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SOCA01H3 Chapter Notes -Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey, Mass Media


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCA01H3
Professor
Malcolm Mac Kinnon

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SocioNotes | Chapter 18
1
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
1st 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
Electronic media are creatures of the 20th century
WWW → around 1991...close to billion people uses the Web

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SocioNotes | Chapter 18
2
Causes of Media Growth
Can be explained by 3 main factors: religious, political, and economic
1. The Protestant Reformation:
o In 16th cent, Catholic ppl relied on priests to tell them what was in the Bible
o Martin Luther protestedwanted ppl to develop more personal relationship with Bible
o New form of Christianity → known as Protestantism
i. Bible became 1st 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:
o From 18th 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 paralysisdropped 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,
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
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