Media: Cultural Pessimist Perspective

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  • Created on: 20-09-18 10:30

Not-so-new media

- Conford and Robbins (1999) argue that new media is not new because old tech is still used in the use of new media such as computer game consoles. They also suggest that interactivity is not something new as people would write to newspapers.

- The only thing new about new media is it's speed. New media is just an extension of traditional media

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Domination by media conglomerates

- Cultural pessimists criticise the idea that new media are increasing the potential for ordinary people to participate more fully in the democratic process.

- They argue that the role of the transnational media conglomerates in the development and control of the new media undermines the potential for media democracy. 

- Jenkins (2008) argues that most new media have developed as a result of investment by the big media corporations. Owning different types of media made it more desirable for companies to develop content across a variety of media platforms and delivery systems.

- Media superpowers have many advantages over individuals in setting up websites - they have funds for investment, techical expertise and it's easy for them to cross-promote products.

Conglomeration = a business corporation that consists of different companies with diverisified interests in a very wide range of products or services

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Commercialisation

- Millions of people use the internet to manage their bank accounts, buy shopping etc. Over ten years, there has been a major shift in internet activities from educational use to commercial use.

- Conford and Robbins acknowledge the side effects that come with increased consumer choice, for example many companies that sell products on the internet engage in consumer surveillance.

- Technologies like cookies can monitor and process the data generated by interactive media usage, so they can segment and target potential future audiences, and thus enhance profits.

- Marxists don't like this because they claim it is encouraging materialism, connsumerism and false needs, and thereby furthers capitalist comination and control.

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Reinforcing elite power

- Cornford and Robbins note that through a series of assertive tactics, media corporations seek to monopolise key strategic links within the new media. Jenkins also notes that not all participants are created equal, for example corporations still exert greater power than any individual consumer.

- Therefore, media tech is strengthening the power of existing elites rather than promoting alterantive ideas, free speech or democracy. The digital class divide also contributes to this inequality because it's probably those who are unable to access the internet who have the most genuine political grievances.

- Seaton (2003) argues that online political involvment probably mirrors the level of ordinary people's political involvement in the real world.

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Decline in popular culture

- Cultural pessimists argue that increased choice has led to a decline in the quality of popular culture. Harvey (2008) suggests that digital TV may have increased the number of channels to choose from, but this has led to a sumbing-down of popular culture as TV companies fill these channels with reality TV, gambling and repeats.

- Harvey also argues that TV culture transmits a 'candly floss culture' that speaks to everyone in general and no one in particular.

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