Mediální studia 02/2013 Special Issue on Post-Socialist Media Audiences


Irena Reifová, Tereza Pavlíčková:
Invisible Audiences: Structure and Agency in Post-socialist Media Studies (PDF)

Irena Reifová is the editor of this special issue and an assistant professor and a researcher at the Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Media Studies. She works as a research coordinator and teaches courses on critical media theories, cultural studies and media audiences. Her major scholarly interests are in television popular culture, and she focuses especially on Czechoslovak and Czech serial television fiction. She is a vice-chair of ECREA CEE Network and a member of the editorial board of the Communication Management Quarterly (Serbia). email:

Tereza Pavlíčková is the editor of this special issue. She is a PhD student at the Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Media Studies, writing her thesis on audiences’ understanding of the author and its role in the process of interpretation. Her primer interest is in audience and reception research, exploring audiences’ interpretation of media content in the current media environment.

Zrinjka Peruško, Dina Vozab, Antonija Čuvalo:
Audiences as a Source of Agency in Media Systems: Post-socialist Europe in Comparative Perspective (PDF)

All the most important theoretical models developed for comparing media systems stress the importance of the structural aspect in defining the main dimensions that shape the media field. In this text we focus on audience behaviour in media systems as an aspect of agency, understood in sociological terms as part of the structuration process, and we expand the boundaries of media systems theory by including phenomena related to media use. We apply a cluster analysis to structural variables of media systems and to audience practices in terms of media use in order to find out how similar or different are media structures and practices in different European countries, in relation to Hallin and Mancini’s (2004) theoretical model of media systems. The study finds that European audience practices show a clear North/South, rather than the expected East/West, differentiation. The expectation that all post-socialist European countries belong to the same model is also not supported in relation to structural media variables; some post-socialist countries are more similar to countries in the other two models of media systems in their structural aspects. The study interestingly re-groups European countries into three distinctive structural models which differ somewhat from the original Hallin and Mancini (2004) classification.

media system − media audience − media use − structure and agency − post-socialist Europe − cluster analysis

Zrinjka Peruško is Professor of media communication theory at the Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb, and founder and Chair of its Centre for Media and Communication Research. Her research interests include media and democracy, media systems dynamics, audiences and cultures in Central and Eastern Europe. Among her most recent publications are, “Media Pluralism Policy in a Post-socialist Mediterranean Media System: The Case of Croatia” in Central European Journal of Communication, and “Rediscovering the Mediterranean Characteristics of the Croatian Media System”, East European Politics and Societies and Culture. email:

Antonija Čuvalo, doctoral student in sociology at Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, is research and teaching assistant at the Centre for Media and Communication Research, Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb. Her research focus is on audiences, youth, trust in media and media systems. Recent publications include “Institutional Trust in the Croatian Post-socialist Context”, Communication Management Quarterly.

Dina Vozab is research and teaching assistant at the Centre for Media and Communication Research, Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb, and doctoral student of political science at the same faculty. Her research interests are media, democracy and political participation, and media audiences. Recent publications include “Communication models of civil society organizations in Croatia”, Observatorio.

Alina Dobreva:
Evaluation of Political Regimes, Personal Predispositions, and Political Information Processing (Case of Bulgaria) (PDF)

The paper is focused on the micro level processes of democratisation, namely the perception of political information and the consequent perception and evaluation of the political regimes of the past and the present. Illustrated by the case of Bulgaria, it reveals mechanisms that can be observed in other transition countries as well. The study examines the influence of party affiliation and political socialisation on how people process political information and evaluate political regimes, both present and past. The data, collected by quasi-experimental focus groups and analysed by employing quantitative content analysis, provides evidence that people with different political affiliations and with different political socialisation vary not only in their evaluation of the political regimes, but also in the way they reach their evaluations. This is mostly due to their attachment to one of the regimes and the cognitive closure effect. As a whole, the new liberal democratic regime is embraced. However, there are certain aspects of the regime perception and evaluation that raise concerns about the sustainability of this support.

democratisation − political information perception − regime evaluation − post-communism − socialisation − party affiliation − Bulgaria − Central and Eastern Europe

Alina Dobreva is part of the research team of the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom at the European University Institute. She has extensive research experience ranging from academic and NGO research projects to electoral and social research. Her work is in the area of democratization and political communication. email:

Jānis Juzefovičs:
Television News Preferences and a Sense of Belonging among the Russian-speaking Minority in Post-Communist Latvia: the Case of Panorāma and Vremya (PDF)

Through a combination of quantitative and qualitative audience research and drawing on the case study of two long-running evening news television programmes – Latvian-language Panorama, the flagship news programme of Latvian ex-state and current public television, and Russian-language Vremya, the main news programme of the former Soviet Central TV and today’s Russian state channel, also available in Latvia – this article demonstrates the interplay between news media preferences and broader sentiments and identity formation processes among the large Russian-speaking minority in the post-Communist Baltic country of Latvia. The results show that what can be seen as immersion of the Russian-speaking viewers in transnational television from Russia is not evidence of their lack of interest in the national life of Latvia, nor absence of their national allegiance to Latvia. The paper is part of a larger doctoral research investigation into responses of publics towards public service television as a nation-building project in Latvia.

