Final Study Guide
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Chapter Five: Media and Ideology
What is ideology?
A system of meaning that helps define and explain the world and that makes value judgments about that world.
In Karl Marx’s view, what type of consciousness was produced through ideology? “False consciousness” because their worldview served the interest of others. Social revolution depended on the working class breaking free of the ideas of the ruling class moving beyond their false consciousness and developing a “revolutionary consciousness.”
What is hegemony?
Hegemony operates at the level of common sense in the assumptions we make about social life and on the terrain of things that we accept as “natural” or “the way things are.” The notion connects questions of culture, power, and ideology. It isn’t permanent nor unalterable, but a process that was always in the making; ongoing. It produces norms through consent, not force, but it’s invisible.
How is mass media related to hegemony?
Mass media doesn’t simply reflect the world, they represent it, in turn defining reality. Media representations are intertwined with questions of power and ideology because the process of giving meaning to events suggests that, potentially, there are multiple definitions of reality. We also discuss several other topics like What is the definition of microbes?
How are “norms” produced?
The media give us pictures of social interaction and social institutions that, by their sheer repetition, on a daily basis, can play important roles in shaping broad social definitions. They’re produced through the process of hegemony.
What are the main goals of ideological analysis?
Ideological analysis is concerned about questions of power and the ways in which systems of meaningideologiesare part of the process wielding power. And it continues to focus on the question of domination and the ways certain groups fight to have their specific interests accepted as the general interests of a society. The contemporary study of ideology is more theoretically sophisticated, paying attention to the ongoing nature of ideological struggles and to how people negotiate with, and even oppose, the ideologies of the powerful.
Don't forget about the age old question of What is Anthropology?
Describe how economic reporting (in news media) reproduces ideology. How do media producers fall in the trap of reproducing ideology in their programming? Most of the news coverage of the economy is by and about the business community; it focuses on the interests and activities of the investors. The stock market ups and downs are used as an indicator of the economic health of the country, but about half of the country owns no stock and about 80 percent of stocks are owned by the wealthiest
10 percent this fails to recognize that different groups of people can have different economic interests.
What is consumer culture?
Advertisements are all around us constantly. They address us as consumers and celebrate and take for granted the consumercapitalist organization of society.
What have been the trends of representing “family” on American television and how is that related to the “American Dream?” If you want to learn more check out How placement of their buildings can enhance these relationships?
In the 50s and 60s television shows represented most families as white, middle class, happy, and secure in a suburban utopia where social problems were easily solved or nonexistent. The biggest change happened in the 70s with the “turn to relevance,” when the television family became a site where contemporary social and political issues were explored. By the middle of the 70s, the image of the family was neither all white nor all middle class, and domestic life was no longer a utopia; instead, the family was depicted as a source of conflict and struggle as well as comfort and love. Later, the “workfamily” was dominating television where the workplace became a place where people found support, community, and loyalty and served as an often warm and fuzzy kind of family for people who were more connected to their work than to their home lives. In all of these scenarios, television gave viewers satisfying families and happy endings that affirmed the basic outlines of the American Dream. The everchanging family images show that television programs and the ideology they circulate are far from static. In the midst of cultural conflict over the meaning of family today, network television images are, themselves, part of the ongoing ideological contest to shape the definition of a proper family. We also discuss several other topics like How does culture affect women's rights?
Chapter Six: Social Inequality and Media Representation
What is the relationship between media representations and “the real?” Representations are not reality, even if media readers or audiences may sometimes be tempted to judge them as such. Even those that try to reproduce reality, like documentaries, are the result of processes of selection that invariably mean that certain aspects of reality are highlighted and others neglected. Although media usually do not try to reflect the “real” world, there is potential social significance in all media products. The concept of a “real” world may seem like a quaint artifact from the past, but we generally agree with the social constructionist perspective, which suggests that no representation of reality can ever be totally “true” or “real” because it must inevitably frame an in issue and choose to include and exclude certain components of a multifaceted reality.
What is the relationship between media representations and social inequality? Media use texts to comment on the real world through messages and significances. Meaning is given to social groups, etc. Representations, however, do NOT create inequality.
According to Croteau and Hoynes, what are the three main “issues” related to media representations and analysis?
Three crucial issues emerge: inclusion (do media include images, views, and cultures of different racial and ethnic groups in content?), roles (when producers do include minorities, how are they portrayed?), and control (do people from different racial and Don't forget about the age old question of what are the common destructive patterns in relationships?
ethnic groups have control over the creation and production of media images that feature different groups?).
What is the difference between traditional and modern racism and which do we see more often in contemporary media?
