Week 8 Language and Media
Sapir Whorf hypothesis: Language shapes how we understand and think about the world
around us. It does not determine what we think, it mediates what we think by influencing
what we see and focus on.
Orwell “1984” and Newspeak
• Novel about a totalitarian world.
• Newspeak eliminated certain words. “Free” was banished from the vocabulary.
• Key promise: is people have no worlds to express revolutionary ideas, then they
Moore English Language
• “Black” in vocabulary is bad, everything good has to relate to light, and white.
• Rooted from slavery, Bible. Association to good and bad with colours.
Impersonal communications directed to a vast audience such as
• Print media magazines, newspapers.
• Electronic media radio, TV, Internet.
Media influence and control
Given how much we are exposed to the media, average Canadian is 15 hours a week and
17 hours online.
Are we getting a diversity of views or competing ideas?
• Or illusion of choice?
• 4 companies own 80% of the media.
• 3 newspaper companies own 80% of the circulation.
Freedom of speech
Implies an unfiltered ability to communicate.
1. Audience someone to receive the message.
2. Equal access to a platform or vehicle.
3. Lack of censorship racist, offensive language uncensored.
Why is this sacred?
• Fundamental to democracy (representation)
• Free exchange of ideas promotes “truth”
Power Elite C. Wright Mills
• The interwoven interests of the leaders of the military, corporate, and political
elements of society. They want to remain in power and for everything to stay the
• Ordinary citizens are relatively powerless to manipulate by these entities.
Look at psychological similarities of elites and the social intermingling/ cooperation
between 3 groups. • Elite schools, same circles.
• Interchangeable jobs.
The power elite is much more unified and powerful than the “mass society”, which is
fragment and weak.
Effects of media concentration
1. Idea diversity
• Lack of diversity in viewpoints expressed in the media, the “marketplace” of
2. Demographic diversity
• How the media represents and addresses the interests of people from a variety of
(ethinic, racial, gender, sexual orientation…)
• Media ownership, less than 5% female and or ethnic minority.
• 796 main characters in 2013 season, 23% minority, 43% female, 3% GLBT
Consequences of lack of diversity
watching TV lead to low selfesteem for black boys, black girls and white girls.
Higher selfesteem for white boys.
• Provide framework to access, analyze and evaluate media messages.
• Build an understanding of the role of media in society.
• Citizen empowerment over media messages.
1. Be aware of the media “diet”
2. Learning specific skills of critical viewing.
Analyze and question what is shown and what is left out.
3. Questioning what is behind the media
Who produces it, for what purpose?
Who profits and who looses?
Advertisement use techniques such as:
• Selling “life style” ads
• Alcohol typically sells: fun, friends, sex, and sports…
• Clothing associates with personality.
*It’s about the person you CAN be, not about the actual product.
Study of 225 students who engaged in alcohol related media literacy training
• Better understand persuasive intent of ads.
• Viewing characters as less similar to people they knew in real life and becomes
• Decreased desire to be like he characters.
• Decreased likelihood to choose alcohol related products. Week 9 Work and Rationalization
Rise of Rationalization
• Major change in modern society.
Prior to the Enlightenment (pre 1700)
• People lived in enchanted world.
(invested with magical powers and other worldly forces)
• Explanation for events?
(Angry gods or provoked spirits)
(sacrifice to gods, and perform rituals)
Max Weber on Rationalization
• Disenchantment of the world.
• Enlightenment lead to the erosion of religious authority.
• Turn to new ideas of science, logic reasoning and evidence to make decisions.
• As the world becomes less enchanted, less magical it also becomes less
meaningful for people.
• Rationalization robs us of humanity.
What is rationalization?
1. Predictability repetition, reliability
2. Calculability priority to be counted or qualified.
3. Efficiency best means to a given end
4. Control enhanced certainty of outcomes.
*This is a way of solving problems, a focus on the optimal means toward an end.
Effects of rationalization
• Process changed many aspects of society:
1. Natural world is now explained through rationalized scientific means.
2. Economies now run with rationalized practices. (factories, assembly lines,
standardized measures, time measurement, currencies)
*Permeates modern life.
• Online dating, Internet, speed dating, paid matchmakers.
• Look for specific characters, prenuptial arrangements to avoid complications.
• Books, rules, tests, and dating coaches.
1. More options, less time spent.
2. Bigger social circle, everyone on the same page.
1. Love cannot be forced, there is no excitement and mystery.
2. Creativity is lost.
3. Process of disenchantment is also a process of disillusionment. Bureaucracy: rule of the desk, bureaucracy are an institution made of human machines.
(UN, IMF, UWO, Starbucks, Microsoft)
Features of Bureaucracies
1. Hierarchically organized “officers”
2. Chain of command vertically
3. Clear, formal division of labour
4. Abstract, formal rules (written policy manuals)
5. Technical qualifications dominate
6. Impersonal decision making
7. Staffed by fulltime, salaried employees.
• Now in 118 countries
• Serves 46 million customers a day
• 41 billion in yearly sales
1. Wider range of goods and services to a much larger portion of the population.
2. Almost instantaneous and very convenient.
3. Goods and services are uniform quality.
4. Cheaper alternatives to high priced customized goods.
5. Provides familiarity and stability.
1. “Irrationality of rationality”
Highly rationalized systems can lead to negative outcomes.
2. Work becomes monotonous and alienating.
3. Food products become less healthy for consumers.
4. Companies produce mass quantities of waste.
*Most jobs (81%) are service jobs, 1% in farming and 12% in industries.
• Managing emotions so that they are consistent with organizational/ occupational
display rules, regardless of whether they are consistent with internal feelings.
• 1/3 of jobs require emotional labour. (flight attendant, nurse, salesperson)
Face to face contact with the public.
Worker produces another emotional state.
1. Surface acting
Painting on affective displays of faking. Presents emotions on the “surface” without
actually feeling them.
2. Deep acting
Employees modify inner feelings to match the emotional expressions the organizations
*acting will sell products and attract customers.
Week10 Education Marx ’s view on functions of educatio :
1. School as agencies of ideological transmission
They are responsible for socializing pupils into an ideology that serves interests of a
capitalist ruling class
2. The correspondence between work and education
Schools mirror the workplace through its hierarchical structures.
Teachers give orders pupils obey. Students have little control over their work, just as the
workers in the majority of jobs.
3. Hidden Curriculum
Students learn through the experience of attending school rather than the stated
Dulls the lower class into obedient workers.
Education maintains social inequality and preserves the power of those who dominate
Maintains ideology and status quo that benefit the elites.
Durkheim ’s view on functions of education
1. Preparing individuals for their adult (workrelated) roles
• People are socialized into the knowledge and skills that an industrialized society
requires; in which work in highly complex and specialized.
2. Promoting social solidarity
• Promotes experience of collective behavior and collective consciousness among
future adults that are necessary for the integration of individuals into society.
Weber’s view based on theories
• Confers status and prestige
• Education is a system of rationalization.
• Bureaucracy of education is efficient at producing degrees, BUT takes away individual
creativity in the process.
WHAT DOES EDUCATION DO? The purpose of degrees (Beaver article)
1. Human capital model
• Education is a form of capital good that increases individual’s future income and
opportunity for secure jobs.
• Assumed that skills and knowledge obtained at schools are transferable to jobs.
• Students attend university to get knowledge and skills, 72% o US freshmen went to
school to be able to obtain “better jobs”.
2. Screening & Sorting
• Degrees work as heuristics, mental short cuts for employers to save time and effort.
• Social closure (max weber), credentials are more about providing occupational and
professional groups, and a way of excluding people. • Cr