BBC World Service Audience Research, 1932-2011

Webb, Alban; Gillespie, Marie and Mackay, Hugh (2011). BBC World Service Audience Research, 1932-2011. Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies.



This special issue explores the development of the tools and techniques of audience research at the WS, and the political, cultural, and technological factors that have shaped and been shaped by these. The research designs and devices that have been developed and deployed at the WS are analysed not as culturally neutral tools that deliver more or less objective measures of empirical realities but as change agents in organisational life, implicated in editorial decision-making and in processes of policy formation and change. The articles in this special issue examine a range of issues: which methods become hegemonic in WS audience research, why and with what consequences; what forms of agency are enacted in different methodological repertoires; the transformative and critical potential of audience methods; and the invisibilities and absences engendered by the methods used in audience research.

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