Who decides the meaning of a production?

Something that I noticed is that when people talk about media productions, they still unconsciously assume that they’re solid things, that a media production is something on it’s own which cannot be influenced. At the same time, audiences are still assumed to be passive: not engaging, not in dialogue or negotiation with what they see, hear or read. This is of course outdated , partly due to the theories and researches in cultural analysis. The “trend” now is to note that “audiences can also be producers!”

I agree with scholar Vicky Mayer, who states that media production studies and audiences have very much in common and should be more in conversation to be able to share knowledge more. Also, people outside this industry should, in my humble opinion, get more access to the theories about discourse and negotiation, for example of Stuart Hall. That way people could actually reflect on their own “media behavior”.

We see the different discourses now in the discussion about racism, white privilege, Black Lives Matter and diversity. Sunny Bergman’s documentary Wit is ook een kleur, for example, revealed people’s positions and discourses about the subject so well. You see here that a media production, is received very differently by different people, which means that meaing is created by the consumers, not by the producers (which could have another goal). In both fields, media production studies and audience studies, should not forget that their truth is somewhere in the middle.

Aybala Carlak
244 words

Mayer, Vicky. “The Places Where Audience Studies and Production Studies Meet.” Television & New Media 17.8 (2016): 706-718.

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