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CMN 3104 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Frankfurt School, Gustave Le Bon, Manufacturing Consent


Department
Communication
Course Code
CMN 3104
Professor
Dina Salha
Study Guide
Midterm

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CMN 3104 Women in the Media
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
Gustave Lebon.
o The crowd theory was a theory based on race and social class. The crowd is
characterized by irrationality. That characteristic was also found to define
femininity. Pavlov’s conditioning theory was based on sexist media theories,
such as the crowd mentality.
o Stimulus response in the 1940s in the media: Rosy the Riveter, the fictional
character made by the government, to influence women to start working.
Men were in the military and they needed women to do factory work.
Because it wasn’t a common occurrence to see women at work, they needed
to convince society that it okay for women to go to work for patriotic reasons.
At the end of the war, they created a new campaign to demonize women so
they would have less chance to be employed. They also advertised new
household electronics to be tools that women knew how to use, after having
worked in factories (that campaign didn’t work.
Mathematical theories of the media (cybernetics) consider the media as a part of a
system of meta-stability and they facilitate the equilibrium of social organization and
control.
The social-functionalist theories do take into consideration the fact that individual
and interpersonal communication contributes to decision-making and interpretation
of texts and messages. (Laswell, Lazarfield, Merton)
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 (Gramsci).
Mainly, the role of the media as tools to expand the public sphere and public debate
but distortions persist… (abermas
Other critical schools of thought view the media as channels of distractions from real
social issues, only promoting consumption of commodities and capitalist ideologies.
(The Frankfurt School)
Theories of womanhood
Biological determinism: explanations of social or cultural phenomena in biological
terms. )t relies to a certain degree on Darwin’s theory of evolution and the principles
of natural selection (ex: certain biological traits determine group behaviour in
society such as crime, patriarchy, IQ test-scores, etc…
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Social construction: theories that emphasize the socially created nature of social
life, which means that society is actively and creatively produced by human beings.
(The Social Construction of Reality, 1966, Burger and Luckmann)
Gender division of labour: the distribution of women and men in the occupational
structure. The division of labour is usually held together by power relation, ideology,
and moral regulation…
Epistemology: The philosophical theory of knowledge. How we know what we now.
The question asked by Foucault critically is: Who determines what knowledge
should be viewed as such and for what purpose?
Psychoanalysis: Freud’s theory of sexual development. The girl is seen as already
castrated and this her early identification with her mother.
Power
Power is at the heart of social stratification.
Max Weber defined power as the probability of particular persons and groups
carrying on their will even if opposed by others.
Differential distribution of power leads to differential distribution of life-chances of
determining individual goals in society.
Power can be legitimated through traditional means, rational-legal means, or
charismatic means.
Hegemony
The representation of the interests of the ruling class as universal interests. (Karl
Marx)
Gramsci identifies hegemony as manufacturing consent. It involves the production
and maintenance of ways of thinking and seeing that exclude alternative discourses
and voices. If these are included, it is only to reinforce the status quo.
Political Economy of Communication, V. Mocso 1996
Political economy is the study of social relations, particularly power relations, that
mutually constitute the production, distribution, and consumption of resources.
Political economy of the study of control and survival in social life.
How do the media mutually contribute to power relations, hegemony, and
patriarchy?
Feminist approaches
What is feminism?
o It is a social movement, having its origins in 18th century England, which
seeks to achieve equality between the sexes by extension of rights of women.
Approaches of feminism
o Feminism developed theories about the inequality of the sexes, using
concepts such as:
Gender: Parallel to Sex as the biological division into male and female.
Gender is the socially unequal division into femininity and masculinity.
(Advertising circulates norms about gender roles)
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Gender draws attention, therefor, to the socially constructed aspects of
differences between women and men.
Patriarchy: Rule of the father. The term was originally used to
describe social systems based on the authority of male heads of the
household. It has now acquired a more general usage, especially in
some feminist theories, where it has come to mean male domination in
general (such as the domestic division of labour and labour-market)
(see advertising and domestication)
Sex Roles: The way to conceptualize the differences and relations
between women and men, seeing them as a product of socialization
rather than biology. Sex roles mask power and inequality between the
sexes.
Sex roles prescribe the different ways men and women are
supposed to act and the different tasks they are expected to
undertake.
In advanced industrial societies, most women are found in the
home or in the service occupations, in other words in women’s
work. Men spend their lives in a variety of careers outside the
home and their work is often better paid and of higher status
than that of women.
Why do sex role differences occur?
Competing theories:
o The biological and psychological perspectives emphasize inherent
differences, which can range from genetic selection to biological tendencies
that favour the nurturing qualities of women and the more aggressive and
instrumental temperament of men.
o According to functionalists, sex roles are complementary, and the male and
female division of labour increases the stability of the family. This view point
has been criticized by feminist writers who emphasize the power aspects of
traditional sex roles.
o Feminist philosophy: refuses to identify the human experience with the male
experience because it is hegemonic.
o Feminist philosophers challenge many areas of traditional philosophy on
the grounds that they fail
1. To take seriously women’s interests, identifies, and issues.
2. To recognize women’s way of being, thinking, and doing as valuable as
those of men.
o Because Western culture has associated rationality with masculinity and
emotionally with femininity, traditionalists have concluded that women are
less human than men.
o For this reason, feminist philosophers argue that reason and emotion are
symbiotically related, coequal sources of knowledge.
In the area of social and political philosophy, feminist philosophies focus on the
political institutions and social practices that perpetuate women’s subordination.
Their goals are:
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