We most often see modern racism in contemporary media, which is more subtle than traditional racism, but perhaps equally powerful. Traditional racism involves open bigotry usually based on beliefs about the biological inferiority of blacks. Modern racism is a “compound of hostility, rejections, and denial on the part of Whites toward the activities and aspirations of black people.” Modern racism if more complex and eschews oldfashioned racist images and as a result, “stereotypes are now more subtle, and stereotyped thinking is reinforced at levels likely to remain below conscious awareness.”
What are some examples of early images of race in media?
the loyal, devoted, and content house slave who double as comic relief because of his superstitious beliefs and fear of ghosts in the novel The Spy. Whites in blackface reforming racists stage acts, portraying blacks as clownish buffoons. Minstrel shows and also stage representations of Native Americans that degraded these racial groups.
Where do we see examples of modern racism in news media? The local news prominently covered the activities of politically active African Americans. We could easily see the exclusion of such activities as racially motivated, but here, the form of their inclusion suggests a racist image since “black activists often appeared pleading the interests of the black community, while white leaders were much more frequently depicted as representing the entire community.” Thus, it’s possible for viewers to get the impression that blacks are pursuing a politics of “special interests” rather than of public interest. Additionally, the frequent representation of people of color involved in bizarre elements of minority communities like gangs, immigration, and violence stereotypes racial minorities as “problem people,” groups that either beset by problems or causing them for the larger society.” Don't forget about the age old question of What are the Business Ethics Include?
What does it mean when Croteau and Hoynes argue that “whiteness” is invisible in representations of race?
Historically, the US media have taken “whites” to be the norm against which all other racial groups are measured. The takenforgranted nature of “whiteness” means that it need not be explicitly identified. The pervasiveness of white perspectives in media is perhaps its most powerful characteristic.
Chapter Seven: Media Influence and the Political World (pp. 235254)
According to the Hypodermic Model, what type of influence do media have on consumers/audiences?
A direct and powerful influence, with the media injecting a message directly into the “bloodstream” of the public.
Explain the twostep flow that is associated with the Minimal Effects Model.
The media transmitted information to opinion leaders who tended to pay close attention to the news media. These leaders, in turn, could influence those with whom they had personal contact.
What is agenda setting?
The news “may not be successful in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about.” This ability to direct people’s attention toward certain issues became known as agenda setting, which highlights the important role journalists play in selecting and shaping the news.
What is priming?
Priming is a related phenomenon to agenda setting that involves mass media attending to certain issues or aspects of an issue, thereby increasing the sensitivity of audiences to the significance of such information. (ex. focus by the media on economic issues can
“prime” audiences to pay special attention to the economic qualifications of a candidate.)
What is the “mainstreaming effect” within Cultivation Theory? Immersion in television culture produces a “mainstreaming” effect whereby differences based on cultural, social, and political characteristics are muted in heavy viewers of television. The result is that heavy television viewers internalize many of the distorted views of the social and political world presented by television.
Chapter Eight: Active Audiences and the Construction of Meaning
What are the main differences between “direct” models of the audience and the theory of the “active audience?”
A long line of media research has argued that mass media serve primarily to transmit the ideas of the dominant groups in society to the population. In this view, people are indoctrinated by media in ways that are often so thorough that they don’t even realize they are being dominated. The notion of an active audience appeals to our belief in the
intelligence and autonomy of individuals. The term is both a critique of cynicism about the power of media and an expression of faith in the power of people.
What are the four main ways that audiences can be “active?”
Through individual interpretation of media products, through collective interpretation of media, through collective political action, and through producing their own audience centered media.
Does “active audience” theory mean that there is no influence by ideology? No, there is still influence.
What does polysemic mean as it related to media and audiences? To have multiple meanings.
How do social locations play a role in audience interpretation? It shapes who we talk to about different media, what we perceive to be our own best interests and most important concerns, and what kinds of interpretive frameworks we bring to our media experiences.
What is the difference between encoding and decoding, according to Stewart Hall?
A method that highlights both messages and their interpretations by audiences. The media message is constructed or “encoded” by a producer, and that message is interpreted or “decoded” by audiences.
What are the three types of decoding “readings,” according to Stewart Hall, and what are the differences between them?
“Dominant/hegemonic”, where the audience interprets text exactly how producers want them to. “Negotiated” readings where audience takes some of what was encoded, but forms individual opinions in addition. “Oppositional” where audience actively reinterpret the text, interpretive resistance.
Which decoding “reading” is related to “preferred meanings” generated by media Producers?
Dominant hegemonic, the media producers want you think something and it is what you think. The preferred meaning is that the audience will decode the media exactly as the producers encoded it.
