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Week 8 - SOC.docx

6 pages49 viewsFall 2013

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Neda Maghbouleh

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Week 8 Kalpana Kumarasalam
Pg. 455-475 SOCA01 – N. Maghbouleh
Oct 30th, 2013
Chapter 18: The Mass Media
The Significance of the Mass Media:
Illusion Becomes Reality:
- 21st century consisted of movies about the blurred line separating reality from fantasy
The Truman Show – Jim Carrey discovers everyone in his life is an actor
The Matrix – Neo finds that his identity and his life are illusions
American Psycho – most disturbing movie
Based on a novel that was banned in some parts of N. America
Patrick Bateman = yuppie by day, serial killer by night
Sociological point of this movie: people become victims of the mass
media and consumerism
In Bateman’s mind, his 14 murder victims = props in a movie
No feelings of empathy to stage objects
Mass media has completely emptied him of emotion he has trouble
remembering the names of his victims
At the same time, mass media infused him with consumer values  he can
describe his victim by the brands, stores they shop at, styles, prices
Killer and killed are both victims of consumerism and the mass media
- Avg. Canadian:
Spends 2.5 hours listening to the radio
Under an hour reading magazines, newspapers, and books
Spend their time going to the movies, using the Internet, listening to CDs, playing
video games
Spend close to 40% of our time interacting with the mass media
Most people’s reality is media generated
- Marshall McLuhan coined the term global village
Early 1960s
Said media are extensions of the human body and mind
What are the Mass Media?
- The mass media are print, radio, television, and other communication technologies
- Mass media and mass communication are used interchangeably to refer to the
transmission of information from one person or group to another
- The word mass implies that the media reaches many people
- The word media signifies that communication does not take place directly face-to-face
- Technology instead intervenes or mediates in transmitting messages from senders to
- Communication is usually one-way or one-sided
- There are few senders (or producers) and many receivers (or audience members)
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Hence why most newspapers print a few readers letters in each edition BUT
journalists and advertisers write virtually everything else
- Members of the audience cannot exert much influence on the mass media
Can only choose to tune in or tune out
By tuning out  people lose styles, news, gossip, and entertainment most people
depend on of social interaction, so it’s difficult
- People aren’t always passive consumers of the mass media
They filter, interpret, and resist what we see and hear if it contradicts our
experiences and beliefs
- However media sources usually dominate between audiences and media sources
The Rise of the Mass Media:
- Mass media have been recent inventions
Writing appeared in Egypt & Mesopotamia (5500 years ago)
Print media (19th century)
Daily newspaper which cost only a penny in the U.S. (1830s)
Horse, railroad, or a ship in order for long-distance communication
Slow speed of communication = $$$$
The newspaper = dominant mass medium
Samuel Morse changed that by sending the first telegraphic signal
Long distance communication no longer needed physical transportation
Time zones started to exist in N. America
Sandford Fleming adopted the standard time
- Most electronic media = 20th century
Commercial television broadcasts (1920s)
ARPANET (1969)
A system of communication between computers to find alternative
transmission routes in case a route broke down b/c of nuclear attack
ARPANET  Internet  WWW = World Wide Web (1991
2 billion people use it today
Causes of Media Growth:
- The rise of the media mass can be explained by 3 distinctive factors:
1. The Protestant Reformation
16th century: Catholics relied on priests to tell them what was in the Bible
1517: Martin Luther protested certain practices of the Church
oHe wanted people to develop a more personal relationship with the
In 40 years: Martin Luther’s new form of Christianity – Protestantism –
was established in half of Europe  millions of people were encouraged to
oBible = first mass media productive + best selling book
Technological improvements in papermaking & printing made it possible
to make the Bible
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