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Sociology (1,053)
SOCA02H3 (310)
Chapter 18

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Robert Brym

Chapter 18: The Mass Media The Significance of the Mass Media Illusion Becomes Reality th  20 century movies blurred reality and fantasy  Eg. TheMatrix (1999) – people are hardwired to a giant computer that uses human as an energy source and American Psycho (2000) – people become victims of the mass media and consumerism, Patrick Bateman believes he is a movie star and his victims are just part of the show – props, brands, etc.  Movies suggest that the fantasy worlds created by mass media as increasingly the only realities we know  as influential as religion was 500- 600 years ago.  Canadians spend 40% time interacting with mass media:  Marshall McLuhan 1960s – global village – the media are extensions of the human body and mind. NOW it’s the opposite. 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.  Technology intervenes in transmitting messages from senders to receivers.  Communication via the mass media is one-sided  Few senders (producers) for many receivers (audience members)  Eg. Less reader’s letter compared to writers in newspapers  Eg. Dr. Phil show has ordinary people but producers chose them and create the program content  Eg. Few visit a personal website where many visit popular websites  Audience doesn’t exert much influence on mass media, they can tune in or tune out o Tune out  cultural misfits BUT difficult because excludes us from styles, news, gossip, and entertainment  we aren’t passive consumers rather we filter it based on our own beliefs and experiences. The Rise of the Mass Media  Most mass media are recent inventions o 2007 – iPhone released  First developed systems of writing were 5500 years ago in Egypt and Mesopotamia.  Mass print media in 19 century  1 cent daily newspaper in US 1830s  dominant till 1950  There was slow communication at the time  physical transportation  Eg. Peace treaty signed but only got to the battle of New Orleans 15 days after  Eg. 1883, there were many local time zones in North America. The 6 times zones were determined and coordinated by instant communication by a telegraph  20 century was when the electronic media emerged.  Eg. 1920s, first commercial television broadcasts  Eg. 1969, ARPANET – US’s system of communication between computers that would find alternative routes if the network broke down (nuclear attack)  internet  1991 world wideweb – hyperlinked system of texts, images and sounds. Causes of Media Growth  Three factors: religious, political and economic  1. TheProtestant Reformation th o 16 century Catholics relied on Priests to interpret the Bible o 1517 Martin Luther protested certain practices – wanted a personal relationship with God. o Protestantism was established in half of Europe  Bible was the first mass media in the West, and the best selling. o Technological improvements allows the spread of the Bible  Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press invention o Books are lasting, more than any other technology.  2. Democratic Movements o After 18 century France, US, & other countries got representation in democratic government  depended on informed citizens and wanted literacy and growth of press o Mass media (TV) forms out outlook on politics. o Eg.1960 US presidential election  Kennedy won because he looked better on TV o Image consultants – image manipulation to get desired results o Eg. Conservatives “negative advertising” of liberals o TV & other mass media over-simplified politics  marketing  3. Capitalist Industrialization o Modern industries need literates, efficiency, communication  mass media Theories of Media Effects Functionalism  As societies develop it becomes larger and more complex  Institutions and roles increases  less face-to-face interaction  Need for new means of coordinating the operation of the various parts of society  mass media  Eg. To feel like Canadians – mass media lets everyone in all parts of Canada feel like citizens of Canada. Nationwide distribution of media unites our large, diverse, and spread out population.  Mass media functions: o 1. Coordinates the operation of industrial and postindustrial societies. o 2. Functionalists – mass media are agents of socialization  Mass media reinforces shared ideals of democracy, competition, justice, etc.  families still have exclusive right to transmit norms, values and culture. o 3. Involves social control; ensuring conformity.  Eg. TV shows display heroes as those who deserve the rewards and villains as those who should be punished  moral order  Eg. Jerry Springer is ridiculous BUT very conservative  enforce traditional norms about martial infidelities o 4. Provides entertainment  Eg. TV shows, YouTube, movies all give us relaxation, pleasure, and freedom of stress Conflict Theory  Functional approach of mass media doesn’t point out the social inequality, it exaggerates that mass media serves the interests of society.  In reality, mass media favors theinterests of dominant classes and political groups. o 1. Broadcast beliefs, values, and ideas that are widely accepted by society including inequalities and injustices o 2. It’s owned by a few people who profit from it Media Ownership  Five multimedia giants,fromlargest revenuetosmallest o 1. CTV globemedia Inc. owned by Bell Canada – CTV network, radio, newspaper  4.3 billion o 2. Rogers Communication Inc. – cable TV and Internet, TV networks radio  3.9 billion o 3. Shaw Communications Inc. – cable TV and Internet, radio, TV networks  3.1 billion o 4. CBC/Radio Canada – publicly owned, bilingual TV and radio networks  1.6 billion o 5. Quebecor Inc. – newspapers, cable TV, and TV networks  1 billion  90% of mass media in Canada is privately owned  concentrated media control  Till 90s, media concentration was horizontal integration – control production in their particular fields, now vertical integration – control production and distribution in many fields by media conglomerate Media Bias  Concentration of mass media in few people  Conflict theorists believe mass media deprives the public of the independent sources of information, limit the diversity of opinion and encourage the public to accept their society as it is. When few conglomerates dominate the production of news, there is no alternative points of view. o Eg. Quebecor Media’s Sun News Network  conservative controlled media  Edward Herman and NoamChomsky  mechanisms to bias thenews that supports powerful corporate and political interests: o 1. Advertising – large corporations earn revenue, seek to influence the news so it will reflect their best interests o 2. Sourcing – news relies for information on press releases, news conferences, and interviews organized by large corporations and government agencies. News would be in the corporation’s best interests. Unofficial sources used less because it’s the minority side. o 3. Flak – governments and big corporations attack journalists who depart from official and corporate points of view.  Eg. Tobacco companies stop news saying it causes cancer  Conflict theorist’s arguments NOT convincing BUT mass media does support core societal values. o Eg. 63% of newspapers not influenced by advertisers, news agencies still evade flak and news still shows alternative views. o Eg. Support of democracy and capitalism (liberal bias) by mass media  Mass media endorse consumerism as a way of life in order to define ourselves  advertising fills media (23$ billion a year in Canada)  When mass media show less central values  diversity of media opinion o Eg. Specific government
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