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'Globalisation has occured in a Post-Modern society'

Pick 'n' Mix society - we have more choice with regards to identity & lifestyle

See global media as a positive influence - as can inject developed world with modern ideas/culture that will help develop those areas

Also seen as beneficial because it is primarily responsible for diffusing differental cultural styles around the world & creating new hyrbid styles         - made up of combinations of different cultures

argued that - in Postmodern global world, this cultural diversity & pluralism will become the 'global form'

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Multiple Realities:

- live in 'media saturated' society, bombarded with images which increasingly dominate the way we see ourselves & the world around us

it is argued that media images do not reflect or even distort reality, but in themselves are realities

- our consciousness is invaded by the 'multiple truths' provided by news, documentaries, music, adverts, soaps & movies, set in the past, present & future.

Media does not only provide multiple truths of reality, but these are also open to 'multiple interpretations'

Media audiences are active - individuals place their own interpretations on what they see, hear & read

As a result of these multiple realities and simulations provided by the media, the idea of an 'absolute truth' has gone

  • there is no longer a single dominant meaning, but instead multiple meanings
  • a single truth has become multiple truths as the media broadcast different perspectives/views from across the world & from past and present
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Simulation: -  Increasing amounts of exposure to the media in our everyday lives is increasingly bluring our vision between everyday reality and media images

  • the media provides us with much of our knowledge about the world, but this knowledge is not drawn from our own direct experience - instead is 'reproduced' knowledge - a 'simulation': represents the real thing, but is not a true/genuine representation - similar to a playstation game
  • This is known as a 'SIMULACRA' - where images of real events are so distorted/distanced from reality, that they actually replace reality
  • the reality of a missile hitting its target is not shown to the viewer, but its a simularcrum of the real event
  • media technology has removed the blood, suffering and corpses from war, as a result we view wars/disasters in the same way we view hollywood films - no longer can distinguish the difference (e.g. will ferrel 'Cool guys dont look at explosions')

Great example of 'simulacra' is the 'War of the Worlds' broadcast that suggested to listeners that an alien invasion was occuring - many missed the announcements that the broadcast was not real and so believed it to be true

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Images we experience from the media are becoming as, if not more real & significant than the things we experience in real life

e.g. the death of princess diana resulted in outpouring of grief across the world - but for vast majority she existed only through the media

Even fiction can become 'real' - a death, divorce or marriage in a soap opera glues millions to the screen and is talking about as if it actually happened in real life

- as the name suggests, reality TV brings 'real' people into our lives

due to the reality of the images presented by the media, it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine what is real and whats not e.g. some people  believe that the events in tiananmen square in china didn't actually happen and that is was just an image portrayed by the media

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Postmodern Identities:

in postmodern society, people have more opportunity to constuct their own identities & have more options to choose from e.g. women can be heterosexual, bisexual or lesbian or a buisness women or a mother

with all the choices on offer, it is fairly easy for people to change their identity, or to have several identities which they take on or take off depending on their social situation - as a result, Postmodern identities are more unstable & fragile

They offer choice but they dont always provide a firm and lasting foundation

Identity & the media:

the media offer a wide range of identities & lifestyles from which we can pick n choose           - adverts sell images/style rather than content & substance e.g. Jeans not marketed for quality or value for money but in style & label

According to Post modernists, people are increasingly constructing their own identities from images/lifestyles presented by the media

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The media allows us to criss-cross time and space -

  • Romeo & Juliet was written by Shakespeare in the 16th century but the film starring Leonardo di Caprio takes place in present day
  • Watching Tv news we can go around the world in 30mins, from Iraq to USA
  • Adverts use music from the 1950's, 60s & 70s to sell their products
  • Fashions in clothes recreate/replicate styles from the past

As a result, time & space is shrinking/being compressed - the world is becoming a smaller place - proximity is no longer an issue

- also time and space becomes 'less stable & comprehensible, more confused and disunified'

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Change in a Postmodern society:

Images and styles are constantly changing - the media regularly present new styles of music & fashion, new types of food & drink, new & improved household products etc, many of which are linked to new lifestyles

Often these products are associated with media personalities - e.g. Glow by JLO

As a result of this constant change and emphasis on the new, things in Post modern society appear fluid - nothing seems permanent and solid

The mainstream culture of modern society is replaced by the fleeting, unstable, fragmented culture of postmodern society

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Postmodernism & the media EVAL

Many sociologists are critical of the picture of the media and society presented by Postmodernists.

Philo & Miller make the following points:

  • there is no way of saying that reality is distorted by media images because, according to postmodernists, those images and the way people interpret them are the reality - this is carrying the idea of an active audience to a new extreme
  • people are well aware that there is a reality beyond the images broadcast by the media - people are not as naive as postmodernists present them to be - they recognise that media messages are often one-sided, partial & distorted
  • many people are not free to construct their own identities and select their own lifestyles like PM's suggest e.g. people living in poverty simply dont have the money to buy Gucci sunglasses

Despite the criticisms, many sociologists accept that the media are increasingly influential in todays society - and accept that there is some accuracy in the points made by PM's - but simply see their argument as going too far

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