Background: Works on media reception and on science communication insist on the importance of taking account of the public’s representations in order to improve message comprehension. Those same works encourage us to explore the social anchoring of the active interpretative process enacted by "micro publics".

Objective/Hypotheses: This communication presents afterthoughts about an exploratory study of some potential "interpretive communities" of a mediatized environmental issue. The aim of this research was to explore the various "readings" produced by individuals when they encounter journalistic texts in a specific context of media use, and to put forth assumptions about the social experiences which could constitute the bases of potential "interpretive communities". Besides, I wanted to explore the operationalization of the “interpretive community” concept without reducing it to a sociodemographic groups conception, neither in determining ex ante the community’s frontiers due to the group pressure phenomenon that may affect a group interview experimental set up.

Methods: My research analyzed 10 individual in‐depth interviews done with readers of a local newspaper. In the first part of the conversation, informants shared with me their experiences related to their family life, work, engagements, leisures, media habits, etc. In the second part, I was asking them what was their point of view about bulk exports of canadian fresh water. An article of their local newspaper was used in order to activated their interpretation process.

Results: Four distinctive discursive patterns emerged. Participants who were sharing a same discursive pattern also had in common some social experiences. Moreover, those sets of shared experiences appeared to be exclusive to each discursive group. It led me to propose that political membership, social and communitary implication, and media consumption could be three types of social experience that may contribute to the delimitation of "interpretive communities".

Conclusions: The types of social experiences pointed out are consistent with the definition of the "interpretive communities" proposed in the litterature. Within those formal or virtual interactive forums, specific “readings” are produced, authorized and stabilized. In a future research, the members of those forums will be related to specific "interpretative communities".

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PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Connecting with a range of stakeholders through the study of "interpretive communities"
An exploratory study

Guylaine Proulx   Information and Communication / Laval University

Background: Works on media reception and on science communication insist on the importance of taking account of the public’s representations in order to improve message comprehension. Those same works encourage us to explore the social anchoring of the active interpretative process enacted by "micro publics".

Objective/Hypotheses: This communication presents afterthoughts about an exploratory study of some potential "interpretive communities" of a mediatized environmental issue. The aim of this research was to explore the various "readings" produced by individuals when they encounter journalistic texts in a specific context of media use, and to put forth assumptions about the social experiences which could constitute the bases of potential "interpretive communities". Besides, I wanted to explore the operationalization of the “interpretive community” concept without reducing it to a sociodemographic groups conception, neither in determining ex ante the community’s frontiers due to the group pressure phenomenon that may affect a group interview experimental set up.

Methods: My research analyzed 10 individual in‐depth interviews done with readers of a local newspaper. In the first part of the conversation, informants shared with me their experiences related to their family life, work, engagements, leisures, media habits, etc. In the second part, I was asking them what was their point of view about bulk exports of canadian fresh water. An article of their local newspaper was used in order to activated their interpretation process.

Results: Four distinctive discursive patterns emerged. Participants who were sharing a same discursive pattern also had in common some social experiences. Moreover, those sets of shared experiences appeared to be exclusive to each discursive group. It led me to propose that political membership, social and communitary implication, and media consumption could be three types of social experience that may contribute to the delimitation of "interpretive communities".

Conclusions: The types of social experiences pointed out are consistent with the definition of the "interpretive communities" proposed in the litterature. Within those formal or virtual interactive forums, specific “readings” are produced, authorized and stabilized. In a future research, the members of those forums will be related to specific "interpretative communities".

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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