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The Sociology of Mass Media
An introduction to the
neo-Marxist perspective
Neo-Marxism reviewed…
• A late-modern interpretation/adaptation of traditional Marxism
(left) traditional Marxism’s
infras...
.
• Chance (randomness), and individual autonomy (freedom of action)
mean there

much in the superstructure doesn’t

marke...
.
- Social class/identity as not solely, directly based on economic capital;

cultural capital associated with the lifesty...
.
•

much overlap between cultures, and
the

alternatives to

dominant ideology (Williams, R. 1961)
.

• Individuals often deliberately counter the dominant ideologies…
(although even this can be viewed sociologically as h...
.
• Individuals do experience a false consciousness- they are blinded to
the reality of their own experience by a ruling-c...
.
• Alongside its less structuralist outlook, less based on some idea of a

deliberate, ingenious and
secretive scheme of ...
.
Neo-Marxism and the Mass
Media
The Glasgow University
Media Group
.
Neo-Marxism: less emphasis on a
deliberate, planned “logic of capitalism” in
explaining content and effect
Rather, domin...
.
The G. U. M. G. influenced by Frankfurt
scholars e.g. Adorno, who referred to the
culture industry as the automatic resu...
.
.
Cultural hegemony of
the ruling groups is
. maintained
(below) White, middle-class, male:
cultural hegemony
The culture ...
.
The masses are being duped by white,
middle-class male advertisers, journalists,
editors, producers etc …. But this is t...
•

. that the 2006 Sutton
The GUMG point out
Trust report found that journalists, editors
and advertising chiefs were +50%...
• GUMG ask: is this healthy for society?

.

• Journalists and broadcasters tend to hold
centre-right/centre-left views;
u...
.
• Those who hold further-left/right views seen as
“extremists” and given as much airtime/column
inches
• That which is b...
.

Journalistic consensus and
agenda setting
Inoffensive value consensus of journs. and broadcasters dictates which
issues...
Declining role of public service
broadcasting
• GUMG argue that state-owned media e.g. BBC is
lowering its standards; more...
The sociology of mass media: Introduction to neo-Marxism; The Glasgow University Media Group
The sociology of mass media: Introduction to neo-Marxism; The Glasgow University Media Group
The sociology of mass media: Introduction to neo-Marxism; The Glasgow University Media Group
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The sociology of mass media: Introduction to neo-Marxism; The Glasgow University Media Group

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The sociology of mass media: Introduction to neo-Marxism; The Glasgow University Media Group

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The sociology of mass media: Introduction to neo-Marxism; The Glasgow University Media Group

  1. 1. The Sociology of Mass Media An introduction to the neo-Marxist perspective
  2. 2. Neo-Marxism reviewed… • A late-modern interpretation/adaptation of traditional Marxism (left) traditional Marxism’s infrastructure-superstructure model of economy and culture • Cultural superstructure still loosely based on the “guiding string” (Williams, R. 1961) of economic infrastructure (base)
  3. 3. . • Chance (randomness), and individual autonomy (freedom of action) mean there much in the superstructure doesn’t market position or economic class correspond to individual/groups’  see Williams, R. (1961) quote p735
  4. 4. . - Social class/identity as not solely, directly based on economic capital; cultural capital associated with the lifestyle habitus of social groups makes things more complex (Bourdieu, P. 1984)
  5. 5. . • much overlap between cultures, and the alternatives to dominant ideology (Williams, R. 1961)
  6. 6. . • Individuals often deliberately counter the dominant ideologies… (although even this can be viewed sociologically as having a procapitalist function) (Willis, P. 1986)
  7. 7. . • Individuals do experience a false consciousness- they are blinded to the reality of their own experience by a ruling-class dominated cultural superstructure and dominant ideology…but they also semiaware of this reality, and sometimes choose whether to live by it or …dual consciousness not Gramsci, A. (1971)
  8. 8. . • Alongside its less structuralist outlook, less based on some idea of a deliberate, ingenious and secretive scheme of the ruling classes; rather the unfair, exploitative reality as largely unplanned  inevitable result of free individual actions in the capitalist marketplace (Left) Ne0-Marxism avoids “conspiracy-based” grand-plan theory
  9. 9. .
  10. 10. Neo-Marxism and the Mass Media The Glasgow University Media Group
  11. 11. . Neo-Marxism: less emphasis on a deliberate, planned “logic of capitalism” in explaining content and effect Rather, dominant ideology is reproduced naturally; the pursuit of economic interests
  12. 12. . The G. U. M. G. influenced by Frankfurt scholars e.g. Adorno, who referred to the culture industry as the automatic result of capitalism
  13. 13. .
  14. 14. . Cultural hegemony of the ruling groups is . maintained (below) White, middle-class, male: cultural hegemony The culture industry reflects the interests of the dominant groups; and largely ignores less empowered groups
  15. 15. . The masses are being duped by white, middle-class male advertisers, journalists, editors, producers etc …. But this is to maximize audiences and revenues; not at the request of governments
  16. 16. • . that the 2006 Sutton The GUMG point out Trust report found that journalists, editors and advertising chiefs were +50% privately educated… • …in a country where only 7% are • Of the “top 100” journalists, 54% privately educated (up from 49% in 1986)
  17. 17. • GUMG ask: is this healthy for society? . • Journalists and broadcasters tend to hold centre-right/centre-left views; unthreatening to the status quo (but still interesting enough to sell)
  18. 18. . • Those who hold further-left/right views seen as “extremists” and given as much airtime/column inches • That which is broadcast is often criticized or ridiculed
  19. 19. . Journalistic consensus and agenda setting Inoffensive value consensus of journs. and broadcasters dictates which issues to address and avoid The GUMG says this creates a too-narrow field of discussion; ignoring the “real issues” or clouding our vision of them Viewers more likely to be made angry by events in a soap opera or football match than about poverty or exploitation
  20. 20. Declining role of public service broadcasting • GUMG argue that state-owned media e.g. BBC is lowering its standards; more commercialized and populist • Largest audiences achieved by finding the lowest common denominator in terms on content • This means more soap operas, reality Tvand sport…less hard-hitting documentaries and case studies

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