Nov 21, 2012
The Hypodermic Needle Theory
- Linear communication theory
- Direct and powerful influence
- Passive audience
Q: what do the media do to people?
- Audience injected with message
- Linear cause and effect relationship
Current media examples: War of the Worlds radio reading, video games affect school
Problems with Perspective
- Difficult to isolate effects of media
- Other social influences act on people (e.g. gender roles, social class)
- Studies show variety of responses
- Not uniform "mass effects"
Q: what do people do with the media?
- Stuart Hall: Encoding and Decoding
o Values & identities encoded into media products
o Audiences decode messages
o Negotiating meaning
- 3 Audience Positions (Stuart Hall)
o Dominant (agree with POV)
o Negotiated (some part of POV is ok, some parts is questioned)
o Opposition (disagree with POV)
Active Audience Theory
- Reject hypodermic needle approach - Argue media content has "preferred meaning" -- favored through structure
- Viewers not blank slates
- They are active agents of interpretation & criticism
Limitations of Active Audience
- By focusing on micro choices made in interpretation, we lose sight of macro
structures shaping overall agenda
Balanced Media Analysis
- Acknowledge power of meanings inscribed by media producers
- Recognize how meanings challenged and changed in act of reception
Violence in the Media
Learning from the Media?
- Relationship between simulated violence and actions/beliefs
- Does media violence promote real-life violence?
- Do media representations act as "models" -- to be acted upon in right
- e.g. Natural Born Killers
- School shooting - Columbine
- Concerns about "vulnerable" audiences (Children