Lecture 2: Perspectives of Mass Commmunications


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Lecture 2: Perspectives of Mass Commmunications

  1. 1. Week 2 Lecture Intro to Mass Comm Philip Gan Chee Keat, School of Communication FIC 0114 July 2013 Semester 1
  2. 2. What we are covering today… • Perspectives on Mass Communication • Blog/Vlog Assignment • Individual Assignment 2
  3. 3. Let’s talk about… 1. Based on your current knowledge of mass communication, why should people study this field? 2. Why do you think people would want to go to the cinema to watch movies? 3. Why would anyone want to read a novel? 4. What do you think are the Top 10 Reasons for people to want to listen to music? 5. Why should we tune in to news channels? Put yourselves in the shoes of a CEO, a tourist, and a parent of a teenaged girl. 6. Explain the need for paradigms. What other paradigms are there besides the ones mentioned in the notes? 3
  4. 4. F0114 IMC L2 PERSPECTIVES ON MASS COMMUNICATION (Theories: Functional & Critical/cultural) by Philip Gan Chee Keat School of Communication, Taylor’s University
  5. 5. Learning objectives: •Understand differences between functional/critical approach to studying mass communications •Describe the functions mass media perform for society •Explain uses-and-gratifications analysis •Understand critical/cultural concepts: meaning, hegemony, ideology 5
  6. 6. WHY Do We Study Mass Communication? • People do it for different reasons: – Scholars want to comprehend the process and develop theories to explain and predict how the media operate. – Critics want to know about media’s influences and to suggest improvements to media content. – Media consumers want to evaluate the information presented by the media in order to be used in their daily lives. • In order to study the field, we need to use a paradigm. 6
  7. 7. PARADIGMS • Paradigms are models or thought patterns (approaches for analysing something) guiding us how to think about the mass communication process. • Two relevant paradigms to mass communication processes include: – Functional Approaches – Critical/Cultural Approaches • Paradigms are useful because they: – Provide a perspective to examine mass communication – Generate concepts to understand media behavior – Help identify important elements in the process 7
  8. 8. How different schools analyse the media? Functional analysis How individuals use the media oWhy this movie? Like it? oIdentify with Jake Sully? oWhat have you learnt that is helpful? oYounger vs older audience? How do they “use” the show? million ++ 7 udget $23 B illion (#1) ffice $2.7 b Box o Critical analysis How we interpret the content oWhite supremacist domination in movie? oAnti-war, anti-capitalism & pro8 Green message?
  9. 9. FUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS Why do you use it? • Functional approach: Something is best understood by examining how it is used. – For mass media, this means examining how audiences interact with media and how they use media 9
  10. 10. THE ROLE OF MASS COMMUNICATION • Different media provide different primary uses (roles). Eg. Newspapers=information; CDs=music • Macroanalysis: how media functions for the society as a whole • Microanalysis: how media functions for the individual Usage of mass media for each person is subjective 10
  11. 11. FUNCTIONS OF MASS COMMUNICATION FOR SOCIETY Societal level (Macroanalysis) • Society requires certain communication needs be met: to warn, entertain, tell etc. • Sometimes the consequences of performing these functions by the media could be positive or negative for the welfare of the society. • Dysfunctions: negative consequences. Eg. Sensational gun violence media coverage causes moral panic. 11
  12. 12. 1. Surveillance • Media are sentinels-they take the news & information role. a. Warning, or beware of impending danger • Economic depression, war, food crisis. b. Instrumental, useful/ helpful info for daily function (entertainment media) • • Fashion, new products, weather. Consequences –Speed spreads news fast but also distortions & inaccuracies. –Our trust plummets & media credibility suffers. –Our conception of reality is the editors’/journalists’ interpretation. –Sensational & inaccurate news create anxiety/ moral panic. 12
  13. 13. Example of speed error
