Stuart Hall 1980

Hall (1980)

About Hall:


  • Stuart Hall is a cultural theorist and he developed a theoretical model to explain the influence of television broadcasts such as advertisements and sitcoms.
  • He called this theory the encoding/decoding model.

Encoding/Decoding model:


  • Focuses on the ideological dimensions of the message production in a capitalist world.

Ideological dimensions: The ideas of an aspect of a situation.
Capitalist: When a person is taking advantage of something.


Audience code theory:


Hall looked at the role of audience positioning in the interpretation of mass media texts by difference social groups. He came up with three ways an audience may read a media text:


  1. A Dominant code – Reader fully accepts the preferred reading, the code seems natural and transparent.
  2. A Negotiated code – Reader partly believes the code ad broadly accepts the preferred reading, but sometimes modifies it in a way which reflects their own interests.
  3. An Oppositional code – Readers social position places them in an oppositional relation to the dominant code. They reject the reading.


Preferred reading: what the audiences’ are reading and what they prefer as an audience.

Example: (Glamour magazine)


Person 1 (Dominant code): Agrees with this magazine 100% and enjoys reading it.


Person 2 (Negotiated code): Enjoys reading the magazine, however she disagrees with some things within the magazine.


Person 3 (Oppositional code): Dislikes the magazine because she’s interested in different things.