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CMNS 130 Lecture Notes (Week 1-6)

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Simon Fraser University
CMNS 130
Kathleen Cross

Lecture 1 – Introduction • Mass society+ Mass media = Mass communication • Network Communication o Is this a new era? o What does it mean for society? o How do we analyze this? • Sagar Mitchell & James Kenyon produced first films (ie. street scene) o 1900 – 1913 o “local films for local people” • Revolution and Media: o Vancouver 2011: “ASocial Media Riot Made for TV” o Middle East and NorthAfrica 2011:A“Twitter Revolution” o Britain, 2011: The “Blackberry Riots” • Communication and Social Change o relationship between media and political and economic power o the ways scholars have explored communication & social change o the most important political positions on media impact o What is your political position on media? • Why Study the Media? o Media are an increasingly central part of social life o Play a key part political and economic power o Must understand media s to more effectively intervene within it—and the world. • Why Study the Media? (from Ott & Mack) o They are everywhere (ubiquitous) o Have become the very basis of our cultural environment o Are the primary way we know and experience the world o Play a role in political, economic and cultural transformations • Media Consumption Commitment o Watch ONE Canadian film o Find Canadian examples of music in your favorite genre. o Watch the CBC TV o Listen to CBC radio o Pay attention to media industry news o Check out alternative news sources • Ott & Mack Study/Reading Questions: o What are the four sub-categories of mass media? o In what way did print media change society? How did broadcasting influence media consumption? o Define: convergence, mobility, fragmentation, globalization, socialization. o Give three reasons why media content matters? Why is media form also important? o Define the four characteristics of critical studies. Lecture 2 – Mass Media • Mass Media Theory – what is theory? o Purpose of theory = explain, comprehend and interpret phenomena and suggest why such phenomena occur (Williams) o patterns and explanations for patterns o Not just observation, but also analysis, categorization, and meaning • Implicit Theories o Common sense theories o Implicit understandings, widely held o Prominent in public debate o But these theories may mistake the part for the whole = limited perspective • Elements of a Good Theory: o Explains Something Important o Specifies Assumptions Clearly o Makes Relationships Clear o SystematicAnd Creative o Takes All Relevant Information IntoAccount o Testable o Generates Further Questions o Tentative : Open To Review o Provides Guides ToAction • Areas of Communication Theory o How communication WORKS o What people do WITH media  Information, education, opinion,  Role of media in a democracy  Entertainment, social interaction o What media do TO people  Propaganda, persuasion, manipulation, advertising  Violence, desensitization, distraction • Uses of Theory o Raises questions o Organizes observations o Guides action o The ultimate test of a theory is its usefulness in helping us to understand and solve real world problems. (Williams) • A5 megabyte IBM hard disk is loaded into an airplane. It weighed over 1000kg, 1956. • Communication Theory/Models: Transmission/Mathematical Model • Communication is MORE than transmission? o Also TRANSFORMATION! o Information/content is not the same as delivering ‘widgits’. Content carries meaning. How? o Through social interactions & experience • Differences between math & social models? o Content as transferring information… direct delivery system o Content as transmitting meaning… part of the social construction of reality • More Definitions of Communication o The process by which “one mind can affect another” (Shannon and Weaver, 1949) o “Communication is a social process of exchange whose content is the measure or mark of a social relationship (Vincent Mosco, 1996) o To communicate is to make common, either through space or across time. (Robert Babe, 2000) o “Communication is the mechanism by which power is exerted” (Schacter, 1951) • From McQuail o What were two of the indications that the media had significant power in society?  The impact of newspapers, advertising to large #s of people around WWI – 1900-1920  WWII uses of media for propaganda to influence public opinion • ‘Mass’society o Mass society o Industrialization o Modernity • Mass Society & Mass Media Theory o ‘Hypodermic Needle’model of media effects= audience are vulnerable, passive and atomized • “Triumph of the Will” o Triumph des Willens o Leni Riefenstahl o 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg Rally o Closing Scene • “Propaganda” and “Mass Society” o How Nazi Germany confirmed the worst public fears about totalitarian control of communication and society, and the role of media. o Hitler’s Cardinal Rules for Propaganda (from Mein Kampf) o Avoid abstract ideas and appeal to the emotions (anti-intellectual - opposite of marxism) o use constant repetition - using stereotypes and avoid ‘objectivty’ o put forth only one side of the argument o constantly criticize enemies of the state o identify one enemy for vilification • The Ministry of Propaganda under Goebbels o Division 1: Legislation, personnel, culture o Division 2: Race, athletics, controversies o Division 3: Radio o Division 4: National and foreign press o Division 5: Cinema o Division 6: Theater, music, art o Total control of all media (film, radio, newspapers, magazines, posters, festivals, etc) o All media under Nazi party control o Nazi Pagentry o 1934 Nazi Party Rally, Nuremberg • Frankfurt School o Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany o Max Horkheimer, TheodorAdorno, o Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse, and later others... • Approaches to Mass Com theory o Dominant Paradigm  Liberal pluralist  Social integration/social contract  Diffuse power o Critical Paradigm  Concerned with unequal relations of power  Especially economic power that undermines democratic power (eg: ownership & control) • More McQuail Qs o What are the negative and positive links between mass communication and social integration?  