This edited collection comprises foundational texts and new contributions that revisit the theory of the "audience commodity" as first articulated by Dallas Smythe. Contributors focus on the historical and theoretical importance of this theory to critical studies of media/communication, culture, society, economics, and technology - a theory that has underpinned critical media studies for more than three decades, but has yet to be compiled in a single edited collection. The primary objective is to appraise its relevance in relation to changes in media and communication since the time of Smythe's writing, principally addressing the rise of digital, online, and mobile media. In addition to updating this perspective, contributors confront the topic critically in order to test its limits. Contextualizing theories of the audience commodity within an intellectual history, they consider their enduring relationship to the field of media/communication studies as well as the important legacy of Dallas Smythe.
Lee McGuigan is a PhD student in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. His research has been published in the Journal of Communication Inquiry and Television & New Media. Vincent Manzerolle (PhD, University of Western Ontario, Canada) is a lecturer in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. He has published articles in Ephemera, Surveillance and Society, and Triple C: Communication, Capitalism, and Critique.
Contents: Lee McGuigan: After Broadcast, What? An Introduction to the Legacy of Dallas Smythe - William H. Melody: Audiences, Commodities and Market Relations: An Introduction to the Audience Commodity Thesis - Dallas W. Smythe: Communications: Blindspot of Western Marxism - Graham Murdock: Introduction to The Blindspot Revisited - Graham Murdock: Blindspots About Western Marxism: A Reply to Dallas Smythe - Eileen R. Meehan: Introduction to "Ratings and the Institutional Approach" - Eileen R. Meehan: Ratings and the Institutional Approach: A Third Answer to the Commodity Question - Sut Jhally: Introduction to "Watching as Working" - Sut Jhally/Bill Livant: Watching as Working: The Valorization of Audience Consciousness - Philip M. Napoli: The Institutionally Effective Audience in Flux: Social Media and the Reassessment of the Audience Commodity - Jason Pridmore/Daniel Trottier: Extending the Audience: Social Media Marketing, Technologies and the Construction of Markets - Detlev Zwick/Alan Bradshaw: Capital's New Commons: Consumer Communities, Marketing and the Work of the Audience in Communicative Capitalism - Micky Lee: From Googol to Guge: The Political Economy of a Search Engine - Mark Andrejevic: "Free Lunch" in the Digital Era: Organization Is the New Content - Vincent Manzerolle: Technologies of Immediacy / Economies of Attention: Notes on the Commercial Development of Mobile Media and Wireless Connectivity - Graham Murdock: Commodities and Commons - Edward Comor: Value, the Audience Commodity, and Digital Prosumption: A Plea for Precision - Christian Fuchs: Dallas Smythe Reloaded: Critical Media and Communication Studies Today.