Chapter07

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Sociology, A brief introduction: Schaefer (5e)

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Chapter07

  1. 2. 7 THE MASS MEDIA
  2. 3. Chapter Outline <ul><li>Sociological Perspectives of the Media </li></ul><ul><li>The Audience </li></ul><ul><li>The Media Industry </li></ul><ul><li>Social Policy and Mass Media: Media Violence </li></ul>
  3. 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
  4. 5. Sociological Perspective of the Media <ul><li>Agent of Socialization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>--The media increases social cohesion by presenting a more or less standardized common view of culture through mass communication. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--Mass media provides a collective experience for members of a society. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-- “The Internet has become for many the public commons, a place where they can come together and talk.” (Miller and Darlington 2002) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Functionalist View </li></ul>
  5. 6. Sociological Perspective of the Media <ul><li>The most obvious function of mass media is to entertain. </li></ul><ul><li>While this is true, we may be overlooking other important functions of mass media. </li></ul><ul><li>Functionalist View </li></ul>
  6. 7. Sociological Perspective of the Media <ul><li>Enforcer of Social Norms </li></ul><ul><li>--The media often reaffirms proper behavior by showing what happens to people who act in a way that violates societal expectations. </li></ul><ul><li>--The media plays a critical role in shaping perceptions about the risks of substance use, although not necessarily in a positive fashion. </li></ul><ul><li>Functionalist View </li></ul>
  7. 8. Sociological Perspective of the Media <ul><li>Conferral of Status </li></ul><ul><ul><li>--The mass media confers status on people, organizations, and public issues. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--The media singles out one from thousands of other similarly placed issues or people to become significant. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Functionalist View </li></ul>
  8. 9. Sociological Perspective of the Media Table 7.1: Status Conferred by Magazines
  9. 10. Sociological Perspective of the Media <ul><li>Surveillance of the Social Environment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>--The surveillance function refers to the collection and distribution of information concerning events in the social environment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--The media collect and distribute facts about a variety of events and generally define what “constitutes a fact” to be reported. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--In defining events to be reported, the media reflects the values and orientation of the decision makers within media organizations. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Functionalist View </li></ul>
  10. 11. Sociological Perspective of the Media <ul><li>Dysfunctional Media: The Narcotizing Effect </li></ul><ul><ul><li>-- 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. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--Interested citizens may take in the information, but they may make no decision or take no action. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Functionalist View </li></ul>
  11. 12. Sociological Perspective of the Media <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>They point in particular to the media’s ability to decide what gets transmitted through gatekeeping. </li></ul><ul><li>Conflict View </li></ul>
  12. 13. Sociological Perspective of the Media <ul><li>Gatekeeping </li></ul><ul><ul><li>--The mass media constitute a form of big business in which profits are generally more important than the quality of the product. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--Within the mass media, a relatively small number of people control what material eventually reaches the audience, a process known as gatekeeping . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--Gatekeeping is not as dominant in the Internet. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conflict View </li></ul>
  13. 14. Sociological Perspective of the Media <ul><li>Dominant Ideology: Constructing Reality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>--Conflict theorists argue that the mass media serve to maintain the privileges of certain groups. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--While protecting their own interests, powerful groups may limit the representation of others in the media. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Continued... </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conflict View </li></ul>
  14. 15. Sociological Perspective of the Media <ul><li>Dominant Ideology: Constructing Reality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>-- Dominant ideology : the set of cultural beliefs and practices that help to maintain powerful social, economic, and political interests. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--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. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--Stereotypes: False images of a particular group that become accepted as accurate portrayals of reality. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conflict View </li></ul>
  15. 16. Sociological Perspective of the Media <ul><li>Dominant Ideology: Whose Culture? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>--Globalization projects the dominating reach of the U.S. media into the rest of the world. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--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. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conflict View </li></ul>
  16. 17. Sociological Perspective of the Media <ul><li>Feminists continue the argument advanced by conflict theorists that the mass media stereotype and misrepresent social reality. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>Feminist View </li></ul>
  17. 18. Sociological Perspective of the Media <ul><li>Three Problems Arising From Media Coverage : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Women are underrepresented </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Men and women are portrayed in ways that reflect and perpetuate stereotypical views of gender </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Depictions of male-female relationships emphasize traditional sex roles and normalize violence against women </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Feminist View </li></ul>
