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  • The Mass Media

    Sociological Perspectives

  • Mass Media defined

    • Mass media is defined as - interpersonal communications directed to a vast audiences.

    • Mass Media include-television, radio, newspapers, the internet

    Presenter Presentation Notes A comedian Fred Allen, once quipped that “we call television a medium because it is rarely well done.”

  • Early Critics (Gomberg, 1964)

    • According to (television standardizes children’s minds and stereotypes their imaginations.

  • Urie Bronfrenbrennar

    • Referrred to the television viewing as, “The Unmaking of the American child(1962)

  • Mass=large clump

    • The term- mass media, derives from the term mass -large clump, shapeless piece of matter…

  • Mass Communications

    • Media…media = middle

    • Some (Chomsky, 1991) mass media: • middling, • leveling, • compartmentalizing, • channelling,

  • Brief HISTORY of the News


  • Early Democracy US

    • Free Press dynamic=liberty.. • Independent News in every city and town

    • The 1850 census catalogued 2,526 newspaper titles.

  • The early US 20th century.

    • An astounding 11,314 different papers were recorded in the 1880 census.

  • Radio and television

    • By the 1960s Radio and Television

    surpassed the Newspaper.

    • By the 2000s Radio and TV were being surpassed by the Internet.

  • Media in Canada

    • The Oldest Canadian Newpaper The Halifax Gazette

    • Currently six corporations control

    Canadian media compared to over 100 owners in 1900.

  • Timeline of To the Internet

    1. 1939 First Television 2. 1945-War ends-domestic

    production and consumerism begins

    3. 1957-Sputnik

  • Timeline

    4. 1960-ARPA. From military use to University

    5. 1980- Computer begin*** 6. 1990’s WWW 7. 2000 –capitalism and


  • Selectivity of the News-

    • Leftist -note that news coverage of ethnic minorities is negative

    1. -Unbalanced coverage

    2. Street Crime vs Suite Crime

  • Right Wing Media Critic..

    • argue that news is too negative about the economy

    • i.e More people are working, output is higher.

  • Theoretical Perspectives on Mass Media

    1. Structural Functional –integration (the town crier)

    2. Conflict-ideology (bourgeois false consciousness)

    3. Symbolic Interactionist- (formal rationality)

    4. Post Modernism-(fragmented discourses)

  • 1. Functionalists-Mass media

    • The mass media in a democratic nation reflect varied opinions, it is fair and neutral many groups are represented.

    • Media integrates human society, brings

    groups together, contributes to collective consciousness.

  • Mass Media: A Functional Social Institution

    • Mass media-newspapers, magazines, television, radio, the internet, can be considered an institution.

    • One of society’s key agents of socialization

  • Mass Media and SF

    • a. Functionalists such as T. Parsons-

    media plays a vital role in the integration, adaptation society.

    • The media gathers and disseminates information (It is only the town crier).

  • Mass Media and SF

    • b. It socializes us into the on-going social order…It transmits cultural heritage, and basic norms and values.

    • c. It provides pleasure and entertainment-stress management (chill out and watch the tube)

  • • d Reinforces shared ideals, justice, democracy, respect for the law amidst freedom and individualism

    • e. Provides social integration, surveillance, reproduces a moral order (Durkheim

  • 2 Conflict Theory on Media

    • The media is an instrument of the bourgeoisie.

    • The wealthy and the powerful utilize media to maintain the hegemonic status in the social order.

    • The Mass Media -disseminate ideology

  • Box 5.1 The Number One Global Media Corporation

    Chapter 5 Copyright © 2001 Harcourt Canada Ltd. Slide 10

    Presenter Presentation Notes SOURCE: Time, October 21, 1996, p.2 © 1996 Time Inc. Reprinted with permission.

  • Ideology

    • Conflict theorists define ideology as a body of assumptions, ideas, and values the combine into a coherent world view.



    • The bourgeoisie suffer from `false consciousness’.


    • Few of us have actually sat down and thought about ideas vs. ideology

    • IDEOLOGY- ideas legitimated by the RULING CLASS

  • Legitimacy

    Legitimacy comes to us from without in at least four ways:

  • Conflict Theory – Mass Media See Adorno

    1. The media is a capitalist tool

    2. The media is owned by the dominant class

  • 3. -Only a few corporations in charge,

    4. Television is an advertising mechanism with splatters of news and entertainment.

  • 5. Media =mass deception 6. Media -legitimates the status


  • False Consciousness

    7. Disseminates a dominant ideology that cultivates production and consumption of commodities…commodity fetishism

  • Media -mass deception ..

    8. Media for the most part is an opiate –see Marx on religion


  • Media +hegemony • 9. -Those on top are not

    something to strive for… • Achievement is an ideology. • SEE LOTTERIES AS


  • Information technology

    • 10. -IT distracts people /prevents them from recognizing the exploitive characteristics of capitalism


    • Far beyond serving as sources of information, the media influence our attitudes towards social issues, other people, and even our self concept.

  • R.Connel (1989)

    • Mass media constructs gender

    • People identify with the stereotypes view on TV and the Movies.

  • • For example, despite attention to violence today,

    • 40% of violent acts are committed by Heroes.

  • 1. Violence is normalized

    2. Violence part of masculinity.

    3. Femininity-passive, compliant.

  • • Hegemonic Masculinity and • Emphasized Femininity

  • 3. Symbolic Interactionism

    • CW. Mills • “The media not only give us

    information; they guide our very experience.

    • .” –our standards, our credulity our view of reality itself…

  • Sociological Imagination(C. Wright Mills 1959)

    • Sociological imagination helps us

    grasp the relationship between history and biography.

  • Public influences private

    • Through Mass media we can see

    • how our personal lives are connected to social world

    • (micro-macro connection).

  • SI and Conflict View

    • See Herman and Chomski, Manufacturing Consent.

    • The mass media constructs social reality

  • Symbolic Interactionism,

    • Use of language, visual images, symbolic tools-

    • representation of reality is a selective process-

    • What is to be included and left out…. • Every representation is only one of

    several ways of seeing and talking about something.

  • Media &the political spectrum

    • “From the point of view of those on left-wing of the political spectrum, the right wing media are:

    • …Not merely influential or persuasive, they are powerful!

  • Political Right

    • To those on the Political Right, such as George Bush and even Lou Dobbs, a left wing media,

    • However small and tacky, however badly mimeographed and coffee stained, carry more weight than the New York Times.

  • Crime in the News

    • We here much about STREET CRIME- crack dealer, prostitute, robbery at the grocery store.

    • Little about SUITE CRIME-white collar crime is more destructive to society as a whole.

  • 4. The Technological Perpective


    • THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE • (Theory-enhance, retrieve, reverse,


  • Technological change

    • Mass media is driven by capitalism and technological chan