Strategies, Tactics and the Question of Un Lieu Propre: What/Where is "Media Theory"?

Matt Hills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper uses the work of Michel de Certeau (1988) to argue that it is possible to distinguish between "expert" or "authorised" approaches to media theory, construed as existing "strategically" within the "proper place" of the academy, and "tactical" appropriations of media theory operating in audience discourses. It takes media fan audiences as one case study in relation to this process, arguing that fans should be viewed as "poaching" from "official" media theory as well as from "official" media texts. It then goes on to suggest that we should not univocally celebrate or romanticise fans' uses of media theory, but should remain alert to the sociological and cultural reproductions that otherwise "tactical" media theory can participate in. This means rethinking fans' "tactics" not merely as the "arts of the weak" (de Certeau 1988, 37), but simultaneously as forms of appropriation that might enact forms of (sub) cultural power for fans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-149
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Semiotics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


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