media processes and influences summary by 25WhYR


									Summary Chapters 1-5 – Mid-Term MP&1

Chapter 1

Fundamental questions to ask whilst studying mass media:

   1.   Who owns the media – and why does this matter?
   2.   How are media products created?
   3.   What should be government’s relation to regulating the media?
   4.   Why are some images and ideas so prevalent in the mass media, while others are
   5.   How has growth in mass media influenced the political process?
   6.   What impact are mass media having on our society and on our world?
   7.   How do people use and interpret the mass media?
   8.   How do new media technologies develop, and hat is the effect or technological
   9.   What is the significance of the increasing globalisation of mass media

Multi-tasking: using more than one form of media at a time

Reader: another term for receiver or audience that implies that people actively interpret the
media messages they receive – implies that people interpret messages in their own way, and
therefore everyone acknowledges a message differently.

“Social construction of reality”: the process of actively creating meaning of observations

Different forms of mass media:

   1. Print medium: books, newspapers and pamphlets – aims to reach a large audience
      from a distance – limitation: needs physical distribution
   2. Sound recording: phonograph  LP cassette  CD  MP3
   3. Film medium:
      “moving pictures”  cinema  “talking pictures”  VCR  home videos  DVD
   4. Broadcast medium: radio – no physical distribution needed, television – development
      of broadcasting fundamentally changed patterns of media consumption: made it more
      privatised and individualised media experience
   5. “New” Media: technological innovation: cable TV, satellites, Internet – caused
      ‘narrowcasting’: a move away from the mass broadcast audience toward smaller, more
      specialised niche populations (demassification)

Media & Society:

    Sociology: suggests we need to look at the relationships between media and the social
     world (both micro and macro) in order to understand the media and its impact on our
     society – seeing the connections between private troubles and public issues
    Mass Media in socialisation: the process whereby we learn and internalise the values,
     beliefs and norms of our culture and, in doing so, develop a sense of self.
    It also teaches us to perform our social roles (e.g. as friend, student, citizen, etc.)
    The process of socialisation continues throughout life, but it is especially influential
     for children and adolescents
    We become aware of our learned nature of our beliefs, when someone (or other
     cultural group) contradicts them, calls them into question, or when we travel abroad
     and experience a different culture (= culture shock)
    Social institutions (family, peers, school) have the responsibility to promote
    In contemporary society, the mass media serve as a powerful socialising agent (e.g.
     news broadcasting, media reports)
    Mass Media in social relations: media does not only play an important role in almost
     all aspects of our daily lives, but it also affects how we learn about our world and
     interact with others – our views on life and our knowledge are influenced/based by
     what we have been told by the media, not by experience
    Not only are we dependent on the media for what we know, but the media also
     influences how we relate to what we know
    Media are often also part of our most routine relationships (e.g. with family, friends
    Media most often act as the bridge between people’s private lives and their relation to
     the public world

The importance of social relations

    Our sense of identity and individuality emerges from our social interaction with
     others/society (e.g. education, norms, values, ‘looking-glass self’, etc.)
    Sociology teaches us, that if you want to understand people’s actions, you must
     consider the larger social context in which they occur
    All social relations are characterised by a tension between structure and agency
    Three types of social relations:
            1. Relationships between institutions: the interactions between the media
                 industry and the government, for example
            2. Relationships without an institution: involves the interaction of individuals
                 occupying their institutional roles and positions – e.g. the relationship
                 between a screenwriter and the manager
            3. Relationships between institutions and individuals: who are always part of
                 larger social groups – e.g. the use of media products by audiences/readers

Structural Constraint & Human Agency

    Structure suggests constraint on human action – agency indicates independent action
    Structure:
            - Any recurring pattern of social behaviour (not physical)
             -   Often limits the options of many people (e.g. traditional family structure
                 included women working at home – made it difficult for them to pursue a
    Agency: Intentional and undetermined human action
    While structure constrains agency, it is human agency than maintain and alters social
     structures (e.g. women began to demand the right for equality)
    Structure and agency in the media:
             1. Relationships between institutions: how does the media industry influence
                 non-medial social structures? How do non-medial social structures (e.g.
                 government, economy), affect the media industry?
             2. Relationships without an institution: How does the structure of the media
                 industry affect media personnel (and indirectly media products)? How
                 much do media personnel influence the media products (and indirectly the
                 media industry)?
             3. Relationships between institutions and individuals: How do the mass media
                 influence the readers (audience) of media messages? How do readers
                 interpret and use media messages?

