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Echo and Narcissus

Echolocating the Spectator in the Age of Audience Research

Author(s): Polona Petek
Contributors: Polona Petek;

Book Description

Echo and Narcissus: Echolocating the Spectator in the Age of Audience Research came about as a response to the recent shift of focus in the studies of cinema. While the seventies and the eighties were marked by increasingly complex theorisations of spectatorship, the last two decades have witnessed a turn towards ethnographic research into film reception. However, this long overdue turn towards the empirical viewer has not produced a genuinely broader scope of analysis. It has rather, all too hastily, consigned the spectator, a textually constructed viewing position, to oblivion, thanks to the concept’s perceived hegemonic and totalising premise. Echo and Narcissus intervenes into this state of affairs by arguing for a productive nexus between theorisations of spectatorship and the currently more fashionable audience research. Petek maintains that an informed mapping of contemporary (and past) filmviewing practices still requires a spectatorial model and she offers such a model through a re-reading of Ovid’s tale of Echo and Narcissus. She demonstrates that the myth’s central role in traditional theorisations of spectatorship has not yet been properly reflected upon. Her critical recuperation of the Ovidian myth provides a revised model of the spectator—one with discursive access to all types of cinema, yet, flexible enough to accommodate a range of viewers’ responses and their cultural diversity.


ISBN-13: 978-1-8471-8544-0
ISBN-10: 1-84718-544-4
Date of Publication: 01/05/2008
Pages / Size: 245 / A5
Price: £34.99


Polona Petek completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne (Australia), where she has been teaching in the Cinema Studies programme since 2002. She has also collaborated with the Departments of Sociology at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia) and the University of Maribor (Slovenia). Her current research focuses on the changes in cinema brought about by globalisation and turbomobility, in particular on the role of cultural diasporas and transnational connectivity in European cinema.