Audiences’ Communicative Agency in a Datafied Age: Interpretative, Relational and Increasingly Prospective
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionCommunication Theory. 2020, qtaa018. https://doi.org/10.1093/ct/qtaa018
This article develops a conceptualization of audience agency in the face of datafication. We consider how people, as audiences and users of media and technologies, face transforming communicative conditions, and how these conditions challenge the power potentials of audiences in processes of communication—that is, their communicative agency. To develop our conceptualization, we unpack the concept of audiences’ communicative agency by examining its foundations in communication scholarship, in reception theory and sociology, arguing that agency is understood as interpretative and relational, and applied to make important normative assessments. We further draw on emerging scholarship on encounters with data in the everyday to discuss how audience agency is now challenged by datafication, arguing that communicative agency is increasingly prospective in a datafied age. Thereby, we provide a theoretical conceptualization for further analysis of audiences in transforming communicative conditions.