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F soc lecture week 9 the media and sociology theories

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Media and Sociology

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F soc lecture week 9 the media and sociology theories

  1. 1. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - Society FOUNDATION SOCIAL SCIENCE LECTURE NINE-The Media and Sociological Theory
  2. 2. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - Society Contents 1.What do we mean by media? 2.How we use the media 3.Traditional Media Theories 4.Contemporary Media Theories 5. Media Ownership 6. Homework sheffield.ac.uk/international-college 2
  3. 3. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - Society Media in the Digital Age Sociological studies look at not only how you use the media but who is behind the websites you are using and whether they might distort the messages they send you. Let’s have a look at two examples: Advertising that looks like Editorial. Editorial that is actually propaganda sheffield.ac.uk/international-college 3
  4. 4. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - Society sheffield.ac.uk/international-college Media Theories 4 Is the media important ? – our use of it shows it plays a big part in our lives but just how influential is it (does it make us think and do things differently). Media Theorists believe what we see; hear and read in the media has a huge influence but this effect (the theorists call it ‘Uses and Gratifications’ has yet to be proved conclusively (PLEASE BEAR THIS IN MIND AS WE GO THROUGH THE LEACTURE AND SEMINARS). Here are some of the roots of present day theories : Marxist Theories Conflict theorists or Marxist viewpoints look at media from two angles: 1.Influence of the media } both exercise power 2.ownership of the media } over people
  5. 5. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - Society sheffield.ac.uk/international-college Influence : The ‘Guard-dog effect’ 5 Marxist Views Focus on ‘product’ rather than ‘process’ So they look at the ‘News Agenda’ ( why certain stories are more prominent or more dominant than others. American Noam Chomsky (1991) who is highly critical of the dominance of large corporations in American and global media : media ownership excludes voices that lack economic power : ie Rich people are only interested in rich people  voices that survive are those least likely to criticize the prevailing distribution of wealth and power. Chomsky also says corporately owned media exaggerated people’s fears of global terrorism and prevented discussion of other issues that are more significant, such as corporations unaccountability or the lack of democracy. (We’ll talk more about these ‘Moral Panics’ in a moment). Chomsky sees the mass media are propaganda machines supporting the ruling groups in society.
  6. 6. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - Society Is Chomsky right? • Yes Here’s an example from Fox News in the US • No If it were wholly true how would people like Murdock; Berlusconi and Black ever get found out? sheffield.ac.uk/international-college 6
  7. 7. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - Society sheffield.ac.uk/international-college Can the Media theorists be right ? 7 According to the Frankfurt School (and later the Glasgow Media Group) the Culture industry is used to produce appropriate values among the people: Eg: language of bias : Terrorists v freedom fighters Culture standarised and dominated by the desire for profit just like other industries Eg: mass reproduction devalues Art What are the theorists’ missing ?  People can and do think for themselves – they can resist media propaganda  Alternate media sources offer different messages There is a media theory that recognises these missing elements…….
  8. 8. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - Society sheffield.ac.uk/international-college Pluralism  Society is made up of many interacting but competing sections.  Sections have more or less equal access to resources and influence  Are monitored by a benevolent and neutral state operating in the public’s best interest According to pluralists the media reflect the views of society. So if there’s diversity within society, there should be diversity in the media content. They refute the ‘effects’ theories of Marxist academics and Frankfurt School. The media are so busy reflecting society that they are unlikely to have much ‘effect’ in changing society. 8
  9. 9. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - Society sheffield.ac.uk/international-college Pluralism 9 Pluralists say the media has limited influence on people’s views because mass communication acts in unpredictable ways. 1.Personal, political, practical or technological factors shape our exposure to particular messages 2.Medium has an important impact on the effect of the message. 3.Content and form, presentation and language all impact on effectiveness of the message. 4.Existing beliefs and attitudes of the audience may modify or completely distort the meaning of a message 5.Messages can be moderated by opinion-makers within communities There is always someone with alternate views – critics of pluralism argue: This ‘pro-media approach lacks objectivity . The media would say that wouldn’t they!) Point to a ‘shared’ culture between politicians and journalists – they need each other!
