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Flashcards in Soc 100 - Media Deck (54):

Religion, Politics, & Education are all... Explain.

centrally-directed attempts to shape society as a whole:�-Religion & Politics present alternative ways to coordinate society: for Struc Functionalists they ensure social solidarity; for Critical Theorists, they help one group control the others�


Diff between Religion/Politics and Education

Religion & Politics are central structuring features of society, whilst Education is one specific program aimed at a particular goal in society�.


Mass Media vs Mass Communication

The technology (print, radio, television, internet) that allow mass communicationvsThe actual transmission of message from one source to huge audience at same time


A medium (plural = media) is ...

the thing we use to carry a message.



Media’s power to select which topics we think and talk about.Whatever gets discussed in the media is likely to be uppermost in our thoughts�.


Who wrote "Deciding What's News" and what is it?

Herbert J Gans.empirical study of news media: how do they decide what appears on our screens?Gans’s study involved interviews with journalists etc, and analysis of news stories.


What did Gans discover a prevalence of in the media?

negative news – stories of crime or war, instead of ‘positive’ ones: “if it bleeds, it leads.�"


What has happened to ownership of media in recent decades? Examples?

concentration of ownership: more and more of media concentrated in fewer & fewer hands.Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has global media interests, owning tv & newspapers in many countries.Most of Canada’s mass-media is privately owned�


What was the 1981 Kent Commission?

criticised near-monopolies in Canadian media ownership: it suggested that something should be done to preserve small newspapers. Stalled by political pressures�.


What did Gans discover about messages of an owners' political allies? What does this lead to?

media deliver messages that won’t embarrass owners’ political allies.Leads to narrow selection of political viewpoints.Media restricted in views it can set forth�



Large business structure with interests in a variety of fields (e.g. gambling, movies, drinks, media)�


What did Gans discover about the importance of market considerations in choosing stories (what does the audience want to hear)?

Simple, entertaining stories, e.g. about celebrities, were more popular than news about elections in Italy, say�.


How is media driven by commercial concerns too? Consequences?

they’re increasingly owned by large conglomerates not just focused on news.Therefore, more driven by concerns of profit, not truth: Larger corporations have a duty to their shareholders.Therefore, costs are cut, and marketable news is preferred�.


How does the brevity of news bulletins affect what is covered? What does this mean or politicians?

Difficult to present complexity of real issues in a short tv news bulletin: must be simplified so people don’t turn off�-news coverage focuses increasingly on personality, not issues: politicians are judged only as characters, and interesting or charismatic ones are favoured�


What are political stories often reduced to now? Example?

reduced to soundbites, or presented in simplified, ideologically-slanted way. Newspapers often just report polls instead of discussing issues.Joseph Kony not a media issue – until it was simplified in a glossy, easily-relatable video�.


Colonization of the Lifeworld

Habermas’s term for increasing dominance of impersonal system motives (profit, power etc) in areas previously open to free debate.Seen in effects of profit motive on media’s ability to be a space for public discourse�


What did Jurgen Habermas argue about 18th century Europe?

Habermas’s term for increasing dominance of impersonal system motives (profit, power etc) in areas previously open to free debate.Seen in effects of profit motive on media’s ability to be a space for public discourse�


To Habermas, what happens to free, open debate as society gets more complex?

it relies more on impersonal systems such as political power or money to simplify interaction. Too hard to decide everything as individual decisions�.


How does commercialisation of the media represent colonisation of the lifeworld by system imperatives�?

media should be part of fluid public sphere, with open debate, but this is harmed by profit motive, which fixes (or reifies) arena of lifeworld debate�.


Struct Funct view of mass media?

Mass media help transmit shared values and preserve culture of community.Media can transmit vital information quickly�.-look at how media as a whole transmit certain values or information important to society: they look at media within the larger whole�


Critical Th view of Mass Media?

Mass media serve interests of their wealthy owners.Media are a way to dominate discourse & gain ideological hegemony over masses�-look at what the media say, and who controls the media: they suggest that mass media serve function of ‘brainwashing’ the masses�


To Struct Funct, what are the three tasks media fulfils to society as a whole?

Socialization: Like education, mass media can present a single standard view of society as a whole, ensuring cohesion.Robert Park (1922) examined role of newspapers in helping immigrants adjust to values of new country�Enforcing Social Norms: In both news and entertainment, we see criminals being punished when they break social rules�Economic Stimulus: Media promote consumption through advertising, thus helping economy�


Gatekeeping and Alternative Media

Gatekeeping: Actively preventing certain ideas, values, people, lifestyles from appearing in media�Alternative Media: Less prominent media sources, but used by subordinate groups to transmit views�


Gans discovered that news is slanted in a way that flatters those...

with power over the media – thus presenting their views first�


Epistemic Closure

When individuals choose only news outlets that agree with their politics, they find only confirmation of their beliefs.Possible in highly marketised media world�


Modern highly-specialized media market allows us to choose only... Consequences?

news outlets that agree with us�.-In the US, Fox News is highly conservative; MSNBC is generally liberal. Mass market allows such exact specialisation�-As a result, we constantly hear things that confirm what we already know, and never get the opposite view.We live in a closed world, in which what we already believe to be true is constantly reinforced�


Cultivation Theory

Masses are terrified by constant images of threats and conflict on tv.Consequently, they support hardline solutions for nonexistent problems�.


