Rise of mass media sociology

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Ownership of Media Industries:

  • Concentration = Ever fewer firms own/control ever larger shares of media industry
  • Conglomeration = Different companies merge or are taken over by a parent group to form conglomerates of subsidiaries. 
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Effects of Media concentration:

  • 1) Synergies and cross-promotion
  • 2) incrase competitiveness
  • 3) Promotional culture
  • 4) political power - "while control of images or information can never be total, owners can tilt the scales in particular directions quite drastically' 
  • 5) Diversity v homegenisation - proliferation of niche programming,,, but within a 'logic of safety' 
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Mediated quasi-interaction:

  • Thompson (2000) argued that media are not just about communication - they make possible new forms of social interaction.
  • Face to face interaction = is space and time dependent - depends on co-presence (being in same place at same time as each other) 
  • mediated interaction = is point to point communication through a technical medium - telephone, telegraph, letter, emails = space and time dependent. 
  • Mediated quasi-interaction = is the form of communication presented by TV. it exist alongside direct face to face interaction, and also mediated interaction. space and time relation broken, but both still managed centrally. 
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The Public Sphere:

  • it is a realm of disinterested, democratic public debate which (should) exist and where state decision and machinery can be publicly questioned. 
  • should exist in the 'free' space between: 
  • Political authority (the state) 
  • and Civil society: (a) markets and commerical interests (b) private family interests. 
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Erosion of public sphere:

  • Citizens treated by media as private consumers rather than active, informed citizens. 
  • Trivialisation of media content
  • depoliticisation of culture and society.
  • removes the groups for critique of authortiy and powerful insitutions. 
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Ideal of public service broadcasting: (BBC)

  • 1) Diversity requirement
  • 2) Monopoly control
  • 3) But growing Marketisation.

Criticisms of ideal of public service: 

  • BBC - under the thumb of the state and government
  • public sphere requires a radical democracy 
  • TV remains a visual medium 
  • Tv is mediated quasi interaction - no room for feedback
  • loss of common audience; fragmentation of the market 
  • Deregulation - increasing commercialisation. 
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Network Society: Castells:

  • Technological revolution
  • economic global interdependence 
  • collapse of communism and statism
  • networking anddecentralisation of firms 
  • decline in power of labout and welfarism
  • deregulation of markets
  • heightened economic competition
  • accentuated uneven development. 
  • On the other hand: 
  • 'dynamic segments and territories' generating 'formidable productive forces of the informational revolution'
  • on the other hand"
  • 'black holes of human misert' which 'risk becoming irrelevant from the perspective of the systems logic' (CASTELLS 2000) 
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Informational politics:

  • Castell writes:
  • 'political information and communication are essentially captured in the space of the media, outside the space of the media there is only political marginality... the logic and organisation of electronic media frame politics' (2004)

Why is politics locked in the 'space of the media?' 

  • the construction and measurment of public opinion
  • 'without an active presence in the media, political proposals or candidates do not stand a chance of gathering broad support' (CASTELLS 2004)

Effects: 

  • Because politics is dominated by media, key structural characteristics of the media come to dominate politics.
  • Major effect: the politics of scandal. 
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Politics of SCANDAL :

  • political competition forces concentration on the 'centre ground'
  • personalisation forces attention onto leaders qualities.
  • main reason: media become brokers of symbolic power (Murdoch) 
  • 'scandal politics is the weapon of choice for struggles and competition in informational politics' (Castells 2004) 
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Politics of Scandal as result of NEW MEDIA VISIBIL

  • 1) new media communication techno expose politicians to endless and unpredictable forms of public visibility.
  • 2) new journalistic culture of disclosure rather than deference: 
  • the new emphasis on investigative reporting helped alter the culture of journalism. 
  • difficult to maintain a sharp distinction between secrets bearing on the exercise of power and secrets concerning the conduct of private life (thompson 2000) 
  • 3) weakining of previous links between class and political positions: leaders now struggle to win support of a growing pool of uncommitted voters by appealing to them to trust their judgement on personal grounds rather than ideological ones. 
  • hence the question of trust becomes a cornerstone for politicans' to get support creating huge tests for politicians and resultingi n a repeated scandals. 
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POWER of the MEDIA: Perspectives:

  • Castells: informational politics means media dominate the political terrain and dictate its terms... but they dont impose messages and content is often diverse (audiences are not manipulated) 
  • Couldry: media construct a 'myth of the centre' in which politicans and other (celebs, public figures, writes etc) are constrained to tell particular stories in particular ways according to the 'production logic' of tv and the screen - only some stories win out. 
  • Chomsky and Herman: media operate through a 'propaganda model' in which they follow the logic of big business, producing a sanitised version of reality ion whic helites set the agenda - telling us not what to think but what to think about. 
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POWER of the MEDIA: Perspectives:

  • Castells: informational politics means media dominate the political terrain and dictate its terms... but they dont impose messages and content is often diverse (audiences are not manipulated) 
  • Couldry: media construct a 'myth of the centre' in which politicans and other (celebs, public figures, writes etc) are constrained to tell particular stories in particular ways according to the 'production logic' of tv and the screen - only some stories win out. 
  • Chomsky and Herman: media operate through a 'propaganda model' in which they follow the logic of big business, producing a sanitised version of reality ion whic helites set the agenda - telling us not what to think but what to think about. 
  • Catells seems to suggest that the media are a space wherein public opinion is sought and communicated. 
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Media and Democracy:

  • decline in participation in conventional politics
  • how do journalism practices contribute to a engaged/disengaged citizenry? 
  • Study analysed 5,658 TV news stories in UK and US: 
  • Findings: most refered to citizens views do not involve polls or surverys of any kinds
  • where citizens given vox-pops they are a political: citizens 'shown a passive observers of the worlsd' and 'the world of politics is left to the politicians and experts." 
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TV references to public opinions:

  • POLLS - topic-specific v horse-race:
  • few topic-spcifice polls refered to... horse race polls dominanted.
  • Inferences by media personnel and politicians:
  • Vox Pops:
  • those that there were focused on gauging election results.
  • 'Live' interaction with members of the public.:
  • were of placardwaving variety.
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TV references to public opinions:

  • POLLS - topic-specific v horse-race:
  • few topic-spcifice polls refered to... horse race polls dominanted.
  • Inferences by media personnel and politicians:
  • Vox Pops:
  • those that there were focused on gauging election results.
  • 'Live' interaction with members of the public.:
  • were of placardwaving variety.
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