Relationships between the media and other social institutions:

             -    includes the social, economic and political contexts in which media exists
             -   Institutions outside the control of media personnel set certain legal and
                 economic limits within which the media must operate
             -   In turn, media have agency in the sense of acting on their own and
                 influencing other social institutions – mixture of structural constraint and
                 independent agency
             -   Includes questions such as: How have media affected the organisation of
                 political campaigns? or Does it matter who owns major publishing houses
                 or newspapers?

Relationships within the media industry:

             -   Includes the context in which media personnel labour – this means we must
                 be familiar with the internal workings of mass media organisations and the
                 processes of professional socialisation
             -   Sociological emphasis is on social positions, roles and practices )not on
             -   Issues of concern include the structures of media institutions, who wields
                 power within them, what professional norms and expectations and
                 associated with different positions
             -   The tension between structure and agency is related to how much
                 autonomy/independence media personnel have in doing their work
              -   Includes questions such as: To what extent do standard journalistic
                  practices shape the process of news reporting or the content of the news?
                  or How “free” are musicians to create their own music

Relationships between the media and the public:

              -   Occurs when the media deliver messages to readers
              -   Interest is in how readers interact with media products and technology
              -   Holds the idea that readers are not passive audiences that soak up the many
                  messages they come across in the media (one-way relationship), but they
                  actively interpret media messages
              -   Audiences must rely on other resources to make sense of media messages
              -   Relevant resources include knowledge and information gained from
                  personal experience, other people, formal education, or other media
              -   People constantly draw on collective resources and experiences that are
                  shaped by social factors in constructing their own individual interpretations
                  of media messages.
              -   Includes questions as: How powerful are media images in shaping how we
                  think and feel? or Do the media affect how people are likely to behave?

Model of Media and Social World

    Media Industry:
             - the entire organisational structure that makes up the media
             - affected by changes in technology but also instrumental for influencing the
                 direction/application of technology
             - the producer of the media message/product
    Readers/Audiences:
             - May be influenced by the media messages they see
             - Must actively interpret and construct meaning from messages/products
    Technology:
             - Its direction and development is affected by how the readers/audience
                 choose to use it, or not to use it.
             - Has a potential impact on the public – a lot of/little attention required
    Medial message/product:
         - Developed by media industry
         - Affects the reader/audience
    Social world: all factors not included in the four boxes (that are involved in our daily
     lives) that are crucial for an understanding of the workings of the media (e.g.
     government and economic forces = non-media social factors )
    Top and bottom boxes include human agents (real people) and left and right boxes
     include human creations
    All components of the model relate to other components
                                        Readers / Audience


      Medial message/product             Social world                       Technology

                                          Media Industry

Chapter 2

Production perspective: a sociological perspective that suggests that we cannot look at
media products in a vacuum. Instead, we should see media products as the result of a social
process of production that occurs within an institutional framework.

Media Ownership

              The ownership of the media is becoming increasingly concentrated in fewer and
        fewer hands.
              Conglomeration: media companies have become part of much larger
        corporations, which own a collection of other companies that may operate in highly
        diverse business areas (e.g. The Walt Disney Company – p. 41)
              Vertical integration: the process by which one owner acquires all aspects of
        production and distribution of a single type of media product (e.g. a book company
        buying different agencies to better control its entire process – paper mills, printing
        facilities, book stores)
              Horizontal integration: the process by which one company buys different kinds
        of media, concentrating ownership across differing types of media (rather than ‘up and
        down’ through one industry) – (e.g. media companies assemble TV stations, book
        publishers, music labels, etc., to support its operations) = cross promotion

Consequences of Conglomeration & Integration

             Integration & Self-promotion: owners perceive such arrangements as both
        efficient and profitable
             Synergy: the dynamic where components of a company work together to
        produce benefits that would be impossible for a single, separately operated unit of the
             Consequence of integration: an increase in media cross-promotion and a
        decrease in media products that are not suitable for cross promotion
             Consequence of conglomeration:
              - media has turned from respectable news divisions to a necessary commitment
                  to make a profit
            - creates Hollywoodisation: to attract audiences, an increased emphasis has been
                placed on entertainment and celebrities on the network news
            - corporate takeovers of print media have put the emphasis on attracting and
                entertaining consumers, rather than on informing citizens – sensationalism
            - leads to increased bottom-line pressure (jobs – taken away from people with
                journalistic experiences and replaced by people from the business world)

