Media Uses and Gratifications: Some Features of the Approach

Professor Jay G. Blumler

Duration: 00:28:35

Recorded: 26 October 2012


Is the active audience an article of faith or an empirical question? Empirical and quantifiable measurement of gratifications sought or obtained from consumption of a wide range of media materials proves to have been remarkably easy and productive when undertaken properly. After reviewing the principal conceptual framework of the 'uses and gratifications' paradigm, Jay will provide an overview of the prominent and to some extent recurrent typologies of gratifications sought (or obtained) that have emerged from research in the area. He will also review the social origins of gratifications, and the interplay of gratifications and effects.

There has been some lessening of interest in the paradigm from approximately the 1990s, and the talk will end with a discussion of the main criticisms of the approach. Having flourished in a period of classic, limited-channel television, can the uses and gratifications approach be applied in today's very different communications system? If so, how? And what, if any, lessons can we take from its mainstream heyday?

About the speakers

  • Professor Jay G. Blumler

    Emeritus Professor of Public Communication, University of Leeds

    Jay G. Blumler is an Emeritus Professor of Public Communication at the University of Leeds, where he directed its Centre for Television Research from 1963 until his retirement in 1989, and an Emeritus Professor of Journalism at the University of Maryland, where he taught and researched in autumn semesters from 1982 to 1995. Much of his research and writing has been devoted to various facets of political communication, initially, however, via a uses and gratifications study (with Denis McQuail) of British voters' responses to a general election campaign (1964). Principal publications include The Crisis of Public Communication, 1995 (with Michael Gurevitch), The Internet and Democratic Citizenship, 2009 (with Stephen Coleman) and 'The Shape of Political Communication', in press for an Oxford Handbook of Political Communication. With a number of colleagues (Michael Gurevitch, Jack McLeod and Bill Dutton), he has also promoted and conducted comparative analyses of political communication. Jay G. Blumler is a past President and Fellow of the International Communication Association and was a founding co-Editor of the European Journal of Communication.

    Further information on Professor Jay G. Blumler

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