Two ways in which media audiences select the messages they receive.

OCR SOCIOLOGY MASS MEDIA 

Outline and assess two ways in which media audiences select the messages they receive.

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Sociology Essay G673
Outline and assess two ways in which media audiences select the messages they
receive.
In sociology, it is the indirect theories that acknowledge that the media have on audience
but look beyond the simple one-way effects of media. They look at the way audiences
receive media messages and that the factors shaping this reception.
One way to look at the way in which media audiences select the messages they receive is
through theories put forward by interpretative. They focus on the way audiences
receive media messages and tend to see the audience as active in this process as
opposed to the passive audiences discussed by some other explanations.
Sociologists in questioning the power of mass media stressed the role of social
groups ­friends, neighbours and respected opinions leader (Katz and Lazarsfeld) - through
which media messages were filtered. This shows that the audience was a not a shapeless
`mass' but belonged to various social groupings. This was summed up by Joseph Klapper
(1960) who said `the mass media does not ordinarily serve as a necessary and sufficient
cause of audience effect, but rather functions through a number of mediating factors.'
Klapper (1960) formulated several generalizations on the effects of mass media. According
to him, the main mediating factors which he considers responsible for the functions and
effects of mass communications are Selective exposure; this is where audience
chooses which media to use on the basis of number of factors such as educational
background and work commitments. Secondly, Selective perception where the
audience may see media messages in a different ways. They do not perceive it or
make it fit for their existing opinion. Finally, selective retention is when the
audiences just simply attain some messages while forgetting the unsympathetic
material. This shows that the effect of the media depends on the way a message is
acknowledged by the audience. Audience can filter messages by either attending to or
receiving media message in a selective way, ignoring, reacting to, forgetting or
reinterpreting messages according to their own view point. However, one must note that
they there are no effective ways to measure audiences, or to measure all the individual's
responses to the media.
The idea that media audiences select the messages they receive was emphasized by Fiske
(1988) claimed that one important way in which people engage with media messages is
intertextually. This means that they may read one text in relation to others or they may use
one message system to engage with another. For example, relating soap operas to your own
life or relating interviews with actors to performance in a film. Audience can therefore
move between different levels of involvement in watching TV: engagement,
detachment and referential. This clearly supports the views that the audiences select the
messages they receive because they are seen as having the upper hand since it is them who
make popular culture in the way they respond to, consume or reject the offerings of media.

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Sociology Essay G673
A Second way in which audiences select the messages they receive is explained in the he uses and
gratifications approach. This approach stresses the views that different people use the
media in different ways in order to obtain different sorts of pleasure or meet
different sorts of needs. Individuals are viewed as active interpreters and choice-makers,
rather than as passive receivers of media messages.…read more

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