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1sