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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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8

Media Ethnography

Thickness and Force

Matt Briggs

ABSTRACT

This chapter explores some of the contributions that media ethnography can make to theorization in media and cultural studies, while also highlighting the need for continuing methodological inventiveness in audience research. Initially the issue of “thickness” is highlighted in order for the chapter to explore the multiple practices that are articulated in and through media use. In doing this, the chapter also explores some of the relationships between identity, media texts, and media consumption by tracing the ways in which the practices, roles, and activities that make up our everyday lives both shape and are shaped by the meanings that we make both of the act of watching television and of television's content. Second, by proposing the concept of “force,” the chapter explores one way of researching the experiential and embodied aspects of meaning-making, as well as the emotional investments and attachments that audiences hold in relation to their media. The methodological problems inherent in rendering the concepts of “thickness” and “force” are highlighted throughout, as well as the opportunities that are afforded by methodological creativity in this area. The case study is drawn from research in the field of children's television and parenting practices.

René Descartes, writing in the 1640s, enumerated the passions as: wonder, esteem, scorn, generosity, pride, humility, servility, veneration, disdain, love, hatred, ...

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