Communicative activities during the television reception
After decades of behavioristic media research, there is now a new media research that not only asks what “people do with media”, but also addresses mass media recipients as “interpretive communities”. I will present results from an empirical study on television reception which analyzes audiotapes of several families during ongoing media (television) reception by method of Conversation Analysis. The communicative situation can be described as an “open state of talk” (Goffman) – with lacking or delayed second utterances in adjacency pairs, long phases of silences, etc. But there are also extended and lively episodes of communication among the recipients during ongoing reception. The article will first discuss the <i>general</i> structures of this type of talk in the process of reception. I will focus especially on communication of recipients making evaluative assessments about what they see on TV. I will then explore the correlations between the televised <i>media genres</i> and the communicative activities of the recipients, and analyze their particular character. I will conclude with a discussion of recipients’ talk while watching television commercials and identify a specific pattern of appropriation which I call brand guessing. The overall question of the paper is: How do the interpretive communities make sense of television?