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Title: The social organisation of watching television :a conversation analytic investigation of assessments in TV audience interaction
Authors: Hatice, Ergul
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Watching television has long been a central part of the daily lives of many people, families and groups all around the world. For example, recent statistics indicate that the average time spent on TV watching in the US is 2.8 hours per day. In the national context of this study – Turkey – the figure is as high as 4.1 hours per day. Most TV watching takes place in households where people watch TV together with their family or friends. Even though it occupies a considerable amount of time in people’s lives, how people watch TV together as a social activity still remains underresearched. This study examines the social practices performed by an audience (a group of Turkish females) while they are watching a reality TV show (marriage show) together, by examining (1) how they organize their talk during TV watching, and (2) what social and cultural practices are achieved through this activity. The study employs the methodologies of conversation analysis (CA) and membership categorization analysis (MCA) to the examination of video-recordings of people watching a reality TV show. Analysis of the recordings reveal that one of the most common social actions performed by this specific audience group is making ‘assessments’, relevant to what is being watched. As such, the main focus of analysis is placed on how assessments are produced and sequentially positioned, in addition to explicating the social and cultural functions of doing assessments during social TV watching. A fine-detailed analysis of the production and the organisation of assessments during TV watching contributes to our understanding of the organisation of ‘continuing states of incipient talk’ (CSIT) which has been given little consideration in previous literature. By examining the issues relevant to sequential positioning and response relevance in assessment sequences during TV watching, this study provides insights into the organisation of CSIT while at the same time emphasizing the importance of the activity type that people are engaged in while examining organisation of talk. This study also has significant implications for adopting micro-analytic research in media audience studies. By examining the actual video-recordings of TV watching, this study demonstrates (1) how people constitute themselves as a social group who has a shared understanding of the world, and (2) how cultural norms and expectations are co-constructed and perpetuated through social TV watching.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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