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Lecture 1

CMN 3104 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Extreme Makeover, Symbiosis, Manufacturing Consent


Department
Communication
Course Code
CMN 3104
Professor
Dina Salha
Lecture
1

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Lecture'1:'Theories'and'Approaches'to'Media'and'Communication'
Early!Theories!of!the!Media!
- The!Direct!Effect!Theory:!assumes!that!media!messages!directly!impact!behaviour!
(clinical!psychology!–!Pavlov).!Influenced!by!the!studies!of!crowd!mentality!by!Lebon!
o Pavlov:!studied!the!notion!that!strong!messages!can!manipulate!the!behaviour!
of!those!receiving!them.!Applied!to!societies!during!a!time!when!different!
political!ideals!(outside!of!democracy)!were!emerging.!Found!that!if!a!stimulus!
was!provided!you!can!condition!a!person!for!a!particular!response.!This!is!
implemented!by!media!using!the!idea!that!a!particular!behaviour!can!be!resulted!
as!a!result!of!using!strong!messages!
o Lebon:!studied!the!behaviours!of!crowds!and!categorized!them!as!having!
feminine!traits!(instinctive,!irrational,!emotional,!racial,!lesser!intellectual!
capabilities)!and!found!these!traits!to!be!deemed!negative!as!opposed!to!the!
white!middle!aged!men!who!were!viewed!as!the!leaders.!His!description!of!
crowds!involved!a!group!of!people!that!needed!to!be!controlled!through!strong!
leadership!and!manipulation!which!would!be!simple!to!accomplish!due!to!the!
lower!intellectual!capital/class.!
- Social!Functionalist!Theory:!take!into!consideration!the!fact!that!the!individual!and!
interpersonal!communication!contribute!to!decision!making!and!interpretation!of!text!
and!messages!
o People’s!social!connections!influence!the!decision!making!process!and!belief!
system,!rather!than!the!direct!influence!of!the!message!from!the!media!
o Use!of!Media!as!Gratification:!idea!that!we!use!media!to!replace!a!need!that!is!
usually!satisfied!by!interpersonal!communication.!The!notion!that!the!media!
becomes!that!friend!to!you.!
§ Examples:!listening!to!a!song!to!connect!to!your!emotions!and!disconnect!
from!what!is!going!on!in!your!life,!reading!a!romance!novel!to!zone!out,!
watching!hoarding!shows!to!feel!better!about!yourself!
- Cybernetics!Theory:!consider!the!media!as!part!of!a!system!of!meta-stability!and!they!
facilitate!the!equilibrium!of!social!organization!and!control!!
o A!system!that!is!always!collecting!information!in!order!to!see!if!there!is!anything!
disturbing!the!system,!then!it!works!harder!to!bring!the!system!back!to!
equilibrium!
o The!media!is!connected!to!lots!of!environments!(ex.!political!and!social)!and!
thrives!in!an!environment!where!it!can!make!profit!and!influence!consumers!
through!their!knowledge!of!the!consumer’s!habits!
!
Critical!Theories!
- Critical!theories!view!the!media!as!tools!that!circulate!the!ideologies!of!the!elites!in!
order!to!get!the!consent!of!public.!!This!means!that,!in!order!to!maintain!the!status!quo,!
those!in!power!need!to!maintain!the!consent!of!the!public!by!peaceful!means!rather!
than!by!coercion.!
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