Name of InstitutionAMITY SCHOOL of COMMUNICATION BJMC 2nd SEM UNDERSTANDING MASS COMMUNICATION MR. ANKIT KASHYAP
Name of Institution Four Eras ofMass Communication
Name of InstitutionFour eras in mass communication theories• Era of mass society theory (1850-1940)• Era of scientific perspective on mass media (1940-1950)• Era of limited effects (1950-60s)• Era of cultural criticism (1960s-1980s)
Name of InstitutionEra of mass society theory 1850-1940 • Mass Communication theories begins with a review of some of the earliest notions about media. These ideas were initially developed in the later half of the 19th century as new media technologies were invented and popularized. Although some theorists were optimistic about new technology, most were extremely pessimistic (Brantlinger, 1983). They blamed new industrial technology for disrupting peaceful, rural communities and forcing people to live in urban areas merely to serve as a convenient workforce in large factories, mines or bureaucracies.
Name of InstitutionTheorists were fearful of cities because of their crime,cultural diversity, and unstable political systems. Formany social thinkers, mass media symbolizedeverything that was wrong with the 19th century urbanlife. The dominant perspective that emerged duringthis period is referred to as mass society theory. Itbegan as a collection of contradictory notions – somequite radical, others quite reactionary.
Name of InstitutionIn general mass society ideas held strong appeal for anysocial elites whose power was threatened by change.Media industries such as ‘penny press’ were aconvenient for elites’ criticism. The media of the timewere easily attacked as symptomatic of a sick society –a society that needed to either return to old values or beforced to adopt a set of totally new values.
Name of InstitutionIn time, the leaders of the Industrial Revolution gained enormousinfluence over social change. They strongly favored all forms ofTechnological Development, including mass media.In their view technology was inherently good as it facilitated controlover the physical environment, expanded human productivity andgenerated new forms of material wealth.New technology would bring an end to social problems and lead tothe development of an Ideal social world.But in the short term, industrialization brought with it enormousproblems – exploitation of workers, pollution and social unrest.
Name of InstitutionToday, the fallacies of both the critics of technology and itsadvocates are readily apparent.Mass society notions greatly exaggerated the ability of media toquickly undermine social order. These ideas failed to considerthat media’s power ultimately resides in the freely chosen usesthat audiences make of it.Technology advocates were also misguided and failed toacknowledge the many unnecessary, damaging consequences thatresulted from applying technology without adequatelyconsidering the impact.
Important Theories Name of Institution• Bullet Theory• Propaganda Theory
Bullet Theory Name of Institution• Also called as hypodermic needle theory• It holds that an intend message is directly received and completely accepted by listener. It assumes that the media’s message is a bullet fired from the “media gun” into viewer’s head.• Receivers are passive and defenseless• Media have direct, immediate and poerful effect to those who pay attention.
Propaganda Theory Name of Institution• Media propagates any idea with direct impact on the mass society.• Audience here was also passive and defenseless• The ideas used to propagate at that time were highly influenced by the politics.
Name of Institution Era of scientific perspective on mass media (1940-1950)During the 1930’s, world events seemed to continually confirmthe truth of mass society ideas. In Europe, reactionary andrevolutionary political movements used media in their strugglesfor political power.German Nazis introduced propaganda techniques that ruthlesslyexploited the power of new media technology like motionpictures and radio.All across Europe, totalitarian leaders like Hitler, Stalin andMussolini rose to political power and were able to exerciseseemingly total control over vast populations.
Name of InstitutionPrivate ownership of media, especially broadcastmedia, was replaced by direct government control inmost European nations. The purpose was to use mediafor the service of the society. But the unintendedoutcome in most cases was to place enormous power inthe hands of ruthless leaders who were convinced thatthey personally embodied what was best for all theircitizens. Exception was BBC, an independent publiccorporation.
Name of InstitutionAt the very peak of their popularity, mass societynotions came under attack from Lazarsfeld,(1941), anAustrian researcher and scientist. He argued that itwasn’t enough to merely speculate about the influenceof media on society. Instead he proposed conductingcarefully designed, elaborate field experiments in whichhe would be able to observe media influence andmeasure its magnitude.
