Chapter 2: Making Sense of Research on Media Effects and Media Culture
Chapter 2: Making Sense of Research on Media Effects and Media Culture Comm 130
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Date Created: 02/14/16
Chapter 2 Making Sense of Research on Media Effects and Media Culture a 02122016 The use of systematic methods to understand or solve problems regarding the mass media Early Critical Studies Research 20th century Industrial Revolution Asked the following 0 Could the traditional sense of community be sustained in cities where so few people cared about one another 0 Could the torrents of immigrants be brought into the mainstream of American society so that they considered its values their own Researchers argued that the media brought together large numbers of geographically separated diverse individuals who would otherwise be disconnected from one another and from a common notion of society and allowed them to share ideas about the society without assembling in the same geographic area Said if media rms acted responsible Americans could learn ideas that were essential to their democracy from the media s messages The Chicago School Most similar to today 0 Immigration Wealth gap between rich and everyone else 0 Industrial vs technological revolution Stressed the importance of patterned product Early Concerns about Persuasion Fearing Propaganda Lasswell and other researchers feared that powerful interest groups in a society would use mass media as messages designed to change the attitudes and behavior of huge numbers of otherwise disconnected individuals on controversial social issues Stemmed from successful manipulation of newspaper reports and photographs by both the Allies and German government during WWI Journalist Walter Lippmann argues the most important culprits hindering US newspapers objectivity was the journalists themselves 0 the notion that the media create quotthe ideas in our headsquot about what is going on the world gives us an agenda of importance byt lets you have your own opinion about it o the systematic examination of mass media messages that seem designed to sway the attitudes of large populations on controversial issues 0 Took a or approach to mass communication the idea that messages delivered through the mass media persuade all people powerfully and directly as if they were hit by a bullet or injected by a needle without the people have any control over the way they react Kids and Movies Continuing Effects Research By 19205 any were worried about whether speci c lms might be negatively affecting youngsters Motion Pictures and Youth Payne Fund Studies looked at the effects of particular lms on sleep patterns knowledge about foreign cultures attitudes about violence and delinquent behavior and the Media Interactions among people that in uence the way individuals interpret media messages In 19405 researchers began to think of placing social relations alongside individual and psychological differences as a major factor in helping determine the different understandings that people draw from the media 0 Ex Lasarzfeld wanted to nd out whether asking people questions about the election once a month during the election campaign would lead to their answering questions differently through a o Eventually found that voters learned more about what was going on in the election through discussions with friends and acquaintances than through news coverage 0 Led Lazarsfeld to the 1 media content opinion and fact is picked up by people who use the media frequently and 2 these people act as opinion leaders when they discuss the media with others in uencing the others Columb l i f 39 ogram also co examini nd their au passive messag l content persona nds interest onal relation 0 Best kn this researc studies e media ducts to meet their needs and interests asks questions about why individuals use mass media 0 lnvolves interviewing and surveys The Limits of Propaganda Limited Effects Research Propaganda became an important tool during WWII and the Cold War Research on the power of these media was carried out as part of an investigation call quotThe American Soldierquot 0 Carl Hovland conducted a study in which randomly selected people are manipulated in a relatively controlled environment without knowing that they are involved in an experiment Concluded that the mass media s ability to change people s attitudes and behavior on controversial issues was minimal Key Words Panel survey asking the same individuals questions over a period of time in order to nd out whether and how the attitudes of these people change over time Consolidating the Mainstream Approach Mainstream approach the research models that developed out of the work of the Columbia School Yale and Payne Fund Sudies Studying Opinion and Behavior Change Most researchers agree on the following 0 The ways in which adults and children react to such materials depend greatly on family background social setting and personality 0 Consistent viewing of violent TV shows or movies may cause children to become aggressive regardless of family background 0 Heavy exposure to violent sexual materials in which men hurt women or vice versa may desensitize viewers to the seriousness of rape and other forms of sexual violence Can Media Encourage Learning Skills in Children Wartella planned educational programs have been found to increase children s interest in educational content and shows that focus on