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Approaches and Traditions in Media and Communications Resear

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Matthew Sini

on 25 July 2016

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Transcript of Approaches and Traditions in Media and Communications Resear

Approaches and Traditions in Media and Communications Research
Where we're going today
*Overview of subject

Media effects
Two major strands—
How does media influence its audience?
How does media influence other media?

Hypodermic needle model.

Lazarsfeld and ‘limited-effects’ model.

McLuhan and tetrad of media effects.

Some introductions
Coordinator: Dr Matthew Sini

Dr Amanda Malel Trevisanut (amandat@unimelb.edu.au)

Simone Gustaffson (gus@unimelb.edu.au)

Dr Benjamin Glasson (glasson@unimelb.edu.au)

What are we doing here?
The history of study of media is MESSY!
Traditions- social science
What are media? Why is it important?
MECM20011 Week 1
Dr Matthew Sini

Reliant on empirical research.

Often not concerned with the media itself, but with its influence and power on society/people/social groups.

Mostly ‘mass communication’ focused (newspapers, magazines, broadcast media).

Chicago School (important thinkers: John Dewey, George Mead)

Media effects (‘hypodermic model’, Paul Lazarsfeld’s limited-effects theory, Marshall McLuhan’s tetrad model)

Media effects
Still quite influential, especially among lay people. Often used to underpin “moral panics.”

Some sociologists and psychologists still use a variation of this paradigm, but it’s heavily contested.

Most media studies research considers it obsolete/discredited.

E.g. violence in videogames

Traditions- interpretive

Interprets how meaning is made and how social realities are developed.

Focused on understanding as opposed to empirical models which are based on prediction, repeatability and explanation.

No universal ‘laws.’ Contingency.

Frankfurt School




Cultural Studies

Boyd-Barrett lists nine ‘clusters’ of approaches that comprise media studies research.

Within each of these approaches is a wide variety of theories, movements, trends, debates, schools of thought.

The approaches are generally shaped and unified by what aspect of the “media ecosystem” they focus on/ask questions about.

Mass society, functionalism, pluralism
Media effects
Political economy
Public sphere
Media occupations and professionals
Cultural hegemony
Moving images
New audience research

Mass society, functionalism, pluralism
How media contributes to society as a whole.
“Mass society” focuses on industrialization of modern society, characterizes media as culturally standardized.
“Functionalism” attempts to define how this standardization works.
“Pluralism” employs same approach, but radically different conclusion: seeks out differences (rather than homogeneity) in media landscape as reflection of diverse society

Media’s influence on knowledge, beliefs, behaviour.
One way transmission model assumed (ignores different ways viewers interact with media texts).

Media Effects
How do the major political, financial and industrial institutions relate to the media?
How might influence funnel through to professional and industrial media practices?
Often a “follow the money” approach. Not always though.

Political Economy
Coined by Jürgen Habermas, a public sphere is an arena for open discussion of common concerns and collective social interests.
This cluster of approaches looks at the role of the media in facilitating or hindering the public sphere.

Public Sphere
Analyses media production and performances, how certain roles/occupations in the industry contribute to media landscape.
Media as practiced by people. To what extent these professionals internalise or contribute to existing power structures.
How the institutions they work in might shape their production practices.
Can focus on personalities, producers, authors, celebrity studies, editors, directors, etc as well as their specific roles and practices.

Media Occupations/Professionals
How the media underpins and reproduces the status quo/extant power structures.
Cultural hegemony is the idea that the ruling class maintains control of the rest of society by exercising control of major institutions, including the media.
Ruling class does not need to dominate physically, it does so through a manufacturing of consent via ideological projection.

Cultural Hegemony
Cultural Hegemony - subcultures and style
Cultural Hegemony...

...with MILK!
Looks at gender representation in media texts.
Examines the extent to which patriarchy operates in the media industries and the cultural products they generate.
Different ways in which women and men engage with and are shaped by media texts.

Concerned with how film, tv and video products operate in the media landscape.
More concerned with textual analysis, with concepts like genre, narrative, film language constituting big part of the field.
Intertextuality, audience expectations, auteur theory, film making practices are all looked at within this cluster
Moving Image
Reconsiders role of audience. No longer passive and impressionable. But active, creative viewers of media products.
Ethnographic methodology
How audiences make sense of texts
Atypical reading practices and what they mean
What appeals to audience about particular kinds of texts

New Audience Research
Where we are going
1. Approaches and traditions
2. Quantitative and Qualitative Content analysis
3. Semiotic analysis
4. Image analysis: visual culture and photography
5. Critical Discourse analysis: language and the news
6. Creative & Cultural Industry Research: Film Festivals
7. Making Media: Media Policy Research
8. Studying Media Audiences: Reception, Effects, Uses and Abuses
9. Studying Screen Style: Aesthetic Approaches to Film and TV
10. Phenomenology: Reflecting on Social Media as Experience
11. Analysing and Researching Videogames
12. Rhetoric and Documentary Media

Boring (but necessary) stuff
Readers will be available at bookshop soon, and the full reader is also available on the LMS

*Registration stuff
*80% attendance hurdle and part of that includes reading summaries to be done BEFORE class as prep.

40% Textual Analysis
(due 22 August)

60% Research Plan
(due 7 November)
Expectations and Requirements
Reading, thinking on the issues, taking notes, be willing to share your thoughts in class.
Be respectful.
Be punctual.
Come to class/lecture prepared and engaged to get most out of the course.

See you next week
Full transcript