Effects of concentration

          Media Control & Political power: state ownership and the government’s
     control of the media affects the media product (e.g. censorship, propaganda –
          It becomes more difficult for alternative media voices to emerge (e.g. gay and
     lesbians on prime time television) – also in political sense
          Freedom of the press may be left to those few who can afford to own what has
     become a very expensive ‘press’.
          Mass media institutions have become no different from other social institutions;
     they are linked to the patterned inequality that exists throughout our society

Media Ownership & Content Diversity

          Media owned by few will lead to products that lack diversity – as ownership
     becomes increasingly concentrated, the content of media will become increasingly
          The Homogenisation Hypothesis (Bagdikian, 2000): the absence of
     competition in the media industry will lead inevitably to homogeneous media products
     that serve the interests of the increasingly small number of owners.
          The Local Newspaper Monopoly (Entman, 1989): looked at local newspaper
     competition and asked whether monopoly ownership matters – no consistent
     relationship between newspaper competition and news diversity; argues that diversity
     in news content can be understood in two terms:
           - Vertical diversity: the range of actor mentioned and the degree of disagreement
               in a single newspaper
           - Horizontal diversity: the differences in content between two newspapers
               (Quasi-monopoly: joint-ownership agreements, whereby the same company
               owns two papers, or two companies jointly operate two papers in the same
           - Entman’s study reveals that concentration of ownership does NOT create
          The Music Industry: Peterson & Berger (1975) argue that high market
     concentration leads to homogeneity, which a competitive market leads to diversity
           - Two components of diversity: different songs that made the top 10 list each
               year (increase in numbers reflects increase in diversity) and the number of
               ‘new’ and ‘established’ artists who made the top 10 list (new artists are a
               reflection of diversity/established artists are a reflection of standardisation)
            - Conclusion: a loosening of market concentration through increased
               competitions permits greater innovation and diversity in popular music

Mass Media for Profit

          Media has one underlying goal (in a capitalist system): the creation of products
     that will earn financial profits
          Prime-time profits: bottom-line profit pressures set the framework for
     programming decisions – executives achieve profits by broadcasting programmes that
     will attract large audiences, but also follow a ‘logic of safety’, by minimising risky
          The television business has changed over the decades: nowadays more cable
     television networks have arisen, which leads to overall lower ratings and the costs of
     producing network television dramas/sitcoms continues to escalate – these two aspects
     makes running a newsmagazine more attractive (less costly, can be produced in-

Profit & the News Media

         News outlets have two ways to enhance their profits: cut costs or increase
     revenues, or the following strategies:
          1. Decrease the number of journalists
          2. Use journalistic and production staff on multiple company-owned news
          3. Cut back on long-term investigative reporting that produces a small number
               of stories
          4. Use a larger percentage of wire services reports
          5. At TV stations, use video public relations segments (reports that have been
               prepared and provided free of charge by public relations firms) in newscasts
          6. Rely on a small number of elites (who are easy and inexpensive to reach) as
               regular news sources
          7. Focus the news on preplanned official events (which are easy and
               inexpensive to cover) instead of less routine happenings
          8. Focus coverage on a limited number of institutions in a handful of big cities
         These methods do have consequences:
          - The media will like make news coverage which is more focussed on elites and
          - It creates only few legitimate news sources
          - The media will become more entertainment/sensationalist focussed
          - There will be more focus on marketing the news instead of reporting it

The impact of advertising

           It is the key source of revenue for mass media sources
           Because the advertisers are doing the most important buying, the principle
       ‘products’ being sold are the audiences, not the mass media sources, or programmes
       produced by media organisations.

Advertising and the Press in the 19th Century

           The British Press:
            - British newspapers gradually won their freedom from government and party
               control as they shifted to a financial structure that relied on advertising
            - They achieved a kind of economic independence
            - Competition rose between radical and advertised press
            - The papers that had advertisements were able to be produced cheaply and with
               more pages, contained both news and ads. This pushed up the cost of
               producing a competitive newspaper. This made it difficult for papers without
               ads to compete.
            - This led to the downfall of radical papers, which led to the end of a national
               radical press in England.
            - Therefore, the introduction of advertising and the subsequent decline of the
               radical press resulted in newspapers that provided a more limited view of
               events than they had before.
           The U.S. Press:
            - Until the late 1800s, U.S. newspapers had been largely funded and controlled
               by political parties, politicians and partisan organisations. After that, the
               news shifted to a commercially based press due to a change in the definition
               of a newspaper’s purpose. – commercialisation
            - This shift shaped news content in 2 ways:
                      1. news purveyors began to avoid controversy, preferring instead a
                          blander product that would be likely to attract and not offend large
                          audiences as well as advertisers – instead of focussing on
                          substantive political news, it contained a variety of features (sports,
                          fashion, etc.)
                      2. newspapers became advocate for their newfound economic patrons
                          – direct political influence was achieved only by introducing a new
                          business influence. – the financial role of advertising shaped daily
                          practices within the news industry and transformed the meaning of
                          news for both producers and consumers