positive behaviors can also be successful ex Sesame Street Bill Nye the Science Guy Reading Rainbow Magic School Bus Which Individuals Learn about National and World Affairs from the Mass Media UNC Chapel Hill study demonstrates the agendasetting effect mass media agendasetting has the ability to affect spark public dialogue on major topics facing the nation but not the opinions they should have 0 Found that people who are informationrich to begin with will get richer faster than people are informationpoor o a theory that holds that in the development of any social or political issues the more highly educated segments of a population know more about the issues early on and acquire information about that issue at a faster rate then the less educated segments the difference between the two types of people grows wider the separation between those who have access to and knowledge about technology and those who do not perhaps because of their level of education or income 2 major problems with even the best mainstream research 1 it stresses change rather then continuity i ignores the possibility that the most important effects on the media don t have to do with changing people but with encouraging them to continue certain actions or perspectives on life 2 it emphasizes the active role on the individual in the media and not on the power of larger social forces that control the media environment i neglected to emphasize that there are powerful forces that exert control over what media industries do as part of their control over society Key Words the process by which the media affect the standard that individuals use to evaluate what they see and hear in the media The Rise of Critical Approaches The Deep Political In uence of the Media The Frankfurt School Scholars and philosophers of the School for Social Research shared the basic view of set forth by Karl Marx Marx beived that capitalism and the beliefs it generates create economic and cultural problems exploit the working class and celebrate that exploitation Frankfurt School focused on the cultural aspect of this issue writing the theories focusing on the corrosive in uence of capitals on culture Marcuse suggested to researchers how messages about social power can be found in all aspects of media content even if typical audience members don t recognize them 0 expresses the way in which capitalism takes potentially revolutionary ideas and tames them to express capitalist ideals Political Economy Research an area of study that focuses speci cally on the relationship between the economic and the cultural and that looks at when and how the economic structures of society and the media system re ect the political interests of society s rich and powerful Robert McChesney quotthe problem of the mediaquot is that we have reached the quotage of commercialismquot where media worry far more about satisfying advertisers and shareholders than entertainment 0 Ben Bagdikian huge media rms are often involved in many businesses outside journalism con ict of interest 0 Many political scientists study and Studies that emphasize that when media systematically portray certain populations in unfavorable ways the ideas that mainstream audiences pick up about those people help certain groups in society retain their power over the groups they denigrate 0 Most associated with Professor George Gerbner at Penn s Annenberg School argues that TV violence is a kind of ritual ballet that acts out social power and the overall message of TV violence is that we live in a scary mean world 0 Sum total of what people see in mainstream media give reinforcement of certain stereotypes Key Word Capitalism as de ned by Karl Marx the ownership of the means of production by a ruling class in society Colonialism control over a dependent area or people by a powerful entity by force or arms Cultural colonialism the exercise of control over an area or people by a dominant power not so much through force of arms as by surrounding the weaker countries with cultural materials that re ect values and beliefs supporting the interests of that dominant power Studies that start with the idea that all sorts of mass media from newspapers to movies present their audiences with technologies and texts and that audiences find meaning in them scholars then ask questions that center on how to think about what quotmaking meaningquot of technologies and texts means and what consequences it has for those audiences in society Historical Approaches to Cultural Studies Professor Lynn Spigel explores the expectations that men and women have had for audiovisual technologies in the home and how those expectations have tied into larger social issues 0 Ex a historical relationship between home TV use and social fear Anthropological Approaches to Cultural Studies Closely examine the way people use media by tying people s uses of media to their class racial or gender positions within society 0 Professor Ellen Sieter 1997 wrote on differences between men and women and the use of television and computers in the home Linguistic and Literary Approaches to Cultural Studies Less straightforward and more difficult to understand than the historical and anthropological approaches nding out where the meaning of the text lies 0 On one extreme are scholars who believe text is open to multiple meanings o The other side is that the meaning is the text itself
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