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Culture, Media, and Society

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Milene Ortega

on 28 August 2015

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Transcript of Culture, Media, and Society

Information was initially circulated orally:
Poets / Storytellers
Is that still common in some societies?
Ancient Greeks struggled with the introduction of writing:
The Socratic pedagogical method (dialogues)
Will words be distorted from original context?
Threatening public discussion.
Electronic Era
Information Age - 1840 (Telegraph)
Instantaneous media messages;
Communication became independent from transportation;
Information became a commodity;
Easier political, commercial, and military communication
Enabled the development of future technologies: radio, fax, cell phone.
Written Era
Starts with the introduction of alphabets.
Overshadows oral tradition. Why?
Who is often privileged by written forms of communication? Why?
Oral Era
3. Mass medium stage
Businesses focus on making the device or medium as a product accessible to the general public
2. Entrepreneurial stage
Inventors and investors team up in attempt to identify a marketable use for the new device.
1. Emergence
The Cultural Landscape
"The symbol of expression that individuals, groups, and societies use to make sense of daily life and to articulate their values." (p. 6)
The Development of Media
Media & Society
Media, Culture, and Society
Digital Era
Cable television
Social media (Twitter, Facebook)
Surveying and Critiquing
The Critical Process
Individuals are linked to societies through shared and contested values.
Mass media (cultural industries) circulates those values
What American values can you identify in the following clip:
Print Revolution (mid-fifteenth century)
Starts with the introduction of printing presses
Expands the spread of information. (faster and farther)
Initially still benefits the wealthy. Why?
Later, accessibility of information allowed for:
resistance towards clerical authority
development of national identity
development of individualism (knowledge could be attained individually)
1. Description
- Paying close attention
2. Analysis
- Identification of patterns
3. Interpretation
- What does this mean?
- So what?
4. Evaluation

- Identifying strengths and weaknesses
5. Engagement
- Interacting as a critical citizen
(Web forums, videos, letters)

(electronic signals)
How does the introduction of these technologies affect traditional media business models?
Does that affect the way we socialize?
Linear v. Cultural Model of Mass Communication
Linear Model
Cultural Model
(Mass Media Channel)
However: Can we really control how information will be received by audiences?
Selective Exposure:
Individuals seek messages that reinforce their values, beliefs, and interests.
Senders do not have much control over how people will receive their message.
Media innovations go through 4 stages:
4. Convergence
Older media are reconfigured in various forms on newer media.
Technological Convergence
Business Convergence
Merging content accross different media channels
Consolidating various media holdings to maximize profits by using fewer employees to generate content for multiple media channels
Trying to develop a new kind of technology in order to overcome a problem.
Media convergence and cultural change
Media multitasking
+ media consumption
+ global interactions
+ distracted?
- quality in social interactions?
Media and narratives
We used to rely on news media outlets to understand the narratives of what was going on in the world.
Do we still do that now? Give me examples to support your answer.
What has changed in the digital era?
- The kinds of stories we seek
Watch the following clip and be prepared to answer the following question:
Why are people so fascinated with reality TV?
Generally there are two main views on how culture operates in our daily lives
Culture as hierarchy
(Skyscraper model)
Culture as a process
(Map model)
Some products are superior:

High Culture ("Good taste")
* Ballet * Classic literature
* Art museums
Low Culture ("Junk"):
* Reality TV * Gossip websites

Inability to appreciate fine art
: pop culture distracts people from appreciating "serious" art.
The exploitation of high culture:

becoming a trivialized as popular toys or imagery.
Disposability of pop culture:
higher forms of culture tend to endure the test of time.
Diminished audience for high culture:
prevalence of pop culture prevents exposure to high art.
Dulling our taste buds:
"Big Mac" theory we are addicted to mass-produced media menus, thus we have a hard time challenging those products (socially and artistically).
Culture is an ongoing and complicated process.
We perceive forms of culture as good or bad according to personal taste + societal aesthetic judgements.
The attraction to and choice of cultural phenomena is related to what makes our lives meaningful.
Among the dimensions considered in the map model: familiar, unfamiliar, comforting, challenging, conventional, and innovative.
Cultural Values & History
Modern Period
(Industrial Revolution to 1950s):
Efficiency (printing presses and assembly lines)
Individualism (hierarchical ascension of some)
Rationalism (value to logic and science)
Progress - Progressive Era (1890s-1920s) emphasis on a more "equitable" society.
Postmodern Period

(1950s to now):
(blurring the lines between high and low culture / real and staged; catering to "ordinary" people)
(emphasis on stylistic diversity, and recycling ideas)
(longing for premodern values: traditional religions, small communities and the "supernatural)
: abandoning past in order to seek progress but integrating retro beliefs in contemporary culture.
The critical process
Avoid the adjectives: high, low, popular, and mass.
Focus on the range of issues related to culture. For example:
The role of story telling
Media influence on consumption
Get outside of your own preferences and bias.
Culture must be richer than high and low models.
Full transcript