Affect, Curiosity, and Positionality in Context: Watching Television Entertainment in Argentina and the United States

María Celeste Wagner*, Pablo J. Boczkowski, Eugenia Mitchelstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Reception studies scholars have recently argued that there is a dearth of evidence on contemporary television audience practices and interpretations. To help fill this void, we ask: How do audiences in the Global South and North choose, experience, interpret, and affectively respond to the entertainment they choose to watch? We draw on semistructured interviews conducted in Argentina (N = 30) and the United States (N = 30). Our analysis indicates that there are three main dimensions that describe the experience of watching entertainment today: the search for emotional self-preservation, the fulfillment of intellectual curiosity, and an exploration of subjective positionality. Though we show that there is a combination of commonalities between the audiences in both countries in these dimensions, we observe and conclude by highlighting issues of variance—both context and identity based—in the ways in which each one of these dimensions are situationally enacted. We conceptualize the variance in each one of these dimensions as related to objects of escapism, geographic orientation of content selection, and representation and identity, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)668-687
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Communication
Volume15
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Argentina
  • United States
  • audience reception studies
  • comparative analysis
  • interviews
  • television entertainment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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