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Chapter07

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Sociology, A brief introduction: Schaefer (5e)

Sociology, A brief introduction: Schaefer (5e)

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  • 1.  
  • 2. 7 THE MASS MEDIA
  • 3. Chapter Outline
    • Sociological Perspectives of the Media
    • The Audience
    • The Media Industry
    • Social Policy and Mass Media: Media Violence
  • 4. Sociological Perspective of the Media Figure 7.1: Rise of the Mass Media Source: Author’s calculations based on Bureau of Census, 1975: 43, 783, 796; 2000a: 567: Newburger 2001; Television Bureau of Advertisers 2001
  • 5. Sociological Perspective of the Media
    • Agent of Socialization
      • --The media increases social cohesion by presenting a more or less standardized common view of culture through mass communication.
      • --Mass media provides a collective experience for members of a society.
      • -- “The Internet has become for many the public commons, a place where they can come together and talk.” (Miller and Darlington 2002)
    • Functionalist View
  • 6. Sociological Perspective of the Media
    • The most obvious function of mass media is to entertain.
    • While this is true, we may be overlooking other important functions of mass media.
    • Functionalist View
  • 7. Sociological Perspective of the Media
    • Enforcer of Social Norms
    • --The media often reaffirms proper behavior by showing what happens to people who act in a way that violates societal expectations.
    • --The media plays a critical role in shaping perceptions about the risks of substance use, although not necessarily in a positive fashion.
    • Functionalist View
  • 8. Sociological Perspective of the Media
    • Conferral of Status
      • --The mass media confers status on people, organizations, and public issues.
      • --The media singles out one from thousands of other similarly placed issues or people to become significant.
    • Functionalist View
  • 9. Sociological Perspective of the Media Table 7.1: Status Conferred by Magazines
  • 10. Sociological Perspective of the Media
    • Surveillance of the Social Environment
      • --The surveillance function refers to the collection and distribution of information concerning events in the social environment.
      • --The media collect and distribute facts about a variety of events and generally define what “constitutes a fact” to be reported.
      • --In defining events to be reported, the media reflects the values and orientation of the decision makers within media organizations.
    • Functionalist View
  • 11. Sociological Perspective of the Media
    • Dysfunctional Media: The Narcotizing Effect
      • -- Narcotizing dysfunction : the phenomenon whereby the media provide such massive amounts of information that the audience becomes numb and generally fails to act on the information.
      • --Interested citizens may take in the information, but they may make no decision or take no action.
    • Functionalist View
  • 12. Sociological Perspective of the Media
    • Conflict theorists emphasize that the media reflect and even exacerbate many of the divisions of our society and world, including those based on gender, race, ethnicity, and social class.
    • They point in particular to the media’s ability to decide what gets transmitted through gatekeeping.
    • Conflict View
  • 13. Sociological Perspective of the Media
    • Gatekeeping
      • --The mass media constitute a form of big business in which profits are generally more important than the quality of the product.
      • --Within the mass media, a relatively small number of people control what material eventually reaches the audience, a process known as gatekeeping .
      • --Gatekeeping is not as dominant in the Internet.
    • Conflict View
  • 14. Sociological Perspective of the Media
    • Dominant Ideology: Constructing Reality
      • --Conflict theorists argue that the mass media serve to maintain the privileges of certain groups.
      • --While protecting their own interests, powerful groups may limit the representation of others in the media.
      • Continued...
    • Conflict View
  • 15. Sociological Perspective of the Media
    • Dominant Ideology: Constructing Reality
      • -- Dominant ideology : the set of cultural beliefs and practices that help to maintain powerful social, economic, and political interests.
      • --The media transmit messages that virtually define what we regard as the real world, even though these images are frequently at wide variance from the larger society.
      • --Stereotypes: False images of a particular group that become accepted as accurate portrayals of reality.
    • Conflict View
  • 16. Sociological Perspective of the Media
    • Dominant Ideology: Whose Culture?
      • --Globalization projects the dominating reach of the U.S. media into the rest of the world.
      • --These media-cultural exports undermine the distinctive traditions and art forms of other societies and encourage their cultural and economic dependence on the United States.
    • Conflict View
  • 17. Sociological Perspective of the Media
    • Feminists continue the argument advanced by conflict theorists that the mass media stereotype and misrepresent social reality.
    • The media are a powerful influence on how we look at men and women, and, according to this view, their images of the sexes communicate unrealistic, stereotypical, and limiting perceptions.
    • Feminist View
  • 18. Sociological Perspective of the Media
    • Three Problems Arising From Media Coverage :
      • Women are underrepresented
      • Men and women are portrayed in ways that reflect and perpetuate stereotypical views of gender
      • Depictions of male-female relationships emphasize traditional sex roles and normalize violence against women
    • Feminist View
  • 19. Sociological Perspective of the Media
    • Interactionists are especially interested in shared understandings of everyday behavior.
    • They examine the media on the microlevel to see how they shape day-to-day social behavior.
    • Scholars increasingly point to the mass media as the source of major daily activity.
    • The interactionist perspective also helps us to understand more about one important aspect of the entire mass media system—the audience.
