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Brym_Ch18.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCA01H3
Professor
Malcolm Mac Kinnon

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Chapter 18: The Mass Media The Significance of the Mass Media Illusion becomes Reality  The Truman Show: Jim Carrey as an insurance agent who discovers everyone is an actor  The Matrix: Keanu Reeves finds that his identity and his life are illusions  Everyone is hardwired to a computer that uses humans as an energy sources o Comp supplies ppl with nutrients to keep them alive & simulated realities to keep them happy  American Psycho: how ppl become victims of mass media and consumerism  These movie suggests that fantasy worlds created by mass media are only realities we know  We spend close to 40% of our time interacting with mass media  Marshall McLuhan:coined the term ‘global village’: media are extensions of human body & mind What are the Mass Media?  Mass Media: refers to print, radio, TV, and other communication technologies  Mass media & mass communication → used interchangeably to refer to the transmission of info from one person to another  Mass → implies media reach many ppl; Media→ signifies that communication doesn’t take place directly thru face to face interaction  Mass media communication is usually one way or one sided  There are few senders [producers] and many receivers [audience]  Thus, members of the audience cannot exert much influence on mass media o can only chose to tune in or tune out [tuning out difficult] o few ppl want to be cultural misfits o doesn’t mean ppl are always passive consumers of mass media  We filter, interpret and resist what we see & hear if it contradicts of beliefs o Media sources still dominate  New media frontier blurs the distinction b/w producer and consumer, more democratic for those who can afford it The Rise of the Mass Media st  1 developed system of writing appeared about 5500 years ago in Egypt & Southern Iraq  Communication done via horse, railroad or a ship→ Too slow and costly  Telegraph gave new meaning to time change 1 th  Electronic media are creatures of the 20 century  WWW → around 1991...close to billion people uses the Web SocioNotes | Chapter 18 Causes of Media Growth Can be explained by 3 main factors: religious, political, and economic 1. The Protestant Reformation: th o In 16 cent, Catholic ppl relied on priests to tell them what was in the Bible o Martin Luther protested—wanted ppl to develop more personal relationship with Bible o New form of Christianity → known as Protestantism i. Bible became 1 mass media product o Technological improvements in papermaking & printing made the diffusion of the Bible & other books possible o Most significant landmark was Johann Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press i. Printed book enabled expansion of ideas o Contributed to the Renaissance [a scholarly & artistic revival that began in Italy] and to the rise of modern science 2. Democratic Movements: th o From 18 cent on, citizens of France, U.S. and other countries demanded and achieved representation in gov’t o Wanted to become literate and gain access to previously restricted centres of learning o Democratic gov’t depended on an informed citizenry & thus encouraged growth of free press o Today, mass media, esp TV, mould our outlook on politics o TV’s influence became evident in 1960 US Presidential debate o Soon, Canadian politicians were hiring “image consultants” o Negative ads may backfire [ex- Jean Chretians facial paralysis—dropped PC support] 3. Capitalist Industrialization: o Modern industries require literate & numerate work force o Needed rapid means of communication to do business efficiently o Mass media turned out to be a major source of profits o b/w 1986 and 1996, consumer market for entertainment service grew by 50% Theories of Media Effects Functionalism:  George Hegel: daily ritual of reading the newspaper unites the secular world, just how daily prayer once united the Christian world  Nationwide contribution of newspapers, magazines, movies, TV shows cements the large, 2 socially diverse, and geographically far-flung population of Canada 1. Mass media perform an important function by coordinating the operation of industrial and post-industrial societies 2. Mass media are important agents of socialization SocioNotes | Chapter 18 3. Social Control: mass media help to ensure conformity  By exposing deviants and showcasing law enforcement officials and model citizens, mass media reinforces ideas about what kinds of ppl deserve punishment and who deserves rewards  They reproduce the moral order 4. To provide entertainment.  b/c mass media products requires little effort on the part of the audience  relieve stress Conflict Theory  functionalism offers valuable insights into operations of mass media  conflict theory criticizes functional approach for paying insufficient attention to social inequality o functionalism exaggerates mass media benefits o mass media favors interests of dominant classes and political groups  2 ways in which dominant classes and political groups benefit disproportionately: o Mass media broadcast beliefs, values, idea that create widespread acceptance of basic structure of societies [ie injustices and inequalities] o Ownership of MM is in hands of small # of ppl and is profitable for those MEDIA OWNERSHIP:  Most of mass media owned by SIX multimedia giants  About 90% of MM in Canada are privately owned  Not just the degree of media concentration has changed, but the form as well  Media concentration involved mainly “horizontal integration” o Small number of firms try to control as much production as possible  From 1990’s “vertical integration” visible o Media firms sought to control production in many fields  Media “conglomerates”: may own any combo of television networks, stations, production facilities, video store chains, sports teams, software companies, etc o Can create content and deliver it in a variety of forms o Ex) Rogers Communications – own Blue Jays, AOL/Time warner—Netscape, Amazon... MEDIA BIAS:  Conflict theorists: argue that when a few conglomerates dominate the production of news, they squeeze out alternative points of view  How mass media support core societal values
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