Audiences, museums and the English middle class

Brian Longhurst, Gaynor Bagnall, Mike Savage


The increasingly accepted way to analyse any media product is to consider production, text and audience processes. In a deceptively simple way, a television programme, for example, can be examined in the institutional, social and political context in which it is produced and with respect to the organizational framework that provides its immediate production environment. Second, its textual structures and strategies can be analysed using different approaches, such as structuralism or (in certain respects) content analysis. Third, the way in which the audience understands (or decodes) the text can be considered, as can the makeup of the audience, in terms of standard factors such as class, gender, age, ethnicity and so on. There are many variations on this sort of approach. This paper starts from such a premise. It suggests that in addition to the well formulated approaches to the study of the museum that focus generally on the institutional and wider social context for museums, or on specific museums and the processes that occur within them, or on the much studied strategies for display and narration of texts, the audiences for museums are also important.

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Copyright (c) 2015 Brian Longhurst, Gaynor Bagnall, Mike Savage

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Museum and Society

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