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The Making of American Audiences
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Book description

In The Making of American Audiences, Richard Butsch provides a comprehensive survey of American entertainment audiences from the colonial period to the modern day. Providing coverage of theatre, opera, vaudeville, minstrelsy, movies, radio and television, he examines the evolution of audience practices as each genre supplanted another as the primary popular entertainment. Based on original historical research, this volume exposes how audiences made themselves through their practices - how they asserted control over their own entertainments and their own behaviour. Importantly, Butsch articulates two long-term processes: pacification and privatization. Whereas during the nineteenth century, overactive audiences represented a threat to civic order through their unruly behaviour, in the twentieth century, audiences have become more passive, dependent upon and controlled by media messages. This timely study serves as an important contribution to communication research, as well as American cultural history and cultural studies.

Reviews

‘… substantial and absorbing … it appealing style will draw a wide range of readers with an interest in the many facets of entertainment.’

Source: Library Journal

‘A masterly study that should become a standard text.’

Source: Sight and Sound

‘Butsch’s thoroughly researched, critically informed and vividly written accounts of other ‘popular’ media and their audiences’ socio-economic ‘making’ provide extremely useful comparative material for research into cinema audiences’ constructions.’

Source: The English Association

'This fascinating book is also an impressive piece of scholarship.'

Source: Ethics, Place and Environment

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