Audience Ethnographies: A Media Engagement Approach
In this paper I argue that audience ethnography needs to be repositioned as a fieldwork-based, long-term practice of data collection and analysis. This practice allows researchers to attain a greater level of understanding of the community studied while maintaining self-reflexivity and respect towards those one is attempting to understand within the everyday life of the community. Relying on my work in rural communities in Brazil over the last decade I discuss some of the ways in which ethnography, as a long-term, in-depth practice, can benefit our understanding of the reception dynamic as well as provide insights otherwise impossible to attain. I will propose a model for audience ethnography, which I term media engagement, to discuss how the process of ethnography functions to apprehend the complex dynamic that evolves between consumers and cultural products.