Textbook Notes (363,007)
Canada (158,140)
Sociology (1,053)
SOCA01H3 (480)
Chapter 18

Chapter 18 Notes

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Sheldon Ungar

Chapter 18: (pgs. 455-475) The Mass Media 1) The Significance of the Mass Media (pgs 455 – 460)  Illusion Becomes Reality  Example: American Psycho (2000) o How people become victims of the mass media and consumerism; the main character says he is “used to imagining everything happening the way it occurs in movies.” o His murder victims are mere props in a movie in which he is the star. He feels no empathy towards them than an actor does to objects on stage. The mass media have completely emptied him he can’t even remember their names, but is so infused with consumer values that he can completely remember their appearance (brand names and prices).  The average Canadian spends more than 3 hours a day watching TV, over 2.5 hours listening to the radio, and just under an hour reading magazines, newspapers, and books. o Include the amount of time spend going to the movies, using the Internet, listening to CDs, and playing video games = 40% of our time revolves around mass media.  We get ideas of how to dress, style our hair, and music to listen from mass media. Hopes, aspirations, and dreams also come from mass media.  Marshall McLuhan (1960s): Coined term ‘global village’ said that the media are extensions of the human body and mind.  What Are the Mass Media?  Mass media: 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.  Majority of audience cannot exert much influence on the mass media; can only either tune in or tune out. o Tuning out excludes you from “new” styles, news, gossip, and entertainment. o We’re not passive consumers of media  we filter, interpret and resist what we see and hear if it contradicts our experiences and beliefs.  The Rise of the Mass Media  Most mass media are recent inventions, such as the print media.  19 Century - 1955: Print media o Long-distance communication such as horses, railroad, or ship was costly and sometimes had deadly impacts for not receiving messages on time.  Example: Battle of New Orleans  1844: Samuel Morse sent first telegraphic signal. Long-distance communication no longer required physical transport.  1920s: First commercial television broadcasts  1991: Internet and World Wide Web Chapter 18: (pgs. 455-475) The Mass Media  Causes of Media Growth  Three main factors, one religious, one political, and one economic: 1. The Protestant Reformation: Started by Martin Luther’s protest on certain practices in the church and said that people should gain a more personal relationship with the bible. He developed a new form of Christianity, Protestantism. To spread this information of Protestantism, the Bible was the first mass media product in the West and by far the best-selling book.  Lead to some of the most significant inventions such as Johannes Gutenberg’s inventions of the printing press. It enabled the widespread diffusion and exchange of ideas. Also contributed to the rise of modern science. 2. Democratic Movements: Citizens of countries demanded representation in government, while also wanting to become literate and gain access to previously restricted centres of learning. The democratic government encourage popular literacy and the growth of a free press.  Television and other mass media mould our entire outlook on politics, mostly evident in the 1960 US presidential election  the first televised presidential debate. Radio does not see what television can broadcast  produce “image consultants”.  Claimed that television and other mass media over-simplify politics. 3. Capitalist Industrialization: Modern industries needed a literate and numerate workforce, while also needing rapid means of communication to do business efficiently. Summary:  The mass media shape perceptions of reality.  Print media dominated until the mid-twentieth century. Since then, electronic media have dominated.  The Protestant Reformation and the growth of democracy and capitalism were the major factors underlying the growth of the mass media. Chapter 18: (pgs. 455-475) The Mass Media 2) Theories of Media Effects (pgs 461 – 470)  Functionalism  Face-to-face interaction became less viable as a means of communication. o As a result, the need increases for new means of coordinating the operation of the various parts of society.  The nationwide distribution of newspapers, magazines, movies, television, and Internet cements the large, socially diverse and geographically far-flung population of Canada. o The nation is an imagined community, and the mass media make it possible for us to imagine it.  According to the functionalist theory, there are four functions mass media donates: 1. The mass media coordinates the operation of industrial and post-industrial societies. 2. The mass media are important agents of socialization. o Example: Instead of families teaching their children norms, values, and culture, the mass media has stepped in. They reinforce shared ideals of democracy, competition, justice, and so forth. 3. The mass media provides social control by ensuring conformity. o Example: Lots of shows revolve around crime, some of which demonstrate rewards for heroes and punishments for the villains. 4. The mass media provides entertainment. o Mass media gives up pleasure, relaxation, and momentary escape from reality, by relieving stress without threatened the social order.  Conflict Theory  Focuses on the social inequality fostered by the mass media; some people benefit more from the mass media than others do.  The mass media favour the interests of dominant classes and political groups, and there are two ways in which they do disproportionately. 1. They broadcast beliefs, values, and ideas that create widespread acceptance of the basic structure of society, including its injustice and inequalities. 2. Ownership of mass media is highly concentrated in the hands of a small number of people and it’s highly profitable for them.  Media Ownership  The degree of media concentration has changed: Currently about 90% of mass media in Canada are privately owned  fewer and fewer people control Canada’s mass media with every passing decade.  The for
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