Intersecting audience activities: An audience studies perspective on the materiality of design, platforms and interfaces

Anne Mollen, Minna Saariketo, Jelena Kleut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


With the advent of software-based digital media, aspects of materiality have come to the fore in media-related strands of research. The leading question for our analysis lies on how the materiality of design, platforms and interfaces is being discussed theoretically and researched empirically in contemporary audience studies. We portray materiality as a perspective on audience intersections with digital media and ground it within classical approaches, such as those of Marshall McLuhan and Raymond Williams, and within more contemporary approaches from actor network theory (ANT) to software studies. Our analysis then shows three understandings of user-audiences in studies on the design of software, platforms and interfaces: the appropriating, implied and embedded user-audiences. Although we specifically focus on materiality, we do not lose our focus on people’s relationship with digital media. On the contrary, our approach helps us to acknowledge the dynamics of the variously contested fields in which media technologies emerge as relevant to people’s everyday lives. Finally, we take up recent critiques about the ongoing hesitance to cross-disciplinary boundaries. We aim to demonstrate the relevance of audience research in a cross-disciplinary area of research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360–373
JournalParticipations: journal of audience and reception studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Audience research
  • Materiality
  • User
  • Audiences
  • Platform
  • Interface
  • Software


Dive into the research topics of 'Intersecting audience activities: An audience studies perspective on the materiality of design, platforms and interfaces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this