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We media’ and democracy – student revision ppt


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Students produced a slide each summarising the opening chapter of Julian McDougall's 'Media Studies: the Basics'

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We media’ and democracy – student revision ppt

  1. 1. ‘We Media’ and Democracy – student revision booklet IDEAS AND PERSPECTIVES ABOUT THE POWER OF THE MEDIA Source: ‘Media Studies: The Basics’ Chapter One.
  2. 2. • Political economy (macro/bigger picture) : Concerned with a factual, institutional understanding of how media is produced and circulated, including ownership, finance, politics, regulations and law. • Ideology (micro/small individual articles): more textual- decoding and deconstructing messages at work in media texts and how these are patterned and structured across texts. You can view the refugee crisis through both macro and micro. Macro would look at who owns the media and who is making the newspapers. This will have its own view based on the person who owns the media. Where as Micro will look at the smaller individual articles that aren’t influenced by big media(usually citizen journalists) and how they are written and what their opinion on the refugee crisis is. There is a dynamic and powerful relationship between the ownership of media productions and the distribution and the dominant ideas that are reinforced in media texts, but this is changing because of the new social media. Powerful Media - Micro and Macro
  3. 3. Tony Benn's five questions What power have you got? How did you get it? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? How do we get rid of you? Benn urges future generations to pose these questions to anyone in power. “The House will forgive me for quoting five democratic questions that I have developed during my life. If one meets a powerful person--Rupert Murdoch, perhaps, or Joe Stalin or Hitler--one can ask five questions: what power do you have; where did you get it; in whose interests do you exercise it; to whom are you accountable; and, how can we get rid of you? Anyone who cannot answer the last of those questions does not live in a democratic system.” Throughout his years as a politician, and later after he retired in 2001, Tony Benn has defended the rights of the people against those of institutions and those who have power because he recognised that on the whole such power is not exercised for the benefit of others but for themselves. The following video reveals Tony Benn at his best accusing the BBC of capitulating to Israeli pressure by refusing to air an appeal on behalf of the people in Gaza under the guise of media impartiality. He goes on to broadcast the appeal address himself not once but twice -- yet again refusing to accept that something cannot be done just because someone in power has deemed that it cannot be. It is just one example of the consistency of his belief, to borrow a phrase, that "Yes we Can!“
  4. 4. Plato’s view of democracy • Plato’s theory for democracy is that there must be different categories of humans. A society functions, and people are actually happier if they ‘know their place’ and stay in it according to Plato. The ruling elite make the decisions which the middle classes will make happen and will inform the lower orders about what is to be done. • Plato wrote about how art was used to distract the lower classes from reality and what was actually happening and how they are being exploited by those in power. • The Matrix and The Truman Show are modern day reworks of what Plato’s views and ideas about democracy were. • Plato essentially said that there should be no such thing as democracy and for things to work, there should be a class system in which the wealthy are at the top or as Plato would describe them ‘elites’ and the least wealthy people would be at the bottom as ‘lower orders’. • Plato believed that not all members of society were capable of making wise decisions. • Plato stated that democracies are anarchic societies without internal unity, that they followed citizens' impulses rather than pursuing the common good, that larger democracies are unable to allow a sufficient number of their citizens to have their voices heard, and that they were typically run by fools.
  5. 5. “Utilitarian Liberty” – John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill opposes the ideas put forward by Plato who suggests that a functioning society should run on denial of freedom where people should be ruled, kept in place and distracted from any questioning of the system. The idea of ‘utilitarian liberty’, as put forward by Mill, is that society should function by providing the highest possible amount of freedom for citizens. This again allows the citizens to determine their own actions up to the point where their actions can be seen to hurt or harm others. This therefore, can be seen as citizens self-fulfilling for as long as they focus on their own freedoms and ideas, adhering to the ‘’self-regarding principle’’ as suggested by Mill. However, it is hard to differentiate when these actions start becoming other-regarding, rather than self- regarding. An example of this is Twitter because you have the freedom of speech however there are rules and regulations which constrict what we say. People have been charged with offences for verbally abusing people online.