news audiences − Russian-speaking minority − national integration − nation-building − public service broadcasting − post-Communist transformation − Latvia

Jānis Juzefovičs is a PhD student at the Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI) of the University of Westminster. His research interests focus on post-Communist media transformations and media and journalism development in the Central and Eastern European countries. He holds an MA in communication studies from the University of

Lucia Vesnić-Alujević, Nataša Simeunović Bajić:
Media Consumption Patterns: Watching TV in Former Yugoslav States

The period after the collapse of the communist Yugoslav state was marked by wars in several ex-Yugoslav states. Therefore the state-building period overlapped with the transition from communism to capitalism and processes of reconciliation between the disputed states. This is reflected in the transformation of the media audiences in the Western Balkans region as well. Drawing upon the reception studies tradition, the goal of this paper is to explore media consumption in several ex-Yugoslav states, namely: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia and to find similarities and differences in audiences’ behaviour. The changes in media consumption are connected to the transition processes in the media that brought new opportunities and challenges as well as different audiences’ responses to them. The selection of countries was determined by their shared history, but also by the possibilities for audiences from those countries to easily access programmes broadcast by the other countries within the region. The research asks whether and what kind of connections can be established between the socio-demographic characteristics, cultural and lifestyle values of the audiences and the programmes that they watch. Quantitative and qualitative methods are combined here. Firstly, data obtained from an initial survey carried out in the four states with a representative sample suggests tendencies and patterns in audiences’ consumption of television broadcasting in the aforementioned countries; these are then further explored qualitatively, using in-depth interviews with selected participants, to reveal common cultural values, based on collective memory, among those audiences. The research design employs a comparative approach that allows us to draw more generalized conclusions for the territory of the Western Balkans.

TV consumption – audiences – former Yugoslavia – cultural identity – watching patterns

Lucia Vesnić-Alujević, PhD, is a researcher in the field of digital communications and online politics. She currently works as a postdoctoral researcher at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre. Her research interests include political communication, new technologies, online communication and political participation. email:

Nataša Simeunović Bajić, PhD, teaches Communication History and Cultural Politics at the Faculty of Culture and Media, Belgrade. She has published several significant works in national and international scientific journals and presented several conference papers in Serbia and abroad. Currently she is involved in two research projects of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia.

Laura Visan:
Reading Cutezătorii and Watching Jackie Chan: Romanian Children and the Communist Propaganda in 1970s and the 1980s (PDF)

This article will explore an instance of creative resistance to the intrusion of communist authorities in Romanians’ everyday life during the decades of late socialism – the 1970s and 1980s. It will analyse how Romanian children appropriated and renegotiated the propaganda messages that the Romanian Communist Party communicated through media artefacts targeting children. The article will briefly present the Romanian children’s media, with an emphasis on the ideological tenets communicated through these outlets, and the principal rituals of childhood during the Ceauşescu era, particularly those associated to pioneership. This section will be complemented by an analysis of ethnographic interviews with Romanian immigrants from Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area, who recalled their response to the indoctrinatory messages they received during the Ceauşescu era. The analysis will be anchored in Michel de Certeau’s canonical study of everyday living practices. His conceptual pair strategies, usually understood as the appanage of the powerful, and tactics, the space of manoeuvre for the ‘weak’, will be discussed in relation with the social context of late socialism. It will be argued that strategies and tactics are not situated on positions of adversity, but are rather engaged in a relation of complicity, very useful when attempting to reconstitute the social context of socialism.

socialism – Romania – children – Ceauşescu – Michel de Certeau – strategies – tactics – complicity – propaganda

Laura Visan recently received her PhD in Communication and Culture from York University and Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. She researched the process of social capital formation through civic participation and networking in the case of Romanian immigrants from Toronto. Having grown up in Romania, Laura has also written about the popular culture artifacts of the Nicolae Ceauşescu era, with a focus on the 1970s and 1980s.. email:

Zuzana Skřepská:
Screens in Waiting Rooms of Gynaecology Clinics: Exploitation of a Trusted Place (PDF)

This paper is focused on a specialized commercial television programme screened in waiting rooms of gynaecology clinics and specifically on the ways in which this programme is received by viewers/patients. The objectives of the study are achieved by analysis of interviews with viewers/patients. Reception of the programme is seen as an intersection of advertising discourse and medical discourse whilst the latter becomes a tool for legitimization of the programme.

out-of-home media − place-based media − medical discourse − gynaecology − bio-power − reflexive modernity

Zuzana Skřepská is a Ph.D. student at The Department of General Linguistics, Palacký University, Olomouc. She is an external teacher at The Department of Journalism. Her main field of study is the phenomenon of conspiracy theories and related discursive genres, namely pseudoscience and denialism which are mainly considered from a cognitive and evolutionary perspective.