More crime, immorality, loneliness, alienation  Cohesion, community building, entertainment o What is/define: moral panic, mass society, mass audience, the public, mass culture  Theoretical, audiences, institutions (boxes) • Dominant Paradigm o What is the underlying view and characteristics of society in the “dominant paradigm’?  Lib-pluralism idea of society  Functionalism  Direct linear effects, with modifications  Quantitative research, behavioralist • Ott & Mack: o What are four sub-categories of mass media? o In what way did print media change society? How did broadcasting influence media consumption? o Define: convergence, mobility, fragmentation, globalization, socialization. o Give three reasons why media content matters? Why is media form also important? o Define the four characteristics of critical studies. • From Modernity to Network Society o Was mass communication only a part of a historical period we call Modernity? o Manuel Castells calls our new era the “Network Society” o Are we headed into a different era? o Do social media, blogs, etc fit into the description of mass communication? Do we need a new way to think about it? • Freedman, Des (2008) The Politics of Media Policy. o Who has power, and who has the most power, in a liberal pluralist view of society? o What is the pluralist conception of power? Describe the two types of power outlined by Dahl. o What were the two main critiques of pluralism from Milliband? o What are the 6 ways (normative principles) that pluralist media policy should function in a democracy? o Describe the three ‘normative characteristics’of pluralistic media policymaking. o Outline the pluralistic reasons for ownership restrictions & content regulation. What kinds of policy has this resulted in? What is neo-liberalism? What are its similarities and differences compared to liberal pluralism? o Describe the ‘new economic paradigm’, the political project and the ideological project of neo-liberalism. o What are the four dimensions of neo-conservative thinking according to Kristol? How is neo-conservatism similar and different from neo-liberalism? o What are the main characteristics of neo-liberal media policy? Lecture 3 – Power, Political Perspectives, Policy • Modernity & Media o Historical period of Modernity o 1789-1970s o Enlightenment o Industrialization o Mass society o Democratic rule • McQuail’sApproaches to Communication theory o Dominant Paradigm o Critical Paradigm • What is politics? o About voting and power. o The process of making (govt) policies - regulating and not regulating o Allocating resources – deciding what is funded, what is in the public interest o And values - creation of what is legitimate • What is Policy? o “a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by a government, party, business, or individual” (Oxford English Dictionary) o Freedman: “political actions designed to promote more general ways of organizing public life” • What is a regulatory regime? o “a system or planned way of doing things, especially one imposed from above.” (Oxford English Dictionary) o Laws, regulations, policies, lack thereof • Political Perspectives on Mass Media (Slide 10 diagram) • Liberal-democratic or Pluralist Political Perspectives o Media is result of negotiation o “free” media is key o market freedom is preferable o Govt steps in when problems o Balances free expression with public interest • Critical Political Perspectives o Some use ‘radical’(positively or negatively) o Media represents the interests of the powerful o Both the state and capitalist markets sustain inequality o Citizens need equal access to media, diversity of content • Neo-liberal Perspectives o Free markets, individual rights, personal choice, small government, limited regulation (“deregulation”) (36) o Share some liberal pluralism: democratic marketplace, competition. o But LP recognized diversity, social cohesion – NL prefers individual responsibility, personal gain and private property above all else o Tends towards hostility to state/public interests • Political Perspectives on Media (Slide 14 diagram) o Critical/radical perspectives o Liberal Democratic/pluralist perspectives o Neo-liberal perspectives • Shtern & Blake Reading Questions o Describe the history and the role of the CRTC. Why is it important? o Define vertical integration. o How does concentration of ownership affect the diversity of media content in Canada? o What challenges do social media pose for the CRTC? o Is the CRTC really a body that is at “arm’s length” from the Canadian state? o Should governments be able to control the information environment? If so why, and in what ways? Lecture 4 – Public Sphere & Public Broadcasting in Canada • Term Paper Proposal o Section A: Essay Proposal and Bibliography o Due: Week 6, in tutorial (after reading week). o Worth: 5%. The proposal is required. Your paper will not be graded unless your proposal has been approved. o (Paper is worth another 25%) o Length: 1-2 pages, double spaced, plus a bibliography. o Format: Introduce your topic, your research question and the way you plan to explore this with the references you have found to date. o Biblio: For your bibliography you must have at least one academic book, at least three academic read
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