  7. 7. • A democratic society is one elected and accountable human beings have the power to make decisions on behalf of, impacting on, the rest of us. • It discusses the idea that in democratic states, people have the freedom and the right to criticise their government if they are unhappy and can demand reform. • Example: MacPherson (1966), statement about the ‘muddle’ of democracy we began with, the Liberal-Democratic state is defined by welfare and regulation. • Questions raised in a liberal democracy include: How much power should one media owner have? What role do they have in holding the government to account? How should they be regulated? • In a communist regime or dictatorship, like China, media will be explicitly controlled by the state to convey their information and view of the world of the masses. An example of conflict that happens between liberal-democracy and the media is that the Metropolitan Police have criticised Panorama for airing an episode about the VIP Paedophile ring. Other people argue that people shouldn’t be accused of being a paedophile without fair trial. The police think that it could prejudice the case. Whereas the BBC believe that questions need to be asked about the investigation.
  8. 8. Marxist Theories of Power By Emily and Charlotte
  9. 9. A state of hegemony is achieved when a provisional alliance of certain social groups exerts a consensus that make the power of the dominant group appear both natural and legitimate. Institutions such as the mass media, the family, the education system and religion , play a key role in the shaping of people’s awareness and consciousness and thus can be agents through which hegemony is constructed, exercised and maintained. (Watson and Hill, 2003:126) People who rule in any society do so not only by controlling the means of production (the ways of making money-in his day this would be land and factories but in our times we can think about Rupert Murdoch, Richard Branson and Bill Gates who own- and are striving to keep control of- the means by which information is exchanged) but also the production of ideas. Marxists say we don’t do very much about the unfair nature of the capitalist system because we are convinced that everyone has the chance to become Alan Sugar, or similar ‘rags to riches’ role model (which is clearly not the case as the system cannot allow everyone to succeed) and because we cannot think of a viable alternative. Althusser was a Marxist who developed this idea by distinguishing between two forms of state control- Repressive Sate Apparatuses- these are physical, ‘concrete’ ways of controlling us- the law, the police, the army and Ideological State Apparatuses- the media, the church, education. The point is simple- you don’t need the RSA if the ISA works. People wont challenge the system if the ISAs are all working to make it seem natural and fair- so the ISAs, including the media, work to create consensus. Gramsci was the Marxist intellectual who developed the idea of hegemony, which we started with, to explain the importance of this constructed consensus. This is a theory of media propaganda which sees the central function of media as being to serve the interests of the powerful who own, control and use media to convey and reinforce their values. In simple terms, theories aim to prove that we are manipulated by those in power- who control the media- to think we are agreeing with dominant ideas, which we come to think of as of our own ideas. A much more recent example of the manufacturing of consent is explored by the Outfoxed documentary which sought to expose the incredible levels if editorial control imposed by Rupert Murdoch on the journalistic practices at work in the US Fox News network. There is distinction between Marx and Marxism which is rather obvious but nonetheless important. Marx’s theories are his own work and Marxist theory is the adaptation and development of his thinking which is still happening today- so we have ‘New Marxism’, ‘Marxist Feminism’ and other variations. Marx himself did not write about ‘the media’, as such but his theories- particularly around ideology, have been applied to media for generations, and will continue to be applied into the future, for sure.
  10. 10. Feminist Theories of Power Feminism is about the questioning of gender norms. It’s argued that femaleness is just a biological, sexual category, whereas femininity is a socially, culturally constructed set of ideas about the female gender and feminism as a political situation. Furthermore, women are still marginalised in the media, including sexist jokes and everyday misogyny, which is easily treated as ‘just banter , exemplified by the use of photo shop within magazine articles and covers. Arguably, media texts undermine gender inequality and reinforce patriarchal ideology as the ‘norm’, while the male culture reinforces its power by defining women in this way and encourages the anxiety which is associated with women recognising the ideal version of themselves. An example which subverts the idea that women get anxiety because they have to recognise the ideal version of themselves, is the latest photoshoot from Demi Lovato. This photoshoot had three rules; no makeup, no clothes and no retouching. This photoshoot exemplifies that not all women need to recognise the ideal version of themselves. If this idea was true, Lovato wouldn’t have said ‘no retouching’ which is common on almost every celebrity photo shoot and magazine cover, as she would have wanted the ‘retouching’, in order to have the idolised, idealistic perfect figure. While it’s true that ‘women are commenting on the waistlines of celebrities’, this photo shoot subverts the idea that all women care about the idealistic ‘waistline’, and therefore if Lovato cared about the social expectations and her figure in the photo’s, ‘retouching’ would have been done in order to adhere to the expectations of society. The idea that ‘the male culture reinforces its power by defining women in this way and encouraging this anxiety’, was exemplified and supported when the photoshoot received comments that she was posing merely for ‘attention’. This suggests that women will feel the ‘anxiety’ due to the pressure of males in society, to be what they want to see, and from women, who want to have someone to look at that has the idealistic figure.