Advertising and the Contemporary News Media

            Advertisers are still the dominant source of revenue for news media – it is a force
       that provides both motivations and constraints that influence the news.
         MTV: low cost TV network, due to the fact that the videos are advertising for
     the music industry.
         Narrowcasting: cable TV programmes /TV networks that target specific
     audience segments instead of aiming for a mass audience (e.g. a cooking show vs. a
     sitcom) – makes sure advertiser reaches desirable audience

Chapter 3

Difference between democratic societies and totalitarian nations:

          Totalitarian nations: the state largely dominates the potential agency of the
     media – the emergence of underground media is common in such situations, affirming
     the active agency of citizens in even the bleakest of circumstances.
          Democratic societies: pride themselves on protecting freedom of the press and
     freedom of expression – characterised by a more diverse mix of public and privately
     owned media outlets offering a variety of information and entertainment. (still largely
     controlled by commercial corporations
          Governments in general can either constrain or promote the free activity/agency
     of the media (=tension between structure and agency as it applies to media and the
     political world)

Common features of Media Regulation Debates

           Radio piracy: the struggle between micro-broadcasters and commercial media
           Not all media are alike when it comes to regulation – the rules regulating media
       have historically differed among the three basic types of communication media: print
       media, broadcast media and common carriers (e.g. mail system, telephone, computer
           This is also due to technological differences (e.g. rise of the Internet)
           This shows that everyone involved with the media wants governmental
       regulation – but they disagree on what kind of government regulation should exist.
           Also shows that regulation constraining the behaviour of one actor benefits

The ‘First’ Freedom

         First amendment of the U.S. Constitution = Freedom of the Press: the
     government should take a ‘hands-off’ approach toward the media
         Includes ‘Copyright’ laws – protects publishers and authors
         The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has a responsibility for the
     issuance of licenses, the setting of some charges, and the enforcement of
     communication rules (for example, to regulate the forming of monopolies on media).
European approach to regulating media:

         Broadcast regulation began early as an outgrowth of regulations affecting
     wireless telegraphy – meant creating a state monopoly system (e.g. BBC)
         Europeans adopted an approach that involved direct government operation of the
     media as a technique to avoid signal interference. The result was a system that:
          1. Emphasised public service
          2. Was national in character
          3. Was politicised
          4. Was non-commercial
         This form of media regulation has changed over the years, giving way to more
     open competition between public broadcasters and commercial stations

Regulating Ownership & Control

          Regulating ownership of media outlets:
           1. The media technology has changed from smaller print media outlets, to
              broadcast media (e.g. Internet), which are able to reach millions of people.
           2. The ownership patterns have changed – the amount of investment capital
              necessary to product major state-of-the-art media products is enormous. –
              freedom of the press exists only for those who can afford it (in the past small
              publishers of pamphlets were enough)
          Regulating ownership of programming:
           1. Copyright laws protect the interests of artists, writers and the media industry
              by banning the unauthorised use or reproduction of many media-related
           2. The government is also concerned with avoiding monopolistic ownership of
              media property – FCC regulated the ownership and control of TV
              programming through so-called ‘Fin-Syn’ rules (financial interest and
              syndication rules) – limited the ability of the three major American TV
              networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) to acquire financial interests or syndication
              rights (=selling the rights to rebroadcast a program) in TV programming–
              rules changed after two decades
          Regulating ownership and control of technology:
           1. The question who is to control pre-existing and new mass media technologies
              (e.g. digitalisation – the Internet).
           2. Rules were made to ensure the limitations of telephone companies, digital
              TV providers and Internet services, for example
           3. Rules were also made to ensure antimonopoly – e.g. the antitrust lawsuit
              against the Microsoft Corporation (Windows was used on more than 90% of
              all computers, and IE was forced on nearly every computer as well)