  18. 19. Sociological Perspective of the Media <ul><li>Interactionists are especially interested in shared understandings of everyday behavior. </li></ul><ul><li>They examine the media on the microlevel to see how they shape day-to-day social behavior. </li></ul><ul><li>Scholars increasingly point to the mass media as the source of major daily activity. </li></ul><ul><li>The interactionist perspective also helps us to understand more about one important aspect of the entire mass media system—the audience. </li></ul><ul><li>Interactionist View </li></ul>
  19. 20. The Audience <ul><li>Mass media distinguished from other social institutions by the necessary presence of an audience. </li></ul><ul><li>It can be an identifiable, finite group or a much larger, undefined group. </li></ul><ul><li>Who is the Audience? </li></ul>
  20. 21. The Audience <ul><li>Microsociological view of audience: Considers how audience members interacting among themselves would respond to the media. </li></ul><ul><li>Macrosociological view of audience: Considers the broader societal consequences of the media. </li></ul><ul><li>Audiences vary in their composition. </li></ul><ul><li>Who is the Audience? </li></ul>
  21. 22. The Audience <ul><li>The media is increasingly marketing themselves to a particular audience. </li></ul><ul><li>This specialization is driven by advertising. </li></ul><ul><li>Members of these audiences are more likely to expect content geared to their own interests. </li></ul><ul><li>This specialized targeting of audiences has led some scholars to ponder whether there is still a “mass” in mass media. </li></ul><ul><li>The Segmented Audience </li></ul>
  22. 23. The Audience <ul><li>The role of audience members as opinion leaders intrigues social researchers. </li></ul><ul><li>Opinion leader : someone who, through day-to-day personal contacts and communication, influences the opinions and decisions of others. </li></ul><ul><li>Audience Behavior </li></ul>
  23. 24. The Audience <ul><li>Audience members do not all interpret media in the same way. </li></ul><ul><li>Their response is often influenced by social characteristics such as occupation, race, education, and income. </li></ul><ul><li>Audience Behavior </li></ul>
  24. 25. The Media Industry <ul><li>A handful of multi-national corporations dominate the publishing, broadcasting, and film industries. </li></ul><ul><li>Without government intervention, media giants will continue to grow as long as there are benefits to being large. </li></ul><ul><li>Media Concentration </li></ul>
  25. 26. The Media Industry Figure 7.2: Media in Selected Countries
  26. 27. The Media Industry <ul><li>Concerns Over Media Concentration: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>--Is the public interest being best served by the growing concentration of media? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--Will innovation and independence decline as media empires grow? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--In some countries, gatekeeping is controlled by political leaders who desire to maintain control of the government. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--The Internet is a significant exception to the centralization and concentration of media. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Media Concentration </li></ul>
  27. 28. The Media Industry <ul><li>Mass media has begun to create a global village in terms of communication. </li></ul><ul><li>Not all countries are equally connected. </li></ul><ul><li>The media permeate all aspects of everyday life. </li></ul><ul><li>The Internet is the key to creating a truly global network that reaches into workplaces, schools, and homes. </li></ul><ul><li>People are concerned that unhealthy influences and even crime are taking place in today’s electronic global village. </li></ul><ul><li>The Media’s Global Reach </li></ul>
  28. 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
  29. 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.
  30. 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
  31. 32. Social Policy and Mass media <ul><li>The Issue </li></ul><ul><ul><li>--What effect does movie and TV violence have on audiences? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--Does violence in the media lead people, especially youth, to become more violent? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Media Violence </li></ul>
  32. 33. Social Policy and Mass media <ul><li>The Setting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>--We spend a great deal of time with the media. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--Does watching hours of mass media with violent images cause one to behave differently? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--Some studies have linked exposure to media violence to subsequent aggressive behavior. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--It is important to recognize that other factors besides the media are also related to aggressive behavior. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Media Violence </li></ul>
  33. 34. Social Policy and Mass media <ul><li>Sociological Insights </li></ul><ul><ul><li>--If the function of media is to entertain, socialize, and enforce social norms, how can violence be a part of that message? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--Even if the viewer does not necessarily become more violent from watching violent images, there could be a desensitization taking place. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Continued... </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Media Violence </li></ul>
  34. 35. Social Policy and Mass media <ul><li>Sociological Insights </li></ul><ul><ul><li>--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. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--Interactionists are especially interested in finding out if violence in media may then become a script for real-life behavior. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Media Violence </li></ul>
  35. 36. Social Policy and Mass media <ul><li>Policy Initiatives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>--Policymakers have responded to links between violence depicted in the media and real life aggression in two ways: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Public statements of support for family-oriented, less violent media content </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reluctance to pass laws that could be regarded as censorship. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Media Violence </li></ul>

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