What is “interpretative resistance” and what are some examples? Some audiences interpret media texts in an “oppositional” way or engage in a kind of interpretive “resistance.” Some critics argue that a political struggle is occurring at the level of individual interpretation, thereby rescuing “the people” from a perception that they consent to current social and political arrangements. Audiences “resist” the imposition of preferred meanings, actively reinterpreting media messages in contrary, even subversive way. An example is the ways that “culture jamming” when activists remake billboards to create counteradvertisements with messages that parody or criticize the original ad is creating “a climate of semiotic Robin Hoodism.”
What were David Morely’s main findings about gender and television viewing? Gender is one of the keys to understanding how people experience television. If we focus our attention on the use of television in a family context, this should not surprise us. Roles in the family are structured, to a great degree, by gender, and Morely’s study focused on relatively traditional British families, in which gender roles are likely to be clearly defined. Since men have a tendency to control the program selection process, television is a potential site for domestic power struggles. Men and women watch television very differently. Men indicate that either they are attentive when watching or they don’t watch at all. Women see television viewing as a social act that is accompanied by conversation and other household activities. For women, sitting down and watching without doing something else seems like a waste of time. Our interpretations of programs are connected to our engagement and we have many variations of engagement.
What are some of the main activities of fan communities?
Fans are active interpreters of media, paying careful attention to nuances of plot development, character traits, and narrative techniques. They typically accumulate substantial knowledge about their favorite media texts, paying attention, for example, to a director’s background, a musician’s travel experiences, or narrative loose ends from a prequel. Learning background information is a defining feature of the fan experience
and the depth of knowledge and intensity of commitment is part of what differentiates fans from casual audiences. Fans use their knowledge as an interpretive resource.
Fandom is a social activity. Many fans are active participants in fan communities, which typically offer fans regular opportunities to share their media interests with likeminded others. For many fans, some kind of ongoing interaction with other fans in the core activity of the media fan experience.
Some fans become activists, participating in collective action aimed at promoting, saving, or changing a particular media form or text. Fans are passionate about their chosen media and they are connected through shared participation in fan communities, so their already organized and ready to mobilize in the face of a perceived injustice.
Fans have long been producers of their own media, and these often serve as valuable resources for building and maintaining connections within fan communities. In the predigital era, fans produced and distributed their own, often photocopied, publications that were full of fan commentary about a specific media form. Fans of Star Trek, one of the first organized fan communities, were pioneers in the development of fan fiction, stories written by fans that extend storylines, often imagining new experiences and challenges for the major characters.
Chapter Ten: Media in a Changing Global Culture
What does Marshall McLuhan’s “global village” mean and how is it different than the theory of “cultural imperialism?”
The result of instantaneous mass communication across the globe being possible, people of the world would be brought closer together as they made their voices heard forming a single community. The theory of cultural imperialism is the argument that a large volume of media products flow from the West, especially the US, and so powerfully shape the cultures of other nations they they amount to a cultural form of domination.
According to the theory of “cultural imperialism,” what are the main concerns for local cultures?
The idea of cultures losing their distinctive elements is perhaps what critics fear most. If music, literature, film, and television become globally mass produced as homogenized like so many standardized McDonald’s restaurants strewn across the international cultural landscape then the world as a whole loses.
What are the main problems with the “cultural imperialism” theory? First, it often does not distinguish between different types of media, US products clearly dominate some media sectors, most notably the movie industry, while other media continue to be primarily local in nature, such as much of print. Second, it generally assumes a passive audience, failing to take into account the multiple interpretive strategies used by audiences in different cultures. Third, it likely underestimates the role played by local media. Locally produced media content, finely attuned to local culture, tends to be enormously popular, thus, local producers have in some cases successfully competed with the global media conglomerates by providing localized alternatives that differentiate themselves from homogenized international media fare. Fourth, media corporations know that there are limits to the appeal of Western,
particularly US, culture in other nations. In response to changing circumstances, many multinational corporations have become more sophisticated in addressing local markets in foreign countries.
According to Croteau and Hoynes, what are the two main components to globalization?
The first relates to the changing role of geography and physical distance and the growing interconnectedness and intensification of connections. Globalization carries this phenomenon to its global limits, enabling almost instantaneous communications around the world. Such electronic communication has been a feature of globalization at the same time as it has facilitated other forms of globalization, such as international finance and manufacturing which would be impossible without international communication networks. The second dimension involves the content of this communication. With electronic media, the ideas, images, and sounds of different cultures are potentially available to vast networks of people outside the culture from which the message originated. In this sense, culture become more accessible to larger numbers of people with both potentially positive outcomes and potentially negative consequences.
What is the “global digital divide?”
The gap in access to information and communication technologies.