Regulating Media Content & Distribution

          Diversity vs. Property rights:
           - calls for media regulation come from both liberals and conservatives
            - Liberals:
                    See the government’s role in media regulation as one of protecting
                       the public against the domination of the private sector
                    Tries to protect the public interest against monopolistic corporate
                    Support regulation and publicly owned media (e.g. PBS, NPR)
            - Conservatives:
                    See any form of government’s involvement as meddling in the free
                    Support property rights and the free-market system
                    Conservatives tend to advocate a laissez-faire (let it be, leave it alone)
                       approach by government
                    Caution against the dangers of bureaucratic government intervention
                       and the tyranny of ‘politically correct’ calls for diversity
                    See the marketplace as a place where ideas and products stand or fall
                       based on the extent of their popularity
                    Are in favour of regulating material they deem unsuitable (e.g. sex
                       and violence to protect children and minors)
            - Fairness Doctrine: introduced to promote serious coverage of public issues
               and to ensure diversity by preventing any single viewpoint from dominating
               coverage – the doctrine was abolished as a counterargument was that the
               premise of broadcast-frequency scarcity on which it was built was no longer
               an issue.

Regulating for morality

          Ratings and Warnings: content is regulated by industry self-regulation, rather
     than formal government involvement (e.g. rating system for viewers – G, PG, PG-13,
          Outlawing and Controlling Distribution: the suggestion that distributors
     should not sell obscene recordings, or control the distribution of them, to minors (age
     limits for magazines, special time slots for obscene TV programmes)
          Issue of violence: children are too often exposed to violence on mass media,
     which can lead to more violent behaviour, increased fearfulness for violence, or
     increased insensitivity about violence directed at others (=bystander effect).
     Views on television violence:
           1. The marketplace should determine programming and, therefore, no
               government regulation is needed
           2. There should be total ban on television violence, calling it a threat to public
           3. Violent programming should be limited to certain times of the day when
               young children are less likely to be watching TV (most common view)
           4. Ratings and the ‘V-chip’ should be used for violence on TV

Regulating for Accuracy: Advertising
         The agencies of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the government
     protect the public against fraudulent or deceptive advertising.
         The Government regulates advertising for possibly harmful products, such as
     alcohol and tobacco (e.g. advertisements for cigarettes have become illegal).
         The government has also acted at times to limit the total amount of advertising
     aimed at children

Regulating in the ‘National Interest’: Media and the Military

           There has always been a tension between the media’s rights to provide
       information to the public and the government’s need to protect sensitive information
       during times of war – dramatic change in friendly relationship between media and
       government changed during the Vietnam War

Informal, Political, Social & Economic Pressure

            The most obvious players in the debates over the media are media critics, the
       media related think-tanks, the citizen-activists and local, regional, and national
       organisations that are exclusively devoted to media-related issues (e.g. violence,
       political diversity)

Chapter 4

Decision- making environment of prime-time television:

          Economic constraints: TV programmes must correspond to the current mood of
     the audience, and the programme must contain appeal, to meet profit requirements
          Economic forces: identify the goals and shape the terrain of the decision-making
     process, but human actors must assess both programme and audience in the effort to
     deliver the correct product (often through the imitation of current popular
          Political constraints: includes government regulations – do not always determine
     what media organisations will do, as the media sometimes ignore, reinterpret,
     challenge or block regulations.
     The media can block external regulations by engaging in a public form of self-
     regulation (e.g. film ratings and warning labels)

Organisation of Media Work

            Maintaining the existence of an organisation points different individuals within
       that organisation in the same direction (media personnel are shaped by the needs of an
         Media workers must also negotiate the terms of their cooperation before each
     new endeavour (emphasises the capacity for independent action but ignores the
     constraints under which media personnel labour)
         Convention: a practice/technique that is widely used in a field (e.g. a news
     format that includes sitting in a studio at a counter or desk with one person telling the
     news – song structure – magazine covers with the same lay-out, etc.)

News Routine

            News: information about recent important events
            Rationalisation: the processes of news gathering and news reporting are
       anticipated as basic routines are adopted in the acquiring of news.
            News organisations cast a ‘net’ made up of wire services, full-time reporters and
       stringers to ‘catch’ newsworthy happenings (e.g. newspapers have staff/bureaus in
       places they define as important – station reporters at important places)
            Beats: a series of official locations that become site where reporters are stationed
       – central to how reporters detect events. – bring reporters in contact with news and
            Due to the fact that news is routinised, a lot of other important newsworthy
       happenings are missed and not shown in the media.
            Front page:
             - identifies the editors’ selection of the most important events of the day
             - influences which stories will be the most visible
             - provides a key measure of success for reporters
            Selected through various norms:
             - The timeliness of a story
             - Its impact on the community
             - The prominence of the participants in the events
             - Combination of important international, national, regional & featured news