Name of InstitutionIt was not enough to assume that politicalpropaganda is powerful – hard evidence wasneeded to prove the existence of such effects(Lazarsfeld, Berelson, and Gaudet, 1944).Lazersfeld’s most famous efforts, the “VoterStudies”, actually began as an attempt todemonstrate the media’s power, yet theyproved, at least to him and his colleagues, justthe opposite.
Name of InstitutionBy the early 1950s, Lazerfeld’s work had generated anenormous amount of data based on which he concludedthat media were not nearly as powerful as had beenpreviously imagined.Instead, he found that people had numerous ways ofresisting media influence and were influenced by manycompeting factors. Rather than serving as a disruptivesocial force, media seemed to reinforce existing socialtrends and strengthen the status quo.
Name of InstitutionHe found little evidence to support the worstfears of mass society theorists. ThoughLazarsfeld never labeled his theory, it is nowreferred to as the Limited-effects perspective.These views media as playing a very limited rolein the lives of individuals and larger society.
Important Theories Name of Institution• Two Step flow theory• Lasswell’s Model• Persuasion Theory• Limited Effect Theory
Two-Step Flow Theory Name of Institution• Flow of information takes place in two steps. First from Mass Media to opinion leaders and then from opinion leaders to the mass society.• Media are not so powerful because there are resistance to their messages. Resistance is based on psychological individual traits & crucial role is played by• Opinion Leaders• Social Context
Persuasion Theory Name of Institution• Subtle change in the attitude of the receiver.• Any form of persuasive communication changes the attitude of the receiver. Attitude on the other hand changes the behavior .
Lasswell’s Model Name of Institution• It is a five step process.• Who says (Source)• What (Message)• In which channel (Media)• To Whom (Receiver)• With What effect (Feedback)
Limited Effects Theory Name of Institution• Explained in Slide No- 4-7. Refer to Previous slides.• Basically, Paul Lazersfeld experiment on Voting Behaviour. He explained that the role of media in deciding the voting behavior is limited.• 3 steps followed by him are…• Contd…..
3 Steps by Lazersfeld Name of Institution• 1. Activate floating voters to take a decision• 2. Reinforce the preference in convinced voters.• 3. Convert convinced voters to switch their preference.• Conclusion- He concluded that media had some kind of influence only at step 2.
Name of Institution Era of limited effects (1950-60s)During the 1950s, limited-effects notions about mediacontinued to gain acceptance within academia. Severalimportant clashes occurred between their adherents andthose who supported mass society ideas (Bauer andBauer, 1960).In 1960, several classic studies of media effects providedapparently definitive support for the limited-effectsnotions.
Name of InstitutionBy 1961, V.O. Key had published Public Opinion and AmericanDemocracy, a theoretical and methodological tour de force thatintegrated limited-effects notions with social and political theory tocreate a perspective that is now known as elite pluralism. Thistheory views society as a number of interlocking pluralistic groupsled by opinion leaders who rely on media for information aboutpolitics and social world.Advocates of mass society notions came under increasing attack as“unscientific” or “irrational” because they questioned “hardscientific findings”.
Name of InstitutionBy the mid-1960s, the debate between mass society and limited-effects notions appeared to be over – at least within the masscommunication research community.The body of empirical research findings continued to grow, andalmost all these findings were consistent with the latter view.Little or empirical research supported mass society theory. Thiswas not surprising because most empirical researchers trained atthis time were warned against its fallacies.
Important Theories Name of Institution• Play Theory• Uses & Gratification Theory• Agenda Setting Theory• Dependency Theory• Dissonance Theory
Play Theory Name of Institution• Given by William Stephenson• First function of media is to provide entertainment• He said that one should be subjective and psychological rather than being objective and sociological• 2 points to explain play theory..• A) Maximize the communication pleasure in this world• B) Show the extent of autonomy achievable from an individual respect to the social control by his socio-cultural system.
Uses & Gratification Theory of Institution Name• “What the media do to the people, to what the people do with the media”• USES- It assumes that audiences are active and willingly expose themselves to the media• GRATIFICATION- It refers to the rewards & satisfaction by audience after the use of media.
