Sunday, 16 December 2012

AUDIENCES - a wonderful new book from Amsterdam University Press and a bumper new issue of PARTICIPATIONS!

Frame grab from Le Voyage dans la lune/A Trip to the Moon (Georges Méliès, 1902). Read Dan North's great blog entry about the audience-oriented 'attractionist aesthetic' of this film', and Frank Kessler's chapter on this film in the collection Audiences: Defining and Researching Screen Entertainment Reception
This timely volume engages with one of the most important shifts in recent film studies: the turn away from text-based analysis towards the viewer. Historically, this marks a return to early interest in the effect of film on the audience by psychoanalysts and psychologists, which was overtaken by concern with the 'effects' of film, linked to calls for censorship and moral panics rather than to understanding the mental and behavioral world of the spectator. Early cinema history has revealed the diversity of film-viewing habits, while traditional 'box office' studies, which treated the audience initially as a homogeneous market, have been replaced by the study of individual consumers and their motivations. Latterly, there has been a marked turn towards more sophisticated economic and sociological analysis of attendance data. And as the film experience fragments across multiple formats, the perceptual and cognitive experience of the individual viewer (who is also an auditor) has become increasingly accessible. With contributions from Gregory Waller, John Sedgwick and Martin Barker, this work spans the spectrum of contemporary audience studies, revealing work being done on local, non-theatrical and live digital transmission audiences, and on the relative attraction of large-scale, domestic and mobile platforms. [Publisher's blurb for Audiences: Defining and Researching Screen Entertainment Reception, ed. by Ian Christie (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2012)]

Film Studies For Free is delighted to pass on news of the publication of an open access version of a wonderful new book from Amsterdam University Press. Audiences: Defining and Researching Screen Entertainment Reception is an extremely high quality collection edited by Ian Christie, Professor of Film and Media History, at Birkbeck, University of London. This great tome has, of course, been added to FSFF's permanent listing of Open Access eBooks. Please support its generous publisher and author by ordering a copy for your university library!

Since we're on the subject of audiences, it seems a brilliant moment to reproduce, below, links to the incredibly rich contents of the latest, just published, issue of PARTICIPATIONS, the excellent online journal of audience research. Not all items are directly film studies related, but they should be of interest to all researching issues of reception in film and media culture.

  • Editorial; Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: In Search of Audiences Ian Christie
PART I: Reassessing Historic Audiences
  • “At the Picture Palace”: The British Cinema Audience, 1895-1920 25 by Nicholas Hiley
  • The Gentleman in the Stalls: Georges Méliès and Spectatorship in Early Cinema by Frank Kessler
  • Beyond the Nickelodeon: Cinemagoing, Everyday Life and Identity Politics by Judith Thissen
  • Cinema in the Colonial City: Early Film Audiences in Calcutta by Ranita Chatterjee
  • Locating Early Non-Theatrical Audiences by Gregory A. Waller
  • Understanding Audience Behavior Through Statistical Evidence: London and Amsterdam in the Mid-1930s byJohn Sedgwick and Clara Pafort-Overduin
PART II: New Frontiers in Audience Research
  • The Aesthetics and Viewing Regimes of Cinema and Television, and Their Dialectics by Annie van den Oever
  • Tapping into Our Tribal Heritage: The Lord of the Rings and Brain Evolution by Torben Grodal
  • Cinephilia in the Digital Age by Laurent Jullier and Jean-Marc Leveratto
  • Spectator, Film and the Mobile Phone by Roger Odin
  • Exploring Inner Worlds: Where Cognitive Psychology May Take Us by A dialogue between Tim J. Smith and Ian Christie
PART III: Once and Future Audiences
  • Crossing Out the Audience by Martin Barker
  • The Cinema Spectator: A Special Memory by Raymond Bellour
  • Operatic Cinematics: A New View from the Stalls by Kay Armatage
  • What Do We Really Know About Film Audiences? by Ian Christie
  • Notes; General Bibliography; Notes on Contributors; Index of Names; Index of Film Titles; Index of Subjects

Special Section: Comic-Book Audiences
Special Section: Music Audiences
Special Section: Audience Involvement and New Production Paradigms [COST Action]
Special Section: Multi-Method Audience Research [COST Action]

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