  11. 11. Postmodernist Theories of Power Baudrillard’s idea of ‘hyper reality’ is best described using Disneyland as an example; it is a real place that represents fiction. The media simulates and adapts the media to an almost irrelevant to the original story. They say that there is nothing relatable to the original story due to the changes media makes to the story. Postmodernism is a micro theory as goes into detail about individuals rather than looking at society as a whole. Lyotard argues that there is a differences in the truth of what the media is saying and the reality of the situation. For example, there was a picture of a man compared to an ISIS terrorist that seemingly looked similar; but in reality they are different people. This shows that not all news is truthful.
  12. 12. Dixon (2011) – Politics 2.0 The idea that social networking and e-participation technologies will revolutionalise our ability to follow, support, and influence political campaigns. A new kind of public sphere that might be evidenced so far by online polling, blogs, public opinion for a, whereby ultimately the web itself becomes the medium for political action and activism. <-- Obama hosting a REDDIT AMA (Ask Me Anything) So, Politics 2.0 is the usage of the internet to influence politics. Politicians utilise internet campaigns yr 6t r political videos to virally spread messages and allow technology to increase the support they might receive. Obama also used Twitter as a key medium to launch his 2012 election, All that happens in online discussion of social and political matters is that college-educated professional, established journalists, commentators, politicians, organisations and think-tanks get a boost to their visibility (Hindman 2006: 24) Criticism The internet isn’t a great place for discussions because the majority of people only use the internet for sex, shopping and entertainment. The internet is increasingly being used for surveillance and not the best medium for political debates. I am all for utilising the online medium to its greatest potential and it will give a lot more people the ability to respond to political programmes and force politicians to reply. However, not all people have sufficient access to the internet to have/be included in a debate.
  13. 13. Morozov In 2011, Morozov created a theory that freedom on the internet is an illusion created by those running it and that there are multiple breaches in surveillance, privacy, censorship and authority. He also states that technology has “not only failed to protect people’s rights, but is also used against them by authoritarian regimes.” During the Arab spring uprising, it was widely believed to be started on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter when the truth is, local ‘Big media’ of Iran(Al- Jazeera) are the true origin of the movement. This is an example of Morozov’s quasi-political view that technology and media can lead to or catalyse political change. FREEDOM!!! MOROZO V A somewhat recent news story that supports Morozov’s theory is the CIA ‘whistle blower’ Edward Snowdon who explained that people are constantly being watched. The government are even capable of accessing and controlling a person’s mobile phone even if its turned off. This is a clear demonstration of how freedom is just an illusion.
  14. 14. Media Regulation • Regulating media is necessary in terms of reducing influence and effects, and can be regulated in terms of its content or ownership and distribution. • Media regulation seek to protect people and members of the public who feel that regulations have been infringed can turn to press complaints commission. • Infringements include distinguishing between fact and comment, privacy, harassment, misrepresentation, intrusion, the protection of children. • However, PCC is often called the weak body due to the fact that some newspapers perpetuate the practice of ‘publish and be damned because they know they have far more money than the people who would be suing them • This way of working is described as power without responsibility.