          “The belief in objectivity is a faith in fact, a distrust of values, and a commitment
     to their segregation”- Schudson (1978) = a doctrine that perceives the separation of
     ‘fact’ and ‘value’ as a messy business that require the use of a method, or set of
     practices, to ensure their separation.
          Key practices/conventions to obtain objectivity:
           1. Maintain political neutrality
           2. Observe current standards of decency and good taste
           3. Use documentary reporting practices, which rely on physical evidence
           4. Use standardised formats to package the news
           5. Train reporters as generalists instead of specialists
           6. Use editorial review to enforce these methods

Occupational roles & professional socialisation
          Roles: the bundles of expectations that are associated with different social
           - Become apparent when role expectations are breached
           - Also become apparent when we have to learn a new one (e.g. starting new job)
           - The concept of role highlights the significance of external social controls –
               individual behaviour is both patterned by and influenced by broader social
           - Are not rigid – they don’t dictate specific behaviours as individuals have a
               great deal of room for negotiation within the framework of the roles they
           - Are not static or permanent – they are dynamic and changeable over time due
               to the alteration of social conditions/historical contexts – solution: focus on
               specific genres (e.g. comedy) or time periods (e.g. 1920’s, American Dream)
          Socialisation: the process by which we learn the basic ground rules of a role


          Photographers in different work settings take on different roles – each may use
     similar equipment, yet each has a different role, with different sets of tasks,
     expectations and norms (e.g. photojournalist vs. advertising photographer)
          Socialisation of photography: allows the beginner to move beyond the technical
     aspects of the work and learn how to conceptually see images in ways that are distinct
     to the professional photojournalist/ad photographer – includes how to anticipate action
     and plan shots in advance
          Photos taken should document happenings, not transform them –
          Framework for photographers:
           - Photographers are expected to produce images that fit the standard scripts
           - Role expectations: should have good news judgement and be able to produce
               images that can tell various aspects of the story

Norms on the Internet

            Netiquette: the body of norms on the Net – often regulated by users themselves
            Socialisation: often electronic ‘how-to’ manuals are distributed, and most web
       pages have a ‘FAQ’s’ page. This helps socialise new members on the workings of the

Chapter 5

Ideology: a system of meaning that helps define and explain the world and that makes value
judgements about that world – includes:
       • Belief systems, values, worldview
       • Broader system of meaning
       • Thinking and defining social and cultural issues
        • not how real, but how is reality understood
        • the media sell certain messages and worldviews
       • e.g. economic news is based on the investor (business) perspective, and not the
           consumer’s point of view – only experts’ views are being used
       • ideology operates by normalizing a particular perspective on the world

Dominant ideology: the media promote the worldview of the powerful
Cultural contradictions: mass media texts include more contradictory messages, both
expressing the ‘dominant ideology’ and at least partially challenging world views.

Culture wars: a situation where fundamental issues of morality are being fought, that the
media is at the centre of (different parties promote their views via the media)

Ideology as Normalisation:

          The accumulation of media images suggest what is ‘normal’ and what is
     ‘abnormal’ – as have a y to display a narrow range of behaviours and lifestyles,
     marginalising and/or neglecting people who are ‘different’ from the mass-mediated
          Some groups (political parties) fear that media images normalize specific social
     relations, making certain ways of behaving seem unexceptional – due to patterns in
     media texts
          Popularity is more important to media producers than a commitment to any
     specific ideology (main goal is to make profit)

Roots of Ideological Analysis

            Karl Marx (1818-1883)
       -     Ideology: economic-class terms that capitalists had a class interest in the
           accumulation of capital through the exploitation of labour, and which celebrates
           individualism and the free market.
       -     Economic Determination: economics are the driving force of society
       -     Base-Superstructure: clear and concrete world is the base, politics and culture are
           the top layer built upon that base
       -     False consciousness: ideology is a powerful mechanism of social control
           whereby members of the ruling class imposed their worldview, which represented
           their interests, on members of subordinate classes – the people who accepted the
           ideology projected on them were said to have false consciousness, because their
           worldview served the interests of others
       -     Social revolution: depended on the working class breaking free of the ideas of
           the ruling class and moving beyond their false consciousness – and developing a
           revolutionary consciousness that represented their material interests as workers
       -     Class Structure: scarcity causes class differences
       -     Future: labour class will grow and capitalism will implode
       -               QUESTION OF POWER
Marx and the media