  14. 14. 2. Interpretation – Provide meaning & prominence to events. – Media organisations set the agenda. – Editorial columns, reviews, cartoons, readers’ opinion • Consequences – Wide range of contrasting viewpoints – Greater depth of expertise available – No guarantee interpretations are accurate – People become overly dependent on media interpretation=passivity – Weigh all sides before making decision 14
  15. 15. 15
  16. 16. 3. Linkage – Bring together various elements of society that are not directly connected. – Reducing geographical separation – Advertising-“linking” buyers and sellers, Partisan Newspapers –linking people of similar views/ interests – Blogs/ Facebook-linking people to causes & benefits • Consequences – Build new groups or communities – Hate groups or terrorist groups use of Internet – Forging cross-border/international ties between people & various communities 16
  17. 17. 4. Transmission of Values (Socialization) – People adopt behaviors or values of a group – Media portrays society as how it is supposed to be in a perfect/utopian world – Thus, we learn how to act & adopt values/mindsets/attitudes from the media. • Consequences – Media reinforce social values (eg. gender roles, racial profiling) from generation to generation. – E.g. Media mommies, white Westerners saves the day in Hollywood blockbusters 18
  18. 18. 5. Mass media & socialization – Media consciously instill values & behaviour in the audience that are generally accepted by the majority. • Consequences – Stabilise society by creating common bonds – Encourage the status quo (how society functions) by providing selective cultural information – conforming to stereotypes – Enforce social norms (M’sia govt urged to punish male actors for portraying feminine/pondan/effeminate characters on film and TV) – Eg. No smoking, drugs nor drinking; be good to your neighbours, men are macho heroes, females are weak & needs rescuing, women are homemakers • TV and socialization dysfunction – TV has the greatest potential for socialisation but…sometimes not. • Violence as a legitimate way to solve problems • Fearful of general safety in our neighbourhood • Stereotyping races spread fear and hatred. 20
  19. 19. 6. Entertainment – Importance of this function has grown as we have had more leisure time. – Books, motion pictures and sound recordings. – Emergence of mobile technology & internet amplified entertainment. • Consequences – It has become easier to sit back and let others entertain us. – Low brow copycat programmes mushroomed. – Will mass media turn us into a nation of watchers instead of a nation of doers? 22
  20. 20. Copycat & low brow media products
  21. 21. HOW PEOPLE USE MASS MEDIA • Uses-and-gratifications: how people use the media – Individual level (microanalysis) • People have certain needs or desires • Needs satisfied by media and non-media sources • Media-related satisfaction of needs=media gratification 24
  22. 22. – Six categories of media uses, reflecting needs. • Cognition • Diversion – Stimulation – Relaxation – Emotional Release (catharsis) • Social Utility – Conversational Currency – Parasocial Relationships • Affiliation • Expression • Withdrawal 25
  23. 23. Cognition • To know about something (surveillance). Diversion • Stimulation (relief from boredom & daily activities) – Simply to pass time • Relaxation (escape from pressures) – Seek relief from sensory overload • Emotional release – Catharsis (release of pent up emotions/ energy) – Positive effects: identify with the challenges of a movie character; comforted by a tv character with similar problems…felt relieved.
  24. 24. Cognition
  25. 25. Social utility • Media used for strengthening ties with family, friends & others. E.g. – Petronas TV commercials celebrating festivals & Merdeka • Conversational currency-media provide common ground for social conversations. – What did you download from Piratebay? – What movie did you watch? • Parasocial relationship-viewers develop feelings of kinship & relationship with media characters. – My teenage daughter was devastated that Finn Hudson died! – I can’t believe what happened at the Red Wedding! Utterly shocking! – Bob Marley, John Lennon, Che Guevara, Leslie Cheung, Bruce Lee – they remained icons long after their death – We cheer our heroes on, we cry at their pain, we celebrate their triumphs – in TV, in films, in books, even in real life
  26. 26. Affiliation • A sense of belonging & involvement within a social group. • Social network sites & online gaming. Expression • Expressing inner thoughts, feelings & opinion. Withdrawal • To create barrier (buffer zones) between ourselves & other people/ activities.
