By Klaus Jensen
This is often the 1st quantity that covers using qualitative study tools in mass media study. Theoretical insights are included from discourse research, ethnography and reception conception.
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Extra resources for A Handbook of Qualitative Methodology for Mass Communication Research
Before considering the origin of social semiotics and its relevance for further research, a brief look at visual communication will serve to summarize some main points of the humanistic perspective on culture as communication. THE CASE OF VISUAL COMMUNICATION In contradistinction to alphabetic communication which has been studied extensively by the humanities, the study of images for a long time remained the specialized domain of art history and, more recently, film theory. Moreover, social-scientific communication research may have found it difficult to characterize visual communication processes, because the categories of content analysis and survey methodology are better suited to capture the discrete, digital elements of alphabetic communication than the analog coding of images.
In some cases the purpose is the study of large quantities of linguistic data, for example a corpus of grammatical forms; in other cases the aim is to simulate general processes of language use and structuration, as in the growing field of artificial intelligence (for discussion of its potential and pitfalls, see Hofstadter and Dennett, 1982). The computer as a heuristic model may also be seen to underlie the influential transformational-generative grammar above. Mostly, however, the computer has not been central to the development of humanistic methodologies proper.
The New Criticism set out to study what was perceived as an objective, self-contained structure of textual paradoxes and ambivalences (Eagleton, 1983: Ch. 1). Any interest in the authorial intention behind, or the affective impact of, this structure was denounced as intentional and affective fallacies (Wimsatt and Beardsley, 1954). On the one hand, this approach tended to isolate literature from its broader social and historical context; on the other, the attention given to the text itself helped to improve analytical techniques, being a form of professionalization and academic legitimation which was an ambition of literary criticism in the 1930s and 1940s.