Building community : a sociology of theatre audiences

Hayes, S 2006, Building community : a sociology of theatre audiences , PhD thesis, University of Salford, UK.

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This thesis is an ethnographic study of theatre audiences and the ways in which they experience community. It is positioned within current debates on the mediatization and globalization of society, and the ongoing discussion as to whether social change has an adverse effect on community experience. Methodologically it emphasizes the investigation of audience contexts and collaborative practices among actors and theatregoers and between researcher and respondents. Audiences’ own terminology is considered vital to understanding what community means to them. The thesis examines community experience across the whole trajectory of the theatregoing event, from theatregoers’ backgrounds, through interactions at theatre performances, to discussion outside the auditorium and in their everyday lives. It argues that while theatre audiences conform to the perception that they tend to be middle aged and predominantly female, there are modifications to Bourdieu’s findings that cultural consumption is closely related to social class gradations. In particular, mainstream theatregoers extend across the spectrum of the middle class and their tastes in theatre are eclectic. Similarly, the research finds that there are other ways than through habitus that theatregoers acquire cultural tastes and practices. A close consideration of interactions at theatre performances, and the physical contexts in which they take place, identifies features of interaction and auditoria that encourage or discourage community, and relates them to interaction in everyday life. An investigation of why theatregoers prefer live to mediatized performance, and an examination of changes in audience perception and how much they are shared with others, contribute to an assessment of the transformative power of theatre and of how far face-to-face community is perennial in society.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Longhurst, BJ (Supervisor)
Additional Information: PhD supervisor: Brian Longhurst
Themes: Subjects / Themes > N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2009 10:21
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2021 12:56

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