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Chapter 04.pdf

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Media Studies
Michael Petit

Media Studies Chapter 4 PragmaticAnalysis Philosophies Pragmatic Philosophies – truth: effect, outcome, and practicality – depends on degree to which concept/theory provide us with useful results in the process of solving problems – believing / not believing has no real bearing on one's daily life – truth must be based on tangible results and possible consequences of supporting / disregarding it – truth = label / quality that a thing an possess or lack (always dependent on contextual factors) Metaphysical Philosophies – truth: constant waiting to be discovered – cannot actually be fully known Pragmatists William James – first to stress: practical applications of philosophy to one's life – function of philosophy: find out what definite difference it will make to you and me, at definite instants of life, if this world formula be the true one – focus: consequences of individual belief – individuals: mature and grow by addressing personal problems through a pragmatic lens – stressed: flexible moderation between extremes as the best way to achieve this goal – preoccupied: state of the soul, not the social conditions of life John Dewey – processes of knowing and learning: within the field of human activity and experience – thought: direct result of physical beings encountering difficulties in their daily lives + generating ways of overcoming difficulties – we learn from past experiences in order to manage future ones – philosophy = tool in correcting problems – educators should focus: training students to develop a variety of problem solving skills in order to make them more productive + responsible citizens (decrease social problems) – education: connecting individual evolution to social improvements Richard Rorty – overcame one of the key criticisms levelled against pragmatism – Relativism: belief that diverse approaches and theories related to a given subject are all equally correct – there is no consistent truth to act upon – pragmatic perspective: government regulation of media industries – allows us to judge the worth of regulation according to the perceived outcomes and effects of the regulation – regulatory policy = true / worthy / good = best meets the needs of society – pragmatic meliorism: recognition of the elements present in a historical moment and a dedication to developing ways of improving them Government Regulation Best Regulatory Solutions = have beneficial consequences according to the contingencies of their historical moment Consequences – clear effects of a given regulation on society at large – good consequences: beneficial to society Contingencies – the factors that a regulation should address as a result of context and situation – contingent factors that influence the possible types of regulation – i.e. Social norms + predominant mediums / types of technology present – first set of contingencies: tension between free speech + public interest – government will intervene in the interest of the public (to make the media more efficient) – second set of contingencies: interplay between government regulation and media self-regulation – social responsibility theory: the media is in the service of the public + should be guided by issues of public concern – FCC: Federal Communications Commission (regulates broadcasting, wire, satellite, and cable services – Federal Trade Commission: regulates advertising in public relations – media industries: regulate themselves in an effort to reduce the escape of government regulation Issues in Regulation Combating Monopoly – regulations: designed to prevent media monopolies (limiting the amount of a given market that anyone company can have) – ensuring healthy competition remains – anti-monopoly regulation: Fin-Syn Rules (Financial Interest and Syndication Rules) – represented an attempt to halt a network programming monopoly to promote the growth of independents – break-up the perceived monopoly of the major networks – limiting the network's financial control over their programming – limit the amount of broadcasted programming that networks can hold financial
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