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Session Overview
RN05_01a_H: Leisure and Digital Consumption
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Michael Egerer, University of Helsinki
Location: HA.2.8
HAROKOPIO University 70 El. Venizelou Street 17671 Athens, Greece Building: A, Level: 2.

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(Big) data-driven programmes and the “post-TV culture”

Bogumila Mateja-Jaworska

Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland

With the announcement of ‘the era of Big Data’ (e.g. Anderson 2008), many believe that it is only a matter of time when Big Data will supersede traditional kinds of research. The case of Netflix series “House of cards” was particularly often analysed (Smith, Telang 2016) and set as a proof that data-driven programmes are the future of media industry (Wolk 2015). Following the Netflix example, media specialists are convinced that in contemporary creative business “customer data is king” and they may be obtained using algorithms. Big data describing the actual media consumption and viewing habits are often treated by the media industry as an ultimate, “objective” solution to the problems of anticipating popularity of certain TV programmes and creating new ones. In my presentation, I will argue that this kind of “post-television culture” (Strangelove 2015) or “algorithmic culture” (Striphas 2015) opens up new areas for critical cultural analysis and in-depth research. What is more, understanding post-TV landscape and its mechanisms seems to be crucial in order to embrace the changes in production and circulation of meanings in contemporary western societies.

Analog Affect and the Renaissance of ‘Dead’ Media

Alev Pinar Kuruoglu1, Joonas Rokka2

1University of Southern Denmark, Denmark; 2EMLYON Business School

In late 2016, Guardian newspaper reported that vinyl sales overtook digital sales in the UK (Ellis-Petersen 2016). Kodak announced at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas it will bring back Super 8 film cameras, Ektachrome film, and hints at the return of beloved Kodachrome film brand. Analog media have experienced a major resurgence. With analog media – records, cassettes, polaroids, fanzines, VHS film, and others – authors have drawn attention to the emotional intensity (Kuruoglu and Ger 2015), warmth (Bartanski and Woodward 2015), and tactility (Bartanski and Woodward 2015; Marks 2000) of media objects. This paper expands theorizing towards understanding the affective experience of analog in contradistinction to digital media, and in this way wishes to explain the renaissance of analog media in the era of the digital. In particular, we ask: how do different forms of media lend themselves to affective atmospheres and sociabilities? Based on our fieldwork since 2013, we explore how affect is produced, transmitted, and circulated within a community of skateboarders in Helsinki. Following this scene and its members, we found a strong counter-trend towards digital media and a proclivity towards producing and consuming their own analog media. We find that the material objects, including the skateboards, the analog media, and the media contents, both generate and are embedded in an affective atmosphere. The city of Helsinki also lends itself to “intensive space-time” (Anderson 2009) that the skateboarders and their productions traverse.

All consuming popular media? a Swedish perception study

Tullia Jack

Lund University, Sweden

Media is now omnipresent in everyday life: we are constantly inundated with messages of what we should aspire to and how we should do normality. There is concern that stylised imagery instills a sense of inadequacy, leading to positional treadmills and implicated unsustainable consumption. Little is known, however, about how everyday people actually respond to media (MacFadyen et al., 2003). Representation and reception are not necessarily one and the same.

This study uses focus groups to unpack the relationship between representation, reception and application of media narratives in everyday life. To this end I explore ways that everyday people perceive cleanliness narratives in popular magazines. Cleanliness provides a clear case of inconspicuous consumption of water and energy implicated in accelerating cleanliness practices (Shove, 2003). Focus groups are employed for their potential in studying processes of ‘attitude formation and the mechanisms involved in interrogating and modifying views’ (Barbour, 2007: 31) that inform the reception of social narratives, like cleanliness. People constantly produce themselves in all contexts of interaction by ‘telling, negotiating, re-telling and performing their self-narratives’ (Halkier, 2010: 76), offering insights into how representations are interpreted and made sense of in the context of everyday life.

By interrogating various media discourses surrounding cleanliness, this study offers insights into ways that representations are perceived and integrated into social normality by everyday people. This is useful in understanding how media is perceived and applied with exciting implications for sustainable consumption.

Consumption of digital technologies across the life course – does age affect technology readiness among media consumers in Finland?

Sanna-Mari Kuoppamäki

University of Jyväskylä, Finland

In a digital society, consumption practices from communication, entertainment, shopping, banking and health care are digitalising and digital literacy has become a necessity for participation in a consumer society. Previous research indicates that digital literacy as well as ownership of digital devices is connected to socio-demographic factors; age, education and income level being the most important ones. In sociological research, less emphasis has been put on technology readiness (TRI) that measures people’s propensity to embrace and use new technologies in everyday living (Parasuraman et al., 2015). Technology readiness has four dimensions (optimism, innovativeness, discomfort and insecurity) that are believed to affect a person’s predisposition to use new technologies. The study asks, to what extent age and other socio-demographic factors predict technology readiness (TRI) among media consumers in Finland and whether or not life course factors (household structure and social relationships) have an effect on technology readiness. The results are derived from an online based survey collected in 2016 among Finnish media consumers aged 18 to 83 (N=1,366). Preliminary results suggest that age is negatively associated with optimism and innovativeness and positively associated with discomfort. In insecurity, age does not remain a significant predictor, and household structure is associated only with discomfort. By analysing technology readiness among media consumers of different age groups, new insights to digital inclusion and exclusion can be obtained, which simultaneously contribute to the discussion of challenges that digitalising consumer society encounters in a period of economic changes.

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