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Chapter 5

New Societies chapter 5 notes.docx

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Robert Brym

Chapter 5: The Mass Media  Communication: bringing together one unifying by establishing shared meanings and understanding between groups and the individuals o Through transmission of information, knowledge or beliefs by means of language, visual images and other sign systems, such as music  Mass media: communication flows are unidirectional members remain anonymous/isolated from one another  Interactive: communication flows back and forth, people interact in transmission and reception of communication Technological Perspective  2 seminal scholars: Harold Innis and Marshal McLuhan  Innis: time-biased from space-biased media o Time-biased: modes of communication that endure over time but are relatively immobile across space o Space-biased: cover much greater space, less durable o Foster 2 different arrangements of institutions and cultural values  TB: conducive to strong sense of tradition and custom, which promote religious forms of power and belief  SB: assist territorial expansion, empire building, secular form of power and culture such as dominance of military institutions and growth of the state  Different forms of power create different types of social division and conflict o Elite who controls media try to use it to preserve their privilege and interest o Those excluded struggle against elite control and the process stimulate development of new, alternative forms of communication o Historically, this struggle resulted in shift from time to space based media  Innis’s ideas influenced McLuhan (1964) o Argued that relationship between communication and institutions and culture was mediated by the way that the forms of communication change our sense of perceptions and cognitive processes  Ex: invention of printing vs. oral communication  Rise of nationalism  TV=global village The Critical Perspective  Institutions such as news media and processes such as socialization and social control cannot be understood from the viewpoint of society as a whole, but only from that of unequal and conflicting groups and classes  2 variants o Emphasizing the relationship between media and inequality o Emphasizing the relationship between media and social conflict st  1 variant derives from orthodox Marxism o Role of media defined in terms of how the media serve the economic interests and political power of those who own and control the means of material production o To maintain and consolidate its power and interests the dominant class also exercises control over the production of ideas, beliefs, values and norms that constitute a society’s dominant ideology o Media by disseminating this dominant ideology create acceptance and legitimization of the status quo o Max Horcheimer and Theodor Aracho (1972 and 1947)  Saw mass media as broader “culture industry”  Function to create mass deception about exploitative and oppressive nature of capitalist society  Role of mass media to distract and pacify people by feeding standardized images that stifle capacity for independent, critical thought  Propaganda model o Serve interest of leading political and economic class by filtering info to reduce radical/subversive views o Horman and Chomsky 1988 o 5 filters  Media’s orientation to profit making  Dependence on advertising from revenue and profit  Reliance of powerful institutions and individual sources of information  Negative reaction (flak) if media deviate from promoting elite interests and values  Adherence to anti communism as an overreaching belief system  Morphed into war on terrorism nd  2 variant acknowledges that the capitalist class and other powerful groups use dominant ideology to reinforce their position and maintain the status quo o Establishment of hegemony o Use of media and other cultural institutions to represent their interests, values and understandings as natural and universal Political Economy of the Media  Focuses on the ownership and control of economic resources and the effect of technology and economic power on cultural values social structure and political decision making  Media functions like any bureaucracy o What then are its primary goals? o Entertain and inform or revenue?  Ownership and control of mass media becoming more concentrated in smaller number of giant corporations o Trend of economic globalization o Creation of multimedia chains  To secure and enhance their market position multimedia chains practice horizontal and vertical integration o HI: refers to sharing of facilities and resources between different plants and outlets o VI: involves control of resources and assets at different stages of production such as ownership of sports team along with stations and channels that televise team’s games  Leads to greater homogenization of ideas and cultural production  Impedes progressive social change by favouring interests of the powerful Newspapers: concentration monopoly and advertising  Concentration raises question about freedom of the press and diversity of democratic society  Ability of newspaper proprietors to dictate news content continues to depend on need to make a profit and ability to attract advertisers o Must also appeal to readers and subscribers that advertisers are trying to reach and persuade Television: Economy, Culture and Identity  Commercialization and advertising dependence have had greatest impact on the content and role of the media o Private TV companies motivated by profit not cultural goods o Relies on American programming  Dominance of American entertainment programming amounts to cultural imperialism  Arguably Canadians have had a large influence on American media culture o Look up names pg. 104  Canada becoming “post national” society o Because of economic and cultural globalization, a strong unified and permanent sense of national identity ay be a thing of the past o Post modernist view that in affluent society identities and experiences are becoming increasingly fragmented disconnected from one another and amenable to individual reconstruction and reinterpretation especially on the basis of ideas and images people consume via mass media Representation and Ideology: the meaning of the message  Media communicates on different levels o Involves process of representation
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