely influential 'encoding/decoding' model of communications (see the discussion of 'The Media Audience' for an explanation of this model). Hall's model provided the inspiration, and much of the conceptual framework for a number of C.C.C.S' explorations of the process of media consumption, notably David Morley's widely cited study of the cultural patterning of differential interpretations of media messages among The 'Nationwide' Audience and Dorothy Hobson's work on women viewers of the soap opera Crossroads. These works were the forerunners of a blossoming of cultural studies work focusing on the media audience, throughout the 1980s and 1990s, including, among the most influential, from a feminist point of view, the work of Tania Modleski and Janice Radway on women consumers of soap opera and romance, and the work of Ien Ang, Tamar Liebes and Elihu Katz, Kim Schroder and Jostein Gripsrud on international cross cultural consumption of American drama series, such as Dallas and Dynasty.
Much of this work has been effectively summarised and popularised, especially, in the United States by John Fiske, who has drawn on the theoretical work of Michel de Certeau to develop a particular emphasis on the 'active audience', operating within what he terms the 'semiotic democracy' of postmodern pluralistic culture. Fiske's work has subsequently been the object of some critique, in which a number of authors, among them Budd, Condit, Evans, Gripsrud, and Seamann have argued that the emphasis on the openness (or 'polysemy') of the message and on the activity (and the implied 'empowerment') of the audience, within reception analysis, has been taken too far, to the extent that the original issue--of the extent of media power--has been lost sight of, as if the 'text' had been theoretically 'dissolved' into the audience's (supposedly) multiple 'readings' of (and 'resistances' to) it.
In the late 1980s, there were a number of calls to scholars to recognise a possible 'convergence' of previously disparate approaches under the general banner of 'reception analysis' (cf. in particular, Jensen and Rosengren), while Blumler et al. have claimed that the work of a scholar such as Radway is little more than a 're-invention' of the 'uses and gratifications' tradition--a claim hotly contested by Schroder. More recently, both Curran and Corner have offered substantial critiques of 'reception analysis'--the former accusing many reception analysts of ignorance of the earlier traditions of media audience research, and the latter accusing them of retreating away from important issues of macro-politics and power into inconsequential micro-ethnographies of domestic television consumption. For a reply to these criticisms, see Morley, 1992."
(David Morley, The Museum of Broadcast Communications)
"One of the first designs of the information theory is the model of communication by Shannon and Weaver. Claude Shannon, an engineer at Bell Telephone Laboratories, worked with Warren Weaver on the classic book ‘The mathematical theory of communication’. In this work Shannon and Weaver sought to identify the quickest and most efficient way to get a message from one point to another. Their goal was to discover how communication messages could be converted into electronic signals most efficiently, and how those signals could be transmitted with a minimum of error. In studying this, Shannon and Weaver developed a mechanical and mathematical model of communication, known as the 'Shannon and Weaver model of communication'. ...
Shannon and Weaver broadly defined communication as 'all of the procedures by which one mind may affect another'. Their communication model consisted of an information source: the source’s message, a transmitter, a signal, and a receiver: the receiver’s message, and a destination. Eventually, the standard communication model featured the source or encoder, who encodes a message by translating an idea into a code in terms of bits. A code is a language or other set of symbols or signs that can be used to transmit a thought through one or more channels to elicit a response in a receiver or decoder. Shannon and Weaver also included the factor noise into the model. The study conducted by Shannon and Weaver was motivated by the desire to increase the efficiency and accuracy or fidelity of transmission and reception. Efficiency refers to the bits of information per second that can be sent and received. Accuracy is the extent to which signals of information can be understood. In this sense, accuracy refers more to clear reception than to the meaning of message. This engineering model asks quite different questions than do other approaches to human communication research."
(Communication Studies, University of Twente)
Shannon, C.E., & Weaver, W. (1949). The mathematical theory of communication. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Hawes, L.C. (1975). Pragmatics of analoguing: Theory and model construction in communication. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Fig.1 Mathematical (information) model of communication.
"We waste too much time racing from home to office, says Marshall McLuhan, an English professor at the University of Toronto who's becoming known internationally for his study on the effects of media. Society's obsession with files and folders forces office workers to make the daily commute from the suburbs to downtown. McLuhan says the stockbroker is the smart one. He learned some time ago that most business may be conducted from anywhere if done by phone. McLuhan's prescient knowledge: In the future, people will no longer only gather in classrooms to learn but will also be moved by 'electronic circuitry.'"
(Marshall McLuhan, 1965)
Medium: Television; Programme: Take 30; Broadcast Date: April 1, 1965; Hosts: George Garlock, Paul Soles; Guest(s): Marshall McLuhan; Duration: 3:25
"A working definition of CMC that, pragmatically and in light of the rapidly changing nature of communication technologies, does not specify forms, describes it as 'the process by which people create, exchange, and perceive information using networked telecommunications systems that facilitate encoding, transmitting, and decoding messages' (December, 1996). This seems to encompass both the delivery mechanisms, derived from communication theory, and the importance of the interaction of people that the technologies and processes mediate (Naughton, 2000). It also provides for great flexibility in approaches to researching CMC, as 'studies of cmc can view this process from a variety of interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives by focusing on some combination of people, technology, processes, or effects' (December, 1996)."
(Alexander Romiszowski & Robin Mason, 2004, p.398)
1). David H. Jonassen ed. (2004). 'Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology'. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. ISBN 0805841458.