           Theodor Adorno (1903-1969), Dialektik der Aufklärung
       -    mass culture is the people's opium
       -    systematic repetition numbs the mind and destroys the ability to think critically
       -    mass culture is filled with capitalistic ideology of the upper class
       -    Frankfurter Schüle (Adorno, Horkheimer, Habermas, Marcuse, Wittfogel)


    the dominance or leadership of one social group or nation over others
    According to Antonio Gramsci (Italian Marxist - The Prison Note Books - 1891 -
     1937), hegemony:
     - connects questions of culture, power & ideology
     - ruling groups can maintain their power through force (requires the use of
         institutions, e.g. military to maintain obedience), consent, or a combination of the
     - consent is exercised through cultural leadership: ruling groups in a society actively
         seek to have their worldview accepted by all members of society as the universal
         way of thinking – institutions (schools, religion, media) help the powerful exercise
         this cultural leadership, as they are the sites where we produce and reproduce ways
         of thinking about society
     - One of the most effective ways of ruling is through the shaping of commonsense
         assumptions – what we take for granted exists in a realm that is uncontested, where
         there is neither a need nor room for questioning assumptions
     - “Natural”: something we can define – in opposition to culture (since nature is
         perceived to be beyond human control) – when situations are natural, then there is
         little reasons to be concerned about these issues because they are not social
         problems but the natural order of things (e.g. economic inequality)
     - Hegemony  class struggle (involves ideas and ideology): rulers try to maintain
         their power by defining the assumptions on which the society rests and incorporate
         potentially opposing forces into the basic ideological framework.
     - agency
     - dialectic instead of determinist
     - Gramsci: hegemony is a process that is always in the making (not permanent)
    Stuart Hall (1932 - ):
     - Argues that mass media are one of the principal sites where the cultural leadership,
         the work of hegemony, is exercised
     - The media are involved in “the politics of signification”: the media produce
         images of the world that give events particular meanings
     - Media images do not simply reflect the world, they re-present it: instead of
         reproducing the reality of the world ‘out there’, the media engage in practices that
         define reality.
       -     The media have the power to signify events in a particular way - media
             representations have the tendency to reproduce the basic stories and values that are
             the underpinnings of this hegemony
       -     us vs. them (e.g. in action-adventure films: good vs. bad, villain vs. hero, in-group
             vs. out-group, strengths vs. weaknesses, courage vs. cowardice)
       -     Birmingham Centre of Contemporary Cultural Studies

    gives meaning and defines:
       – tells us what is normal and what is deviant
       – tells us who is normal and who is deviant
       – tells us about behavior
    is a construct and dynamic: – no singular media – historical roots
    is a system of ideas (e.g. Vietnam Films: to help the US overcome the ‘Vietnam
       Syndrome’ through a process of ‘remasculinisation’ – masculinity defined by its
       toughness is reasserted in the face of the threats of the threats in Vietnam)
    we have to be careful when we make generalisations about the ideological content of
       the media, as we are usually talking about a specific medium or media texts, and not
       the media in general (which signifies the multiple organisations/technologies of

News media and the limits of debate
   Journalists find themselves in the middle of debate, as being ‘too left’ or ‘too right’
      causes uproar
   News focuses on powerful people and institutions and generally reflects established
   Two of the most prominent enduring values in the news are ‘social order’ and
      ‘national leadership’ (Gans, 1979)
   News presents images of the world that are significantly lacking in diversity – has
      consequences for the way the news depicts the political world
   Insider: a nature of politics where a small group of analysts are regular commentators
      and news sources, regardless of the wisdom of their previous commentary or of their
      prior actions when they occupied the position of power – ‘expert’ (e.g. CNN effect)
   This approach to the news does little to inform the public of positions outside this
      limited range of opinion, as it implicitly denies that other positions should be taken
   The news is ideological in drawing boundaries between what is acceptable – the
      conventional ideas of insiders – and what is not


