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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton August 22, 2011

Studying the interpretive and physical aspects of interactivity: Revisiting interactivity as a situated interplay of structure and agencies

  • CarrieLynn D. Reinhard EMAIL logo
From the journal Communications


The concept of “interactivity” has routinely been used to differentiate older analogue media and newer digital media. In this usage, interactivity has come to be defined as primarily a physical behavior from the person, as dictated by the media product, which has technological and/or content features that enable, promote, and require specific types and amounts of such activity. However, physical behaviors are only part of the processes involved in engaging with a media product. These also involve cognitive, affective and interpretive behaviors. Additionally, what are considered the most important behaviors may vary in any given media reception situation. This paper reports on a study that considered interactivity as involving interpretive and physical behaviors together. In interviews about people's engaging with new and old media products, the processes of interactivity were mapped for their interconnected components. The results help illustrate the complexity of the concept.

Published Online: 2011-08-22
Published in Print: 2011-September

© 2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston

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