Myths of media and audiences: Inaugural lecture as professor of general communication science, University of Amsterdam

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Some of our strongest ideas about media and their audiences are myths - simple, but plausible and poetic, explanations of the world: the defenceless audience, the 'disappearance of childhood', the 'plug-in drug' and the hyperactive media user of the future, to name just a few. Typically, they have often not stood the test of reality but are widely believed. They even have real - good and bad - consequences for our everyday lives: they inspire laws to protect the audience against the bad influence of mass media; they cause people to spend fortunes on new media technology; they lead to blaming the media for not changing the world for the better. Myths seem to be necessary: the 'super codes' behind the myths of media and audiences are Manichaeic views of human nature that reconcile us with the world of our senses and help integrate society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-376
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Communication
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2001
Externally publishedYes



  • Media audiences
  • Media effects
  • Media history
  • Myths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication

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