           The dominant form of media in the late 20th century (large audience, covers other
       forms of media – e.g. in sitcoms, programmes, etc.)
           Television relies almost exclusively on conventional ‘realist’ forms of image
      construction that mask the workings of the camera
           Therefore, people do not confuse televised image with our real world/life
           Still, part of the allure of television is that it seems real – we routinely defer
      disbelief while we are watching
           Television also portrays stereotypical ‘American family’
            - 1950s/1960s: white, middle class, happy and secure family (e.g. ‘Father Knows
            - 1970s: “turn to relevance”- social and political issues were discussed through
                the television family (e.g. ‘All in the Family’) – also more focus on
                relationships between co-workers – “work-families”
            - Mid 1970s: the family was depicted as a source of conflict and struggle as well
                as comfort and love – social problems made their way into the TV family.
                (aim was to target young, urban, highly educated viewers – appealing to
            - 1990s: new kind of ‘family’ image – close-knit friendship circles (e.g. Friends)
           These examples show that television programmes and the ideology they circulate
      are far from static – they are part on the ongoing ideological contest to shape the
      definition of a proper family
           Occurring limitations: rarely see interracial or gay and lesbian families in
      popular TV

Rap music

           Rap should be understood as a mass mediated critique of the underlying ideology
      of mainstream (American) society (Rose, 1994)
           Rap lyrics are intended to convey a sense of social realism’ that ‘loosely
      resembles a sort of street ethnography of racist institutions and social practices, but
      told more often than not in the first person’ (Kelley, 1994)
           Rap music is often a critique of institutions (e.g. criminal justice system, police,
      educational system, etc.)
           Rap is often full of ideological contradictions – they critique the institutions of
      society as being racist, yet the lyrics and imagery are often sexist and homophobic
           Rap’s commercial success is due to the fact that the music is very popular among
      white suburban youth
           The ideology of rap is often masked and most accessible to those who know the
      black urban culture that forms its roots – thus, black youth may interpret the rap
      differently to white youth, even though they both may enjoy the music
           Rap is nowadays about selling records and products as much as it is a place to
      express oppositional thoughts – commercialisation of music (music used to sell
      products as well)
           The working of rap music is an example of how hegemony works: they are
      contradictory, and can be oppositional, yet it is hard to maintain this limited form of
           Commercialisation: a large part of the process – as critical media products have a
       tendency to become incorporated into mass, commercial products.

Advertising & Consumer Culture

            Ads are so deeply embedded in our environment (they are everywhere) that we
       are likely to hear, see, and even smell them (e.g. perfume ads) without thinking twice
            Ads are specific to their product of service (e.g. drinking a particular type of beer
       will attract women, etc.)
            Ads may all tell us that a particular item will save us money, make us healthier,
       or that it would make a great gift for a loved one.
            Ads always suggest connections between products and lifestyles and between
       services and states of mind and presenting information about prices, availability, etc.
            All ads are fundamentally about selling – they address their audiences as
            Advertising raises certain values – those associated with acquiring wealth and
       consuming goods
            Advertising also promotes a worldview that stresses the individual and the realm
       of private life (ignoring collective values and the terrain of the public world)
            Mass advertising emerged in the 1920s, with the goal to have a coordinated
       ideological effort to complement their control of the workplace – to settle differences,
       stimulate positive habits and introduce pacifism (=all violence is unjustifiable)
            At the start, advertising was more about creating consumers than selling
       individual products– promoting the new ‘American way’ – ads sold consumerism as a
       gateway to social integration in 20th century America, as an ideology that would
       smooth over social conflicts (especially class conflicts) and serve as a form of ‘social
            Women’s magazines as advertisements: promote the consumer lifestyle by
       showing how social status and success can be ‘bought’ in the consumer marketplace,
       through the usage of advertising – use both direct (ads) and covert (editorials, ‘make-
       over’ section) advertising to sell magazine and promote an ideology that celebrates the
       consumption of gender-specific products as a mean to accomplish the ‘good life’.
            The dreams that American ads sell (capitalism and political freedom), are also
       exported all around the world (e.g. Coca Cola, Levis, Hollywood films, etc.) – actually
       exporting the American way of life (e.g. Friends)
            Culture has therefore become increasingly global, with media images circulating
       across national boundaries
            Secondary discourses: the ideas about social relationships that are embedded
       within ads that we must look at when analysis ads ideologically (O’Barr, 1994) – how
       ads covey messages about social life at the same time that they try to promote a
       specific product (important to look at context, setting, characteristics of actors and
       interaction between actors)
            Three main categories of ads that feature images of foreigners (O’Barr):
             - Travel ads (depicted as the ‘others’ – available for entertainment of tourists)
- Product endorsements (make connections between the advertised product and
    associations people have with foreign countries – make products look exotic,
    as people from foreign countries are seen as more primitive and sexual)
- International business ads (due to globalization – emphasise that Americans
    and foreigners share a perspective and have a common set of goals – “people
    just like us”)

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