Television researchers. like television producers, regulators and other commentators. have used a variety of perspectives in their attempt to understand different facets of that apparently simple but in effect rather illusive category 'the television audience'. In this article I will look at three of these: those which have emphazised the audience as consumers. those which have defined the audience as public citizens. and those which have focused on the audience as cultural actors. Whlle noUng previous research within each of these perspectives and drawing on Irish research when avaHable. I will particularly concentrate on more recent developments. These developments have tended to break down some of the earlier boundaries between perspectives. between their different definitions of the audience and between their different methodologies.

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