Sociology G673 power and control Effects the media has on society

Direct and in-direct theories

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Direct theories

Hypodermic Syringe model

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  • Media is like magic bullet, literally injects the message straight away.
  • Media targets certain people
  • Assumes three things about audience:
    • Passive-Don't put up a fight
    • Homogenous-All the same
    • Blank pages-Waiting to 'lap it up'
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Direct theories


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Feshbach and Singer

  • Media can have a direct effect by being cathartic ie a release of tension and emotion. If people watched violent films they felt less aggressive aferwards.


  • Listening to music decreased depression and reduced suicidal tendancies.
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In-direct theories

Two step flow model

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Katz and Lazarfeld

  • Interaction between people where an opinion leader influences views of others. Opinion leader often has had more exposure to the media and comes to be regarded as an expert.
  • Opinion leader takes on the media messages and passes them to another person, therefore two steps for media to have an effect.
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In-direct theories

Structured Interpretation model

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The effect of the media messages can be viewed in 3 ways. Morely argues we can have 1 of 3 responses which is either:

  • Dominant-You agree/go along with it
  • Oppositional-You disagree/have different views
  • Negotiated-Somewhere between dominant and oppositional
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In-direct theories

Cultural Effects model

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Argues that we receive media messages depending on our cultural background. E.g. Gender, social class, ethnicity or age. Some parts of the media could be interpreted differently E.g. Young peoples' views on binge drinking differ from older peoples.

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In-direct theories

Uses and Gratification model

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Blunler and McQuail (1968)

  • Argue people get what theywant from the media. E.g. Old people may watch soaps for companionship or family life whilst young people may watch 'skins' for relationship advice.
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In-direct theories

Drip Drip Effect

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Influences from the media build up over time. E.g. Ferguson-Cult of femininity and Wolf-Beauty myth

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In-direct theories

The Selective Filter model

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  • When viewing the media think of a sieve
    • Selective exposure
    • Selective perception
    • Selective retention
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