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W2 Reading Notes Holt & Perren.docx

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Simon Fraser University
CMNS 230
David Newman

WEEK 2 Does the World Really Need One More Field of Study? Holt and Perren 1 • Study of media industries is varied and diverse • Range of perspective, but no disciplinary tradition • Media industries have been experiencing a period of unprecedented influence, prosperity, cultural debate, and transformation • The media are affected by the evolution of their products and external developments 2 • Need for interdisciplinary scholarship on media industries Defining Media Industry Studies • Objectives o Articulate the diverse academic traditions and common threads defining media industry studies o Illustrate how the integrated analyses of media texts, audiences, histories, and culture could enable more productive scholarship o Situate the discipline within a humanistic context 3 The Genesis of Media Industries Scholarship The culture industry and mass communication thesis • Foundational ideas about media industries emerged 1920s to 1950s • WWII, new mass media (motion pictures, radio) contributed to development of different strands of media industries research • E.g. Frankfurt School, Marxist theorists, influenced political economy, cultural studies, philosophy, etc. • especially influential “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception” (Adorno and Horkheimer 1944): influenced how media industries are conceptualized by scholars and how discourse is framed; were concerned about mass media commodifying culture, and large-scale media industries shaping the minds of the masses; has raised questions of how texts are produced and how they impact audiences 4 • views are problematic today: they had an elitist attitude toward what constituted art, assumed a monolithic media industry when there where in fact numerous stakeholders within the industries, assumed a one-way flow of communication from central industry to passive audience, presumed that other social, cultural political institutions had little influence on audiences • another strand of scholarship: mass communication o Frankfurt school methods: qualitative analyses informed by Marxian critical theory, interest in radical social change o Mass communication methods: quantitative, e.g. survey, content analyses; interested in modifying the existing system to make it more democratic; using the transmission model (who says what to whom to what effect, linear communication process); 5 • Concepts developed during the 1930s/1940s continue to shape research today • “mass culture” and “mass communication” approaches have historical value, but do not inform the future development of media industry studies • concepts developed in the Fordist era no longer applicable, industry no longer presumed to be monolithic, and studies no longer bound to nation- based media systems/specific media forms Disciplinary Influences and Analytical Frameworks Sociology and anthropology • ethnographically oriented studies • interviews, participant observation (bottom-up) • understand the complex nature of power relations in the media industries and how audiences are conceptualized 6 • organizational analyses: macro-level approach to examining sociology of work • sociology and anthropology influence direction taken in scholarship on cultures of production • counterpoints to institutional analyses undertaken by media economists Media economics and industrial analysis • top down perspective of industrial and organizational structures • models for discussing macroeconomics and microeconomics • the degree to which an industry is determined to be competitive by economists impacts regulatio
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