This chapter reflects on the challenges of developing a translocal approach to audience research. After providing a short critical review of the literature outlining the benefits of such an approach from a theoretical point of view, this essay goes on to discuss the difficulties arising from the attempt to develop an understanding of audiences' experiences in different environments informed by a truly comparative lens. An approach, in other words, that considers how the experiences of audiences in different parts of the world relate to one another. Informed by the author's experience as a white European US-educated scholar employed by a US university – a scholar whose work has extensively focused on Japan, but who is also significantly influenced by her French citizenship and familiarity with francophone academic literature – the chapter considers the practical implications of conducting fieldwork in multiple cultural contexts, as well as the consequences of approaching research with a keen awareness of our (and our informants') complex identities.
In his seminal work on the hybrid nature of contemporary cultures, Argentinian Mexican cultural critic Néstor García-Canclini (1995) describes the anthropologist as entering the city by foot, the sociologist “by car and via the main highway,” and “the communications scholar by plane” (p. 4). Much of the corpus of communication research in the ...