The Postmodernist view of the media


Postmodernist view

  • More similar to Pluralist than Marxist view.
  • Globalized media offers population more choice in terms of their consumption patterns and lifestyles.
  • Opens up greater global awareness and access to a diversity of cultures.
  • More opportunities to form identities unconstrained by the limited horizons of local cultures.
  • Baudrillard (1988, 2001)
    • We now live in a media-saturated society in which media images dominate and distort the way we see the world.
    • E.g. sanitised presentation of war.
    • Calls this distorted view hyperreality.
    • Media presents simulacra - artificial make-believe images or reproductions/copies of real events which bear little or no relationship to the real world and which are viewed simultaneously across the world.
  • Media no longer reflects reality but actively creates it.
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Postmodernist view (cont.)

  • Garrod (2004)
    • Reality TV shows and social networking sites are blurring the boundaries between 'reality' and 'hyperreality', leaving audiences confused about what is real and what is media-created.
  • Strinati (1995)
    • Importance and power of the media in shaping consumer choices.
    • Popular culture and media images bombard us daily.
  • Baudrillard suggests that we identify more with media images than we do with our own daily experiences and increasingly live media-led virtual lives.
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Criticisms of Postmodernist views of the media

  • Assume that people approach the media without any prior experiences of their own and cannot reject or discuss media images.
  • Media images and representations may not open up the choice to develop new lifestyles but may in fact reinforce stereotypes.
  • Many people (particularly people in the poorest areas of the world) to not have access to new media and cannot afford to make free choices between media-promoted lifestyles and identities.
  • Merxists emphasise that the choice alleged by post modernists is a myth.
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