  10. 10. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - Society sheffield.ac.uk/international-college Contemporary Theories: Symbolic Interactionism Interactionism argues that panics serve to scapegoat social groups, including youth cultures and ethnic minorities, taking attention away from structural problems such as unemployment and economic recession. For instance in the UK there is considerable debate in the media and from politicians about the impact of immigrants on British societies. •Unemployment and lower incomes •Increase in crime and poverty These claims attributed to immigration with little to no discussion of the impact political and financial decisions have on these social issues. 10
  11. 11. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - Society sheffield.ac.uk/international-college Moral Panics One of the most influential interactionist approaches to media is moral panic theory – Stuart Hall and Chas Critcher - former Sheffield Hallam Academic http://www.penelopeironstone.com/Critcher.pdf •It all started with Stan Cohen (1972) studying how clashes between Mods and Rockers were reported in the media- Cohen said it was an ‘over-reaction’ about youth and drugs 11
  12. 12. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - Society Moral Panics brought up to date • In the last UK elections a big challenge to the traditional parties was UKIP – it is a single issue party focussed on taking the UK out of the EU • - one of its main reasons for doing this is to reduce the number of migrants coming to the UK (notice the language: ‘migrant’ and ‘immigrant’ have negative connotations , a more positive phrase would be ‘expat’ • Interestingly Brits who work abroad are called ‘expats’ but people from other countries working in the UK are called ‘migrants’ • If the Moral panics theory was correct all media would be engaged in exaggerated claims highlighting problems and refuting other (more rational) outlooks but it’s not the case………….. sheffield.ac.uk/international-college 12 Media debunking moral panics on both sides of the Atlantic
  13. 13. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - SocietyEffective from September 2015 | FY10 Sociology week 2 - Society 1964 Hypodermic Needle Effect Audiences ‘drugged’ by media 1990 Gratification Model different audiences use media differently for their own gratification Thompson says audiences debate about what they’ve seen in the media. 2000 Interpretive Model Audience shapes Media through their engagement Baudrillard says Media does not just ‘represent’ the world to us it defines it. Audience and Media Representation sheffield.ac.uk/international-college 13
  14. 14. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - SocietyEffective from September 2015 | FY10 Sociology week 2 - Society sheffield.ac.uk/international-college Media Ownership 14 Marxist concerns also focus on the increasing concentration of ownership of different media within large multinational corporations.
  15. 15. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - SocietyEffective from September 2015 | FY10 Sociology week 2 - Society sheffield.ac.uk/international-college 15 The global media market is dominated by a group of about 20 MNC’s whose role in the production, distribution and marketing of news and entertainment is felt in almost every country in the world.
  16. 16. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - SocietyEffective from September 2015 | FY10 Sociology week 2 - Society sheffield.ac.uk/international-college Media Ownership 16 Four major trends in media ownership can be identified over the last decade: 1.Concentration of ownership/ monopolization 2.Reducing Competition - buying out of smaller businesses by larger media corporations. Marxist perspective this growth in the power of capitalism. 3.Multi- Media Integration – allows a media giant to market the same products across different media greater control 4.Globalization – westernisation of the media and potential destruction of the local culture ‘media imperialism’.
  17. 17. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - SocietyEffective from September 2015 | FY10 Sociology week 2 - Society New Media is hailed as offering new Global freedoms but is this true? Government Control/Censorship Search engines dominated by big business-reducing competition and increasing monopolisation Narrowing of the News Agenda – people fed only what they are interested in (the opposite of the Interpretive Model : the media shaping audience engagement).This self affirming engagement might harden attitudes and perspectives. Is your Media Use controlled? sheffield.ac.uk/international-college 17
  18. 18. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - SocietyEffective from September 2015 | FY10 Sociology week 2 - Society sheffield.ac.uk/international-college 18
  19. 19. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - SocietyEffective from September 2015 | FY10 Sociology week 2 - Society sheffield.ac.uk/international-college The Rise and Rise of Digital Music 19
  20. 20. Effective from September 2015 | F_Soc USIC Sociology week 9 - Society Homework • Review lecture notes and write down questions for seminar one. • Seminar 1 : Media Usage and Media theories • Seminar 2 : Media Ownership and the Digital Revolution sheffield.ac.uk/international-college 20

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