  27. 27. Conclusion… Content & context (of using media) – Content (of the media) and context (of people) both affect media use: • Why do you go to the movies? For the movie? Dating? • Why do you like to watch McDreamy? – Assumptions of functional approach: • Audiences are actively interacting with the media to satisfy needs. • Mass media competes with other sources of satisfaction. • People are aware of their needs and they rationally choose to consume the media (gauged through surveys). 30
  28. 28. CRITICAL/CULTURAL STUDIES • Very different from the functional approach: – More qualitative; humanistic • Examines different concepts: – Ideology, culture, politics, social structure • as related to the role of media in society 31
  29. 29. HISTORY • 1930s-1940s: The Frankfurt School & Marxism – – – – Who controls the means of production? Capitalists (the haves) control the mass (have-nots) Conform to status quo (capitalism –as a way of life) Those in control will maintain control – Examined and found media industry that exploited the masses: • Glorifies capitalism. • Production in media were standardized; Hollywood focused on banal ideologies: from-rags- to-riches or dream-come-true phenomena (eg. The Social Network movie supports capitalistic ideals of success), instead of movies on the current economic crisis to uncover the greed of capitalists. • This reinforces the status quo (capitalism works). • Frankfurt School criticized for undermining power of the audience (they’re deemed passive). 32
  30. 30. • 1950s-1960s: British cultural studies – Mass media audience are not manipulated by the media. – Audience redefine the products of mass culture, and create new definitions for their own purpose. Eg. Oppa KL Style – Audience were free to resist dominant ideologies/ values embedded in media texts and come-up with their interpretation.
  31. 31. • 1970s-1980s: Varied approaches – Feminist scholars • Patriarchy: Gender-based inequalities of wealth and power; • Eg. Gender inequality in the media – Communication as ritual • Group viewing participation that maintains social bond/stability • Eg. Men gathering at Mamak stalls to watch soccer. – Cultural myths embodied in mass communication • Society’s common themes, heroes and origins. 34
  32. 32. Various media throughout the years has portrayed gender inequality in vastly different ways.
  33. 33. CONCEPTS • Culture: common values, beliefs, rules, social practices and assumptions binding people together. • Text: object of analysis, broadly defined-traditional & non-traditional media content. – Meaning: interpretations of texts. – Polysemic: a text has different meanings to different audiences. • Ideology: deeply imbedded beliefs/ ideas, especially regarding political and social themes. • Hegemony: power relationships & dominance – Control by the dominant is accepted as natural and normal by the dominated. The status quo unquestioned. – How media is used to support power structures. (Utusan/UMNO, The Star/MCA, TV3/BN) – Eg. patriarchy dominance –preference of pretty female newscasters and actresses. 36
  34. 34. How many different type of meanings can you come up with for this image?
  35. 35. Conclusion • Functional and cultural/critical approaches are different – Difference has led to tension among scholars. – Both approaches are valuable. – As mass communication professionals, you have to have the ability to recognise the purpose of content in mass media from both approaches, based on context. 38
  36. 36. Assignment 1 Launch! Please refer to the Assignment 1 Brief posted on Edmodo/TIMeS 39
  37. 37. Blog Assignment Brief Entry No. 1: for both Tutorial 1 & 2 The mass media is a cultural storyteller. Examine one of your favourite television programmes (can be any genre) and discuss the cultural beliefs or values that shapes the ways we think, feel and act. (300words) 1. Explain what do you understand by "the media is a cultural storyteller". (50 words) 2. Discuss at least three beliefs or values from the TV programme that influence the ways people think, feel and act. (200 words) 3. Conclusion: what can we learn about mass media's influence as a cultural storyteller (50 words) 40