Sharon R. Mazzarella
In this introduction, I provide a historical, methodological, and epistemological context for a discussion of the current state of text-only approaches to media studies as exemplified by the chapters in this volume. I begin with a discussion of the specific methodology of content analysis not to give it primacy, but rather for the sake of chronology. I then discuss more qualitative approaches to the study of media content and representation before justifying why text-only studies of media are relevant. Finally, I explain the organizational structure of the volume and introduce the individual chapters before offering concluding thoughts and future directions for media content studies, specifically, the need to: (1) continue to embrace and respect a range of methodological and theoretical perspectives; (2) remain open to evolving and refining our research questions as the technology and content evolve; and (3) acknowledge the potential of interdisciplinarity to make our scholarship more robust.
[M]edia texts present a distinctive discursive moment between encoding and decoding that justifies special scholarly engagement. The narrative character of media content, its potential as a site of ideological negotiation and its impact as mediated “reality” necessitates interpretation in its own right.
(Elfriede Fürsich (2009, p. 238))
Studies of media content have been ...