What did George Gerbner and Larry Gross explore? What did they find?

explore ways television creates a climate of fear that politicians can exploit.People exposed to large amounts of violence on tv have exaggerated fears about violence in world.Consequently, they support hardline political solutions, e.g. very strict policing, wars against international “threats.”


What did Franz Neumann's Anxiety and Politics explore?

explores cultivation theory in rise of Fascism, using Freudian theory.By making people afraid, Fascist leaders gain support�


How does the media often present violence?

present glamourised version of violence: the good guys’ hair is never out of place in a fight, and only the bad guys die. Violence is exalted.


How do Robert Merton and Paul Lazarsfeld argue that media can be dysfunctional?

narcotizes us, by overstimulating us. We suffer ‘compassion fatigue’ from seeing too many disasters. We become desensitised to violence�.


What research provides conflicting evidence on the issue of compassion fatigue and violence desensitization?

Violence on tv has some definite short-term effects on behaviour, but link with longer term violence is less clear.Japanese media depict extreme violence – but not reflected in Japanese society�.


How is Cultivation THeory and similar arguments criticized?

for overstating effect of media on people: implies we’re too easy to influence, and have no resistance at all to media message�s.



When differences disappear, and we all become the same. Mass media encourage cultural homogenisation�.


How does the power of money shape media across the globe? Consequences?

the richest parts of the world will be able to dominate the world culturally.Big movies cost a lot to make; news broadcasts require money.This means American values, ideas, and culture spread everywhere: they have largest entertainment industry of all.-This leads to risk of homogenisation, as other cultures are pushed out by American dominance: we all become the same�.


How do some countries defend own culture against US?

Canada has ‘Canadian content’ regulations (‘CanCon’) mandating a certain about of Canadian-produced media.We’re supposed to use Canadian-produced textbooks in class�!


Niche Marketing

Advertisers target very specific segments of the population with carefully-focused commercials and messages�.


How do advertisers use sociological information? How does this classify society?

to target their products at very specific groups:They need to find out what these groups value, what sort of income they have, what they need in life.-Society classified as a variety of subcultures, each with distinct needs and their own cultural ‘languages’ to be interpreted.Different brands appeal to these values – they become associated with specific groups�


The Medium is the Message�

McLuhan’s famous statement that how the media says something is more important than what it says�


What did Edmonton's Marshall McLuhan argue?

that the media are more effective if they know how to target their messages: instead of appealing to rational thought, they should appeal to basic visceral emotions, and bypass critical thought�.


What did Marshall McLuhan think about visual media? How do advertisers exploit this?

He argues that visual media (e.g. television) are more direct, and thus more effective, than printed media (e.g. books).-We respond more directly and less critically to visual media�.Advertisers use this to appeal directly to our inner instincts: they aim at our unconscious desires, not our rational thought�.


Commodity Fetishism

Originally a Marxist term, but changed & adapted by Baudrillard to describe the way we desire a product for its cultural value, not its actual use� (apple products lol)-we treat them as if they have ‘magical powers’ independent of the material object�


According to Baudrillard, what do we want instead of the concrete material item?

we view the world as a set of brands, which are somehow more important for what they represent than what they are.�



The ultra-bright, fast-moving, sensory overload world produced by the mass media – which overwhelms the dull material world underneath� (what we actually live in)


What did Baudrillard famously suggest about the first Gulf War? What does it make impossible to do?

suggested that the first Gulf War (1990-1) ‘did not happen’: it was really just a media event.The war as depicted on tv – the war that people thought was happening – was a carefully-packaged presentation, like a video game, a neat package of military precision�.-This profusion of images makes it impossible for us to distinguish between reality and manufactured hyperreality�


Cultural Studies

Sociological study of various aspects of culture – both ‘high art’ and mass entertainment.Examines movies, tv, news etc to see what we can learn about a society from them�


How are female disney characters really there just for the male characters?

Big eyes, small mouths, slim figures – a very narrow interpretation of ‘beauty.’ They are there to attract a man!Women are shown as passive. Male characters are the heroes – they usually end up rescuing the women. Even ‘heroic’ females (Mulan) end up with marriage & children�.


How are characters with 'foreign' accents portrayed in Disney?

either villains or ‘lesser’ characters, often used for comic effect�.


How does Disney treat black people particularly?

Noticeably urban, black accents used to voice villains.Often represented as less noble animals – orangutans (who want to be “like a real human”) or hyenas�.


Male Gaze

Feminist concept to describe the way women are generally expected to present themselves to be judged by men.Women are trained to spend a long time looking good – to attract the ubiquitous male eye�.


How does Suzanna Walters' suggest that women are always represented according to the male gaze?

Female characters are there to be looked at – they are passive, but pretty. They motivate the men but do nothing themselves�.


In media more generally, women (e.g. politicians) are much more likely to be described in terms of ...

Appearance, not action. (Sarah Palin)



Tendency for European/Western writers to depict other parts of world (especially Asia) as ‘mysterious’ and ‘magical.’Makes these areas seem irrational & pre-modern – only there for white man to ‘find�'


How does Aladdin and Mulan represent Arabic and Chinese cultures? What are the heroes seen struggling against?

as regressive, brutal, or oppressive places.The heroes seen struggling against general ‘barbarism.’