    • Interactionist View
  • 20. The Audience
    • Mass media distinguished from other social institutions by the necessary presence of an audience.
    • It can be an identifiable, finite group or a much larger, undefined group.
    • Who is the Audience?
  • 21. The Audience
    • Microsociological view of audience: Considers how audience members interacting among themselves would respond to the media.
    • Macrosociological view of audience: Considers the broader societal consequences of the media.
    • Audiences vary in their composition.
    • Who is the Audience?
  • 22. The Audience
    • The media is increasingly marketing themselves to a particular audience.
    • This specialization is driven by advertising.
    • Members of these audiences are more likely to expect content geared to their own interests.
    • This specialized targeting of audiences has led some scholars to ponder whether there is still a “mass” in mass media.
    • The Segmented Audience
  • 23. The Audience
    • The role of audience members as opinion leaders intrigues social researchers.
    • Opinion leader : someone who, through day-to-day personal contacts and communication, influences the opinions and decisions of others.
    • Audience Behavior
  • 24. The Audience
    • Audience members do not all interpret media in the same way.
    • Their response is often influenced by social characteristics such as occupation, race, education, and income.
    • Audience Behavior
  • 25. The Media Industry
    • A handful of multi-national corporations dominate the publishing, broadcasting, and film industries.
    • Without government intervention, media giants will continue to grow as long as there are benefits to being large.
    • Media Concentration
  • 26. The Media Industry Figure 7.2: Media in Selected Countries
  • 27. The Media Industry
    • Concerns Over Media Concentration:
      • --Is the public interest being best served by the growing concentration of media?
      • --Will innovation and independence decline as media empires grow?
      • --In some countries, gatekeeping is controlled by political leaders who desire to maintain control of the government.
      • --The Internet is a significant exception to the centralization and concentration of media.
    • Media Concentration
  • 28. The Media Industry
    • Mass media has begun to create a global village in terms of communication.
    • Not all countries are equally connected.
    • The media permeate all aspects of everyday life.
    • The Internet is the key to creating a truly global network that reaches into workplaces, schools, and homes.
    • People are concerned that unhealthy influences and even crime are taking place in today’s electronic global village.
    • The Media’s Global Reach
  • 29. The Media Industry Computers and Internet Access in the Home: 1984 to 2000 Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census. 2001. The Population Profile of the United States: 2000 . Figure 10-1. (Internet Release) accessed at http://www.census.gov/population/www/pop-profile/profile2000.html#cont. 1984 1989 1993 1997 1998 2000 8.2 15.0 22.8 36.6 18.0 42.1 26.2 51.0 41.5 Percent of households with a computer Percent of households with Internet access
  • 30. The Media Industry Percent of Children Age 6 to 17 Who Have Computer Access at Home and School by Annual Family Income: August 2000 Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census. 2001. The Population Profile of the United States: 2000 . Figure 10-2. (Internet Release) accessed at http://www.census.gov/population/www/pop-profile/profile2000.html#cont. Home computer access School computer use Total access 94.2 83.5 65.3 34.5 87.3 85.7 79.8 71.7 98.7 96.5 90.0 78.5 $75,000 or more $50,000 to $74,999 $25,000 to $49,999 Less than $25,000 * Among children in families.
  • 31. The Media Industry Adults and Children Using the Internet for a Specific Task: August 2000 Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census. 2001. The Population Profile of the United States: 2000 . Figure 10-3. (Internet Release) accessed at http://www.census.gov/population/www/pop-profile/profile2000.html#cont. Email Information searches News, weather, sports School research or courses Job-related tasks 22.2 32.7 10.0 23.9 6.0 19.6 20.7 9.0 12.5 Percent of children 3 to 17 years Percent of adults 18 years and over
  • 32. Social Policy and Mass media
    • The Issue
      • --What effect does movie and TV violence have on audiences?
      • --Does violence in the media lead people, especially youth, to become more violent?
    • Media Violence
  • 33. Social Policy and Mass media
    • The Setting
      • --We spend a great deal of time with the media.
      • --Does watching hours of mass media with violent images cause one to behave differently?
      • --Some studies have linked exposure to media violence to subsequent aggressive behavior.
      • --It is important to recognize that other factors besides the media are also related to aggressive behavior.
    • Media Violence
  • 34. Social Policy and Mass media
    • Sociological Insights
      • --If the function of media is to entertain, socialize, and enforce social norms, how can violence be a part of that message?
      • --Even if the viewer does not necessarily become more violent from watching violent images, there could be a desensitization taking place.
      • Continued...
    • Media Violence
  • 35. Social Policy and Mass media
    • Sociological Insights
      • --Both conflict and feminist theorists are troubled that the victims depicted in violent imagery are often those who are given less respect in real life: women, children, the poor, racial minorities, citizens of foreign countries, and even the physically disabled.
      • --Interactionists are especially interested in finding out if violence in media may then become a script for real-life behavior.
    • Media Violence
  • 36. Social Policy and Mass media
    • Policy Initiatives
      • --Policymakers have responded to links between violence depicted in the media and real life aggression in two ways:
        • Public statements of support for family-oriented, less violent media content
        • Reluctance to pass laws that could be regarded as censorship.
    • Media Violence

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