About the division
The Division in Audience Studies is a platform for researchers who have their focus on the people in the media landscape, be it audiences, users, publics, or participants. As the prediction about ‘the people formerly known as the audience’ has been negated, the Audience Studies division addresses the return to audience studies in Europe, as many researchers in various disciplines across the humanities and social sciences identify themselves as audience researchers. The Audience Studies division is open to various approaches (theoretical/critical works, methodological discussions or empirical studies) and methods (quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods). We welcome researchers who feel that the concept of audiences deserves a distinctly cross-disciplinary and cross-media approach where audiences can be considered both medium-specific as well as beyond any given medium and disciplinary boundaries. We invite studies which help to understand how changes in medium (like TV, radio, social media service, newspaper etc.) influence us as audiences, as well as studies that seek to understand the mutual shaping where the changing viewer, listener or user, producer practices also changes the medium. These kinds of mutual relationships provide a focus for our research.
As a second strand, the division invites analyses of media engagement, including engaging with political culture and media culture. We see media engagement as directly connected to the work of audience research, providing a significant body of knowledge on subjectivity and identity, for personal individual and collective social contexts. We recognise research on media engagement can connect with media industries and policy studies, media consumption, and political communication, art, performance and theatre studies. Thus, we are open to a diverse range of methods and interpretations of audience engagement and disengagement with media, and what happens beyond engagement, in the form of audiences as participants and producers of media themselves. We welcome research which addresses the ways in which audiences engage with the digital media landscape and negotiate the challenges of platformization and datafication. The third strand for the Audience Studies division is to look at the audiences that transcend mediums and follow information and entertainment flows across platforms. These kinds of mobilities and cross-media audience practices result in theoretical and methodological challenges that can be addressed in the division discussions. We look forward to papers that address audiences both as individual practices worth investigating as well as global changes challenged by media environments. The division accepts full papers, long abstracts, panel presentations and workshops. Discussants will be appointed to papers and long abstracts. Still, the division also assumes that all participants will read each other’s papers in order for the discussion to be more informed.