It is argued that since its institutionalization in the 1970s, Uses and Gratifications research has been heavily influenced by applied economic theories about Expectancy Value and Subjective Expected Utility. Underlying these theories are assumptions about the acting individual having full mastery of situations. This idea is contrasted with the way in which action theory portrays action. Here, mastery of situations is not assumed at forehand, but depends on the situation and is something that has to be achieved. Action theories further emphasize the influence of others. Applying these ideas to the study of media use means that more attention has to be paid to processes of gaining mastery, to situational influences, and to the influence of others. It is argued that discrete-time event history analysis may be a valuable tool to accomplish this. This may contribute to the study of several important questions in communication research, regarding audience flow and audience selectivity, and the social uses of media use.
© Walter de Gruyter