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Durham e-Theses
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Reading newspapers: a theoretical description of a practical activity

Rushmer, Rosemary K. (1992) Reading newspapers: a theoretical description of a practical activity. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



A simple observation about the nature of reading initiated this project. The observation was that in reading we are able to use ink on paper as an equivalence of the real world event it details. Attempts to account for this by examining reading as it progresses did not give rise to clarification of this phenomenon, but solely to reading itself. Encounters with the text always resulting in 'ending-up-just-reading'. This is identifiable as a central characteristic of the material and the reader's attitude towards it. As this difficulty with the nature of the undertaking threatened to stop any theoretical progress, various methodologies, including Ethnomethodology, were applied to the material in order to produce a way forward. However, these theoretical approaches did not solve the phenomenon of reading but merely multiplied its problematic features. Their terms displacing the focus of attention away from reading, to the internal expression of the approach itself. Elsewhere within the project a more reflexive approach was adopted. Examining the roles of reader, theorist and author that were variously adopted. The recognition that the author in detailing experiences as a reader of texts succeeds only in creating another text. There is an examination of levels of access available to the project reader and the constraints this places on any reading that can be made. Otherwise expressed, it is the reading of one text through the confines of another, we are always trapped within the medium. From this recognition that 'viewing from within' is an intrinsic, inescapable feature of reading, a solution to 'ending-up-just reading' offers itself. Aspects of reading are made obvious by getting the reader to activate them, as they read of them. The solution is an ethnographical account of the reading of a newspaper story, an interpretive account. Its success may be gauged by the familiarity of its description and its expression of shared reading experiences and common reading practices.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1992
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Nov 2012 10:59

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