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A reception analysis of a development-oriented television programme by a multi-ethnic society
Ahmad, Jamaliah
The mam objective of this study is to find out how a multi-racial society interprets development-onented television programmes. To ensure that this research is socially meaningful, the interpretation of the development-onented television programmes was done within the framework of the social and cultural conditions of the Malaysian society where the study took place. In order to understand this phenomenon better we have looked into the Reception Analysis Theory. This theory seeks to integrate Social Science perspectives and Humanistic perspectives by adopting empirical approach to audience research. The literature also suggested that Reception Analysis is a step closer to a better approach in studying media audiences because its methodology stresses that comparative empirical analysis must be earned out between the media discourses and the audience discourses. In this study we also wanted to find out to what extent ethnic-income-based factors influence the members’ decoding or meaning-making behaviours as they watch a selected development-onented television programme. Such a relationship is expected to bear a set of meanings that could be interpreted as discursive and social. This is because these meanings are conceived as result of the members’ dialogues with the programme text. In this respect, we have applied Parkin’s Theory of Meaning Systems that suggests meanings could be categorized as dominant (shanng the dominant ideas), negotiated (partly shanng the dominant ideas) and oppositional (rejecting the dominant ideas). In each case, each meaning is ‘read’ in relation to the existing social conditions. The study was conducted in three stages. The first stage was an ‘exploratory study on the television programme’ where we interviewed the television professionals for issues that might be of relevant as input to our structured questionnaire for the focus group sessions. The second stage was the ‘focus group interviews’ relating to the programme that was selected for them to watch. The final stage was where we conducted ‘personal interviews’ with people from the government and other related organizations, including those from the various political parties. The aim was to get their opinions on what they think about the programme and the rightful role of television in developing Malaysia. From the findings it was found that the different ethnic groups make sense of the television programme content in complex and unexpected ways, thus resulting in the production of vaned meanings. This concurred with the general notion of Reception Analysis that mass media audiences make sense of media contents in many different ways. For instance, some of the different ethnic groups were seen to be modifying the ‘preferred meaning’ of the text, and relocating these meanings for alternative ends. The study also supported the notion that the interpretative meanings of the developmentoriented programme were social and discursive. The socially bounded factors, such as the groups’ organizational culture, working responsibility, educational sponsorships, and increased educational level among the less dominant groups were found to have contributed to the shaping of the respective groups’ decoding behaviours. Based on our findings, we are of the opinion that the Reception Analysis theory is a suitable theory in accounting for the different modes of decoding and interpreting media contents. Meaning making is not as simple as it may seems because the process involves not only the psychological aspects of the decoders but the interplay of other factors, such as, their socio-cultural discourses, the power relation experiences, as well as constraints caused by language rules and codes in the text. The Parkin’s theory was also used as our framework to define meanings made by the groups. The theory was primarily used in assigning the groups’ decoding position by differentiating the positions into dominant, negotiated or oppositional. Nevertheless, the findings of this study showed that the three decoding positions delimited the probability of having more meanings to the programme content by the different ethnic groups. If not checked, it would naturally defeat the purpose of generating new insights from the study. As such, our study concluded that the original three decoding positions suggested by Parkin were insufficient to account for the complexity m decoding media messages. At the same time, our study is also about communication development. We approached the subject of development from the communication viewpoint as opposed to the socioeconomics approach. Our contention is that a subject like development could also be understood using communication models. In this particular respect, Malaysia’s development strategies were being evaluated from the way respondents interpreted the development-oriented television programme called 4Miskin’ produced by TV 3, a private television network in Malaysia. The findings from our data reve...
Keyword(s): Ethnicity; Mass media; Culture; Television programs (Sociological aspects)
Publication Date:
Type: Other
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Contributor(s): Corcoran, Farrel
Institution: Dublin City University
Citation(s): Ahmad, Jamaliah (2000) A reception analysis of a development-oriented television programme by a multi-ethnic society. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
Publisher(s): Dublin City University. School of Communications
File Format(s): application/pdf
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First Indexed: 2013-06-08 05:23:00 Last Updated: 2019-02-09 06:35:27