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Media Studies
Key Theories & Exam Prep…read more

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Uses and Gratification
· Why we consume media products? What are we getting out of it as a consumer?
· Users of media use the media texts to satisfy certain needs.
· Power lies with the audience not the producers.
· Emphasis on what audiences do with media texts, how and why we uses them. The audience is
free to reject, use or play with media products as they see fit.…read more

Slide 3

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Uses and Gratificaion
· Based on "Maslow's Hierarchy of needs", does not directly link to media products but we can look at the media
theorists who added to the Hierarchy of needs.
· Denis McQuail (1987):
· Information : finding out about the world; seeking advice; satisfying curiosity; education; gaining security though
knowledge, relevant to documentaries.
· Personal Identity : reinforcement of personal values; models of behavior; identifying with valued other; gaining
insight into oneself. The media products you use say something about you, e.g. Kerrang magazine, a badge of
honor, not only buying it for information but buying it to make a statement about oneself as a person ­ not
mainstream, alternative, different to others. Relevant now in sense of listening to certain radio station\artist , using
different form of social media.
· Integration and Social Interaction : gaining insight into circumstances of others; identifying with others; basis for
conversation with others; substitute for real life companionship; helping to carry out social roles; enabling connection
with family friends and society. Helps with empathy and identifying with others e.g. watching a documentary about
people in third world countries, its not an issue touching you personally but you are empathizing with those in that
· Entertainment : escapism; diversion; relaxation; cultural or aesthetic enjoyment; filling time; emotional release;
sexual arousal. E.g. watching Geordie shore its just entertainment.…read more

Slide 4

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Uses and Gratification
· James Lull (1990):
· Broke reasons down into 2 categories.
· Structural:
· Environmental: background noise; companionship; entertainment.
· Regulative: keeping time; part of pattern of daily life.
· Relational:
· Communication Facilitation: experience illustration; common ground; conversation starter; anxiety
reduction; agenda for talk; value clarification.
· Affiliation/Avoidance: physical/verbal contact/neglect; family solidarity; family relaxant/conflict reducer;
relationship maintenance.
· Social Learning: decision making; behaviour modelling; problem solving; value transmission;
legitimization; information dissemination; education.
· Competence/Dominance: role enactment; role reinforcement; substitute role portrayal; intellectual
validation; authority exercise; gatekeeping; argument facilitation.…read more

Slide 5

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Maslow's Hierarchy of needs
· Everything we do and every
media product we interact with
(watch, listen too, read..) we do
so for a reason, we are getting
something out of it.
· Maslow breaks down the reasons
into the Hierarchy.
· All the things at the bottom are
basic physiological things that we
need to do to survive. As we
move up the pyramid the reasons
for doing things become more
abstract, not physical real things
we can touch and feel, they are
concepts and ideas e.g.
`creativity'.…read more

Slide 6

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Uses and Gratification Issues
· We may not have choice about what we watch, for example advertising, anything
in the public domain that we see and consume.
· Neglects any aspects of effects theories.
· Neglects socio-economic factors ­ who you are, your background, lifestyle etc...…read more

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