Agenda Setting Theory Name of Institution• Given by Maxwell Mc Combs & Don Shaw• It states that media have the ability to advise or tell audiences what issues are major & relevant, thus setting the agenda. They can achieve this by choosing what stories to consider newsworthy and how much prominence and space they give them.• Key Features• 1. The role of mass media, particularly news media is to provide filtered information in order to create a distorted view of reality.• 2. Media focus on certain issues depicting them as more important than others because they want the public opinion to perceive them as more important.
Dependency Theory Name of Institution• Integral relationship between audience, media & larger social system• Learning from experiences in real life is limited• Audience depend largely on media to gather information they need• Prolonged use of media triggers a dependence
Dissonance Theory Name of Institution• When confronted by new/conflicting information, people experiences a kind of mental discomfort.• The level of dissonance is decided by 3 factors…• A. Selective Exposure• B. Selective Perception• C. Selective Retention
Name of InstitutionEra of cultural criticism (1960s-1980s)Though most mass communication researchers in the United States foundlimited-effects notions and empirical research findings on which they werebased persuasive, researchers in other parts of the world were less convinced.Mass society notions continued to flourish in Europe, where both left-wingand right-wing concerns about the power of media were deeply rooted inWorld War II experiences with propaganda. Europeans were also skepticalabout the power of scientific, quantitative social research methods to verifyand develop social theory (they saw them as reductionist – reducing complexcommunication processes and social phenomena to little more than narrowpropositions generated from small-scale investigations). This reductionismwas widely viewed as a distinctly American fetish. Some European academicswere resentful of the influence enjoyed by American after World War II. Theyargued that American empiricism was both simplistic and intellectually sterile.Although some European academics welcomed and championed Americanideas, other strongly resisted them and argued for maintaining approachesconsidered less biased or more traditionally European.
Name of InstitutionOne group of European social theorists who vehemently resistedpostwar U.S. influence was the neo-Marxists (Hall,1982). Theseleft-wing social theorists believe that media enable dominantsocial elites to maintain their power. Media provide the elite witha convenient, subtle, yet highly effective means of promotingworldviews favorable to their interests. Mass media can beviewed, they argue as a public arena in which cultural battles arefought and a dominant or hegemonic culture is forged. Elitesdominate these struggles because they start with importantadvantages. Opposition is marginalized, and the status quo ispresented as the only logical, rational way of structuring society.Within neo-Marxist theory, efforts to examine media institutionsand interpret media content came to have high priority.
Name of InstitutionDuring the 1970s, questions about the possibility of powerful media effectswere again raised within U.S. universities.Initially, these questions were often advanced by scholars in the humanitieswho were unrestrained by the limited effects perspective and untrained in thescientific method. Their arguments were routinely ignored and marginalizedby social scientists because they were unsupported by “scientific evidence.”Some of these scholars were attracted to European-style cultural criticism.Others attempted to create an “authentic” American school of cultural studies– though they drew heavily on Canadian scholars like Harold Innis andMarshall McLuhan (Carey, 1977).This cultural criticism, although initially greeted with considerableskepticism by “mainstream” effects researchers, gradually established itselfas a credible and valuable alternative to limited-effects notions.
Cultivation Theory Name of Institution• The Cultivation Theory is a mass communication theory that suggests a shaping - cultivating - cumulative long-term effect of TV media on the social reality of viewers. Origin of Cultivation Theory• The Cultivation Theory has been developed by professor George Gerbner from Annenberg School of Communications of Philadelphia, US, in 1967-1974. He was conducting research called “Cultural Indicators Program” about the impact of violence broadcasted in TV programs on individuals.
Cultivation Theory Name of Institution• His early hypothesis aimed to demonstrate that a massive use of media leads to an increase in acceptance of violence and in the engagement of cruel behaviors. Gerbner started considering TV as a new social agent competing with traditional ones such as family, school, church and peer groups. Analyzing TV programs, especially fictions, he divided audiences in 3 groups:• Low Users, those who watch TV less than 2 hours a day.• Normal Users, those who watch TV from 2 to 6 hours a day.• Heavy Users, those who watch TV for more than 6 hours a day.