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Lecture 8

Lecture 8 - SOCA01H3.docx

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Sheldon Ungar

SOCA01H3 – Lecture 8 th Chapter 18: The Mass Media THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MASS MEDIA Global village  the media are extensions of the human body and mind. Mass media refers to print, radio, television, and other communication technologies. The word mass implies that the media reach many people. The word media signifies that communication does not take place directly through face-to-face interaction. Causes of Media Growth 1. The Protestant Reformation. Catholic people relied on priests to tell them what was in the Bible.  1517, Martin Luther wanted people to develop more personal relationship with Bible  Within 40 years, Protestantism established and Bible became best-selling book.  Remarkable feature of book is its durability, which is why many electronic storage media like floppy disks are barely remembered today 2. Democratic movements. From 18 century onwards, citizens of France, USA, and other countries demanded & achieved representation in government.  Same time, wanted to become literate and gain access to prev. restricted centres of learning  Democratic governments depended on informed citizens & encourage popular literacy & growth of free press  Today mass media like TV shape entire outlook on politics i.e. because on TV Kennedy looked more refined & calm, he won election whereas Nixon was fidgeting and sweaty 3. Capitalist industrialization. Modern industries required literate and numerate workforce.  Also needed rapid means of communication to do business efficiently, mass media turned out to be major source of profit THEORIES OF MEDIA EFFECTS Functionalism  Nationwide distribution of newspapers, magazines, etc. cements large, socially diverse, and geographically far-flung populations of Canada  In fundamental sense, nation is imagined community and mass media makes it possible to imagine it 1  Mass media perform important function by coordinating operation of industrial and postindustrial societies  According to functionalist theorists, significance extended further as mass media also important agents of socialization  Families now don’t exclusively transmit norms, values, and culture; mass media does too  reinforces shared ideals of democracy, competition, justice, etc.  Third function involves social control; ensures conformity i.e. by showing programs like COPS, reinforces idea of what kinds of people deserve praise or punishment. This way mass media reproduces moral order.  Fourth function is to provide entertainment. Conflict Theory  Conflict theorists criticized functional approach for insufficient attention to social inequality fostered by mass media  Says functionalist theorists exaggerate degree mass media serve interests of entire society  favours dominant classes & political groups  2 ways in which dominant classes and political groups benefit disproportionately from mass media 1) mass media broadcast beliefs, values, and ideas that create widespread acceptance of basic structure of society incl. injustices & inequalities 2) ownership of mass media highly concentrated in hands of small number of people & highly profitable for them  mass media thus source of economic inequality Media Ownership Decades Canadian mass media owned by fewer than dozen families i.e. the Rogers, the Shaws  over time, concentration of privately owned media increased  fewer people control Canada’s mass media  not just degree of media concentration change, form of media concentration also began to shift in 1990s  media concentration involved “horizontal integration”; that is, small firms tried to control stuff in their particular fields (newspapers, radio, television)  now “vertical integration”; media firms sought to control production & distribution of many fields  media “conglomerates” i.e. Rogers Communication Inc. owns Toronto Blue Jays, creates sports entertainment, broadcasts it via TV, carries signal to viewers’ homes, & sells Blue Jays merchandise at Rogers Video stores 2 Media Bias Does concentration of mass media in fewer hands deprive public of independent sources of info, limit diversity of opinion, and encourage public to accep
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