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Pitt SOC 0010 - Mass Media

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Mass Media- Communication either written broadcast or spoken that reaches a large audience - TV, radio, ad, movies, Internet, newspapers etc. - Significant force in culture - Mediated culture: culture is both reflected in the media and culture is created by the media - Constant messages - Makes celebrity possible - How we learn who someone is and become interested in them as a public figure- Evolution of mass media - Most of history, speech was how we communicated - Writing, then mass production of writing Newspapers - Popularized in 19th century - Main form of mass media for over 50 years - Readership decline - Today, technological, social, cultural, economic factors enable this - Film - Decline in working hours- Rise of unemployment (late 1920s-30) so people went to more films - Soon owned by a few large American corporations- Cultural imperialism: practice of promoting a more powerful culture over aless desirable culture  Culture usually belongs to larger more dominant/powerful nation - India has the largest film industry in the world (then Nigeria then US)- Music- Dynamic- Lends itself to globalization, transcends language- Popular music from US and Britain dominated post war but also “world music” goes the other way- Ownership now very concentrated; 4 largest firms control 80-90% of sales- Challenged by internet (illegal downloading)- TV- Interaction different from cinema- Direct into the home- Demands less attention- Can be in real time  24 hour news cycle etc. - Internet- Many to many communication - Peer to peer networks (many to one)- Social network media- Blurs distinction between producer and consumer - Social media- New forms of relationships- Expands and enriches social networks (greatly reduces the number of connections needed to get to another person… 6 degrees from everyone) How you understand the world, your reaction is based on who you’renetworked with  Jobs/moral support - Virtual communities- But can also isolate and split people up, reducing face to face interaction- They said the same about tv (the lonely crows, 1961)Functionalist View- Seek to describe important social functions of media- Functionalism is in decline: describes rather than explains; treats audience as passive; ignores negative effects Conflict Theory View- Focus on ownership and control- Exclude voices that lack economic power- Mass media excludes voices that don’t have economic power - Promote voices least likely to criticize prevailing wealth and power- Ideological bias Media Representation- Oversimplification and stereotypes - People of color-


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