Documentary modes of engagement

Hill, A. 2008. Documentary modes of engagement. in: Austin, T. and de Jong, W. (ed.) Rethinking documentary: new perspectives, new practices Maidenhead Open University Press.

Chapter titleDocumentary modes of engagement
AuthorsHill, A.
EditorsAustin, T. and de Jong, W.
Abstract

One of the most distinctive aspects of documentary studies has been the attention given to documentary modes of representation. In his analysis of documentary modes, Bill Nichols refers to a ‘constituency of viewers’, asking the question: ‘what are the assumptions and expectations that characterise the viewing of a documentary?’ (1991: 24). He argues that just as there are documentary modes of representation, there is also a ‘documentary mode of engagement for the viewer’ (25). Modes of representation and engagement are connected as audience responses to documentary are part of the socio-cultural contexts of production. Rather than focus on representation I want to address the under explored issue of documentary modes of engagement. By using quantitative and qualitative research, we can see what viewer’s have to say about their various documentary experiences. In this article, the focus is on British television audiences and their responses to contemporary television documentary.

KeywordsDocumentary, audiences, reality TV
Book titleRethinking documentary: new perspectives, new practices
Year2008
PublisherOpen University Press
Publication dates
Published2008
Place of publicationMaidenhead
ISBN9780335221912

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