Topic 6: Mass Media Mass Media.

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Published on 16 Oct 2011
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Topic 6 Mass Media (Week 6 lecture + NS Chp 5 + SIQ Chp 10-11)
1) The impact of mass media;
2) Organization of the mass media (who controls it);
3) sociological issue of mass media (how do we receive it);
Example of Mass Media
e.g.1 American Psycho
-- how people become consumer and victims of the mass media;
-- how the killer and the killed are victims of consumerism;
-- banned when it first came out at 1991
e.g.2 Oprah the most dangerous woman in the world
-- “New Age” teachings; course on miracles; “there is no sin”
-- Queen of the New Age Guru
-- Shows that mass media is almost like a religion
e.g.3 “Don’t drink the kool-aid”
e.g.4 Stats on Media Watching:
-- Mass media in our consumption is an important part of our day-to-day life;
-- Canada: 22 hrs/week on average;
Older viewers watching more than younger viewer;
Female viewers watching more than male viewers
Mass Media
-- refers to print, radio, TV and other communication technologies;
-- mass: reaches many people;
-- media: no face-to-face interaction; one-way transmitting (few senders, many receivers)
e.g. cellphones are not a media; books are.
-- shaping ideas about yourself; your community;
-- overtime shape your hopes, aspiration; dreams, things that are possible/not possible;
-- powerful input in shaping the habitus;
History of Mass Media
-- Printing Media dominates the 15th-18th century;
-- 19th Century long distance transmission starts
-- Internet: Arpanet (military technology; hyperlink of image and sounds);
-- WWW only began in 1989 (21 years old);
Stats on Internet Usage:
-- Internet usage in World Region: North America highest; Africa the lowest;
-- Internet usage and population Density:
-- Global divide of internet usage (digital divide);
-- reflects unequal resources distribution;
-- due to power difference between areas of the world;
Why Mass Media Grew
1) The Protestant Reformation promoted literacy
-- 16th Century: the public relied on priests to tell them what was on the bible;
-- Martin Luther promoted personal relations with the Bible;
-- Millions of people were encouraged to read
-- The Bible becomes the most popular media in the Western World (still the best seller today);
-- Technology on the book publishing encourages literacy;
3). Democratic movements promoted mass involvement (18th Century)
-- People wanted to gain access to previously banned information
-- Independent and informed citizens;
-- Demand for free press;
3). Capitalist industrialization promoted the search for profit
-- Mass Media becomes major source of profit (movies, radios, magazine $75 billion generated);
Mass Media is one of the most important social institutions of our day, rooted in political, social,
economical development
How does sociologists explain the impact of Mass Media on the society
1. Functionalist (coordination; socialization; entertainment; social control)
-- Society is like a organism it has to function together and be in control
-- As society develops and gets larger and more complex.
-- Due to the sheer scale of our society, face-to-face communication become less viable;
-- As a result there is a need for new means of COORDINATION;
-- MM allows the larger/more complex society to function;
-- MM is critical to the construction on complex society (shared basic value; )
-- e.g. Hegel: daily ritual of reading newspaper united the world, just like daily ritual of praying united
the religious group
-- promotes imagination: what is CA, who are we as Canadians
-- promotes collective conscience;
-- important for socialization: family and religion are wining in their socialization power, no longer has
exclusive rights to shape ideas;
-- MM provides ideals and expectations on how to live our lives;
-- powerful social controls micro level mechanisms
-- e.g. news broadcasting of crime and police
“reproduce the moral social orderwho get punished/honored etc.
-- e.g. TV Shows Jerry Springer
example of functionalist theory
(disagreement/anger form the brother and the crowd; showing the case as deviant;)
-- e.g. Jerry Springer 2 (racist & Holocaust);
-- scandal is a source of service on the society
-- provide entertainment, which is something we need in the society;
-- relax, momentary escape; mindless state
2. Conflict Theory (legitimation of injustice and inequality; source of profit);
-- functionalists pay too much attention to consensus instead of inequality between people
-- e.g. “two global map” from before – global pattern of inequality
-- MM favors franchised and dominant class in the society; favor powerful political group, upper class;
-- People benefit disproportionally from MM
-- legitimation of injustice widespread acceptation of certain social structure
-- ownership of MM is highly concentrated fewer and fewer people have control over MM
-- 2005 6 media Giants (CanWest Global; Rogers; Quebecor; Shaw; CBC; Bell Globemedia)
-- form of media concentration shifts:
Used to be: small numbers of firms controls in their own different fields:
Now: conglomerates control across fields own multiple fields at the same time (rogers)
-- degree” and “form” of MM concentration both change
-- Change in Canada is minor compared to international giants
-- limits the diversity of opinions we hear;
-- make people accept the status quo;
-- dominance of MM squeezes out alternative point of view;
-- e.g. relationship between centrality of value and diversity of media opinion:
Less central is the value, the more diversity there is in opinion
-- Biasing mechanisms
-- Advertising:
-- most revenue earned by large corporations, who routinely seek to influence the news
(how and what and why news are delivered);
-- Sourcing:
-- interviews organized by large corporations and government agencies, which reflect their own
policy in their own favor
-- Flak
-- routinely attack journalists that go against the government and corporations will
-- Objections:
-- conflictists go too far
-- mainstream news source, even when its owned by conglomerates, does not stop telling some
-- there are still quite a lot of news against government policy/corporate policy;
3. Symbolic interactionist (audience are capable of filter/interpret the information)
-- MM gives lists of ideas but audience do not necessarily accept it
-- the audience can filter/ interpret the message
-- Audience are more active;
-- e.g. audiences reaction to abortion (especially when its portrayed on TV shows)
100 Women watch TV program on abortion and discuss their reaction
BUT there are complex attitudes among these audience; not uniformed.
Four clusters of opinion:
1. Never justified
2. as a survival strategy
3. Want more social status
4. its an individual issue
-- human beings are not only wooden puppets; there is an interpretation process going on; complex, not
-- Mass Media exposure does in a degree affect peoples attitude towards lives through socialization, but
will not 100% influence peoples behavior;
-- e.g. All boys playing video games wont just go and buy guns shooting people; however it does serve as
a trigger to future violence;
4. Feminist:
-- 1970s rise of the women’s movement;
-- Misrepresentations of women in TV programs;
-- Women mostly appeared in domestic settings; as consumers of household stuff; still true today
-- Unequal division of labor “second shift
-- MM’s effect on changing the less advantaged class
both ways: -- film, music of black women improve their status

Document Summary

Topic 6 mass media (week 6 lecture + ns chp 5 + siq chp 10-11) Outline: the impact of mass media, organization of the mass media (who controls it), sociological issue of mass media (how do we receive it); Example of mass media e. g. 1 american psycho. - how people become consumer and victims of the mass media; - how the killer and the killed are victims of consumerism; - banned when it first came out at 1991 e. g. 2 oprah the most dangerous woman in the world. - new age teachings; course on miracles; there is no sin . - shows that mass media is almost like a religion e. g. 3 don"t drink the kool-aid e. g. 4 stats on media watching: - mass media in our consumption is an important part of our day-to-day life; - refers to print, radio, tv and other communication technologies;