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The Sociology of Mass Media
Marxist perspective on the media
ownership and control
Key terms
O________
I_______
R_________
Introduction
• Marxism = notion that capitalism is
unfair, exploitative etc.
• Workers lack access to the means of p _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _, and
must sell their labour to capitalists. They add s_ _ _ _ _ _
value to products and receive an unfair wage
• Marxists believe the mass media supports this system through
broadcasting of ideologies; and does little to introduce
alternative ideas
The role of ideology
“In every epoch, the ruling ideas are the ideas of
the ruling class”
Marx, K. (1846)
.
• Media as means for ruling class to maintain
their h_ _ _ _ _ _ _ and dominance
• Media ensures the populace absorb and
accept capitalist ideology; that life is about
working hard for a wage and consuming
capitalist products
• Ideology = false but influential set of
.
ideas, values and norms to make sure the WCs
accept capitalism and don’t threaten its
stability
.

- Institutions e.g. education, religion and mass
media (part of the cultural
s_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _) aim to persuade us
that capitalism is m _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
(success based on hard work and natural
talent)
- WCs experience f_ _ _ _ consciousness;
blinded to the reality
“They are not child-like, but they are
childish. Their primitivism is not that
of the undeveloped, but of the
forcibly retarded.” Adorno, T. A
.
“Life has become the ideology of its own absence.”
“In so far as the culture industry arouses a feeling of
well-being that the world is precisely in that
order suggested by the culture industry, the
substitute gratification which it prepares for
human beings cheats them out of the same
happiness which it deceitfully projects.”
.

• Media owners aim to transmit a
conservative, conformist ideology in the form
of news and “entertainment”
.

• Miliband, R. (1973): the role of the media is to
shape how people think about the world
• Rarely are people told about why some people
live in luxury and others in poverty
•

. and often presented as
Alternative viewpoints rarely heard;
troublemaking or anti-nationalistic

• The owners of mass media have a vested interest in
maintaining the status quo
• Tunstall and Palmer (1991): government controls the media
less now than before; instead media conglomerates are
granted freedom in exchange for supporting the govt.

Deregulation = gain support (or silence)
Former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi
controlled the Italian media before
storming to power in 1994…
.
• BUT generally, is this Marxist “conspiracy
theory” always accurate..?
• Is there really such a deliberate effort to
manipulate the public?
.
• Curran (2003): from 1890-1970, “press
barons” openly used media as a vehicle for
their political propaganda, undermining
journalistic integrity
Lord Beaverbrook, the “press baron” government
minister who owned the Daily Express newspaper
and London Evening Standard
.

• Curran (2003): however, this

went “up a gear” after 1974, when
Murdoch bought the Sun and the
Times

• Now, the media controllers began
aiming solely for profit; not to
maintain their own governmental
positions
• Murdoch’s papers have from the
start been right-wing; because that
sells more copies
.
• Murdoch’s papers all supported former-PM
Margeret Thatcher between 1979-1992, due
to the Conservatives’ economic policy
• However, in the USA, his Fox network of
“entertainment” often shows programs that
many see as “anti-establishment” (I don’t) e.g.
Married with Children and the Simpsons
•

. by an
Curran: media owners are NOT united

ideological quest…they simply aim for profits
• They are “ruthlessley individualistic”, NOT a unified
body. They aim to get ahead of their competitors
e.g. Murdoch’s papers alone supported the Iraq
war, and his Sky News refused to cover Chinese
pro-democracy protests  “because of his
economic relationships with the USA and China
(???) TP book)

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Sociology of the mass media - Marxist perspective on the media

  • 1. The Sociology of Mass Media Marxist perspective on the media ownership and control
  • 3. Introduction • Marxism = notion that capitalism is unfair, exploitative etc. • Workers lack access to the means of p _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _, and must sell their labour to capitalists. They add s_ _ _ _ _ _ value to products and receive an unfair wage • Marxists believe the mass media supports this system through broadcasting of ideologies; and does little to introduce alternative ideas
  • 4. The role of ideology “In every epoch, the ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class” Marx, K. (1846)
  • 5. . • Media as means for ruling class to maintain their h_ _ _ _ _ _ _ and dominance • Media ensures the populace absorb and accept capitalist ideology; that life is about working hard for a wage and consuming capitalist products
  • 6. • Ideology = false but influential set of . ideas, values and norms to make sure the WCs accept capitalism and don’t threaten its stability
  • 7. . - Institutions e.g. education, religion and mass media (part of the cultural s_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _) aim to persuade us that capitalism is m _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (success based on hard work and natural talent) - WCs experience f_ _ _ _ consciousness; blinded to the reality “They are not child-like, but they are childish. Their primitivism is not that of the undeveloped, but of the forcibly retarded.” Adorno, T. A
  • 8. . “Life has become the ideology of its own absence.” “In so far as the culture industry arouses a feeling of well-being that the world is precisely in that order suggested by the culture industry, the substitute gratification which it prepares for human beings cheats them out of the same happiness which it deceitfully projects.”
  • 9. . • Media owners aim to transmit a conservative, conformist ideology in the form of news and “entertainment”
  • 10. . • Miliband, R. (1973): the role of the media is to shape how people think about the world • Rarely are people told about why some people live in luxury and others in poverty
  • 11. • . and often presented as Alternative viewpoints rarely heard; troublemaking or anti-nationalistic • The owners of mass media have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo • Tunstall and Palmer (1991): government controls the media less now than before; instead media conglomerates are granted freedom in exchange for supporting the govt. Deregulation = gain support (or silence)
  • 12. Former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi controlled the Italian media before storming to power in 1994…
  • 13. . • BUT generally, is this Marxist “conspiracy theory” always accurate..? • Is there really such a deliberate effort to manipulate the public?
  • 14. . • Curran (2003): from 1890-1970, “press barons” openly used media as a vehicle for their political propaganda, undermining journalistic integrity Lord Beaverbrook, the “press baron” government minister who owned the Daily Express newspaper and London Evening Standard
  • 15. . • Curran (2003): however, this went “up a gear” after 1974, when Murdoch bought the Sun and the Times • Now, the media controllers began aiming solely for profit; not to maintain their own governmental positions • Murdoch’s papers have from the start been right-wing; because that sells more copies
  • 16. . • Murdoch’s papers all supported former-PM Margeret Thatcher between 1979-1992, due to the Conservatives’ economic policy • However, in the USA, his Fox network of “entertainment” often shows programs that many see as “anti-establishment” (I don’t) e.g. Married with Children and the Simpsons
  • 17. • . by an Curran: media owners are NOT united ideological quest…they simply aim for profits • They are “ruthlessley individualistic”, NOT a unified body. They aim to get ahead of their competitors e.g. Murdoch’s papers alone supported the Iraq war, and his Sky News refused to cover Chinese pro-democracy protests  “because of his economic relationships with the USA and China (???) TP book)