  15. 15. Critical Discourse • Fairclough: “the link between texts and society/culture is seen as mediated by discourse practices” • Fairclough explains using key theories about discourse from Bourdieu and Foucault, that politicians use certain phrases in their speech to create ‘orders of discourse’ or in other words a way in which they create ‘the norm’ in a particular field. They do this to make us see things in a particular point of view or more importantly in their point of view. An example of where this is done regularly is in news journalism, politicians use the word migration instead refugees because they want us to see a certain point of view or perspective on a matter. Because the word migration makes us take the perspective that they are here to take jobs and are making the country worse, whereas refugees makes us sympathise and therefore it shows how politicians are clever in the language they use. How many people…* Understood Didn’t understand Hate pie charts *may not be accurate
  16. 16. Curtis & BuckinghamIn the mass democracies of the West and new ideology has risen up. We have come to believe that the old hierarchies of power can be replaced by self-organising networks. (Curtis, BBC2, 30.5.11) • The increase in social media use can result in ordinary individuals gaining more popularity from their news production causing their stories to become more popular and overtake big media and their power. • In todays society due to web 2.0 and 3.0 people are now able to access big news stories before the big companies are, resulting in the public getting the story out quicker, persuading others to read their view. – Media as a source of confusion To a large extent, the most active participants in the creative world of web 2.0 are the ‘usual suspects’. Indeed, if online participation is as socially, culturally and politically important as the enthusiasts suggest, it seems likely that, far from liquidating social inequality, it might actually accentuate it. (Buckingham, 2010b: 6) • Usually the most popular and highly read social media pages are sourced from big media companies such as BBC or SKY anyway, so the use of social media for news stories doesn’t enhance ordinary individuals news projection, but instead, increases the ways in which large businesses can project their news to new audiences. • The public are more likely to follow a trusted source such as BBC or SKY on social media due to the reliability of their news stories, enhancing big companies popularity.
  17. 17. Cultural Imperialism • An element of post-colonial theory which looks at how powerful empires or countries do not occupy others in the same way as before but instead influence thinking through culture and media • Schiller (19997) talks about a state of ‘cultural homogenization’ – the McDonalds effect (the same American food on offer in every city) is replicated in culture and in media representations. • A more complex issue is how such cultural dominance then becomes the creator or representations of the ‘other’. Think about how Muslims are represented in some films now or, in older films, Russians. There is then a debate to be had as to whether this influences our view of different groups. • This can be seen in the dominance of American films in our cinemas. On one level it is a political economy issue, most of the big cinema chains and film production houses have more economic power and so the films will be bigger budgets and their vertical business models help distribution etc. • An example of this on TV could be the news representations of US presidents or music stars – are they ‘sold’ to us as the superior product?
  18. 18. Talent TV and Democracy: Technological advances in television, has as the theorist Helsby (2010) states led to the rise of “celebrity culture,” which has now become “the zeitgeist (spirit)” of modern times. Different people have capitalised on this interest such as Simon Cowell and Alan Sugar. Depending on people’s views, this creation of Talent TV in the form of programmes such as ‘The X Factor’ and ‘The Apprentice’ has resulted in a debate which argues whether they are democratic or not. Reasons it could be considered democratic is because anyone has the chance to enter these shows. Viewers are attracted to this as they can view normal people taking part to become well known which creates the ideal that anyone can achieve their dreams. Viewing celebrities taking part in these types of shows such as ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’ further attracts viewers. They’re also argued to be democratic and further attractive because people have the opportunity to vote for who they want and are allowed to share their opinions. However, as Laughey (2007) states, Talent TV can be argued as not democratic because it “serves the ideological interests of economic and political powers,” such as Simon Cowell. Instead, many believe talent shows can be fixed to suit the views and choices of those in control. People such as Marxists believe shows which promote competition may seem entertaining, but instead create a false consciousness which legitimise the hierarchal structures of the shows and instead promote capitalism which weakens the working and lower classes. Amber and Calum.
  19. 19. Power and Globalisation Global media is a relationship between ‘state power’ and the communication across the borders. This can be where the government regulates what the public can have access to. This can happen in countries which are in a dictatorship like North Korea where they have no access to the internet or any outside influence. Global media is always the subject of debate, between three main points – people power, ideological power and corporate power. Ideas can be spread over the world by virtual invasion, such as the influence of American ways of life. For example people expect there to be a McDonalds or Starbucks to be in every town. With media globalisation there is a shrinkage of the world for everyone has better access to everything. This also makes a cultural hybrid for people from some countries start to take on the culture of another, such as the influence of America is Japan and other Asian countries. Google is a global power with last years(2014) searches world wide rounded to 2,095,100,000,000. This shows the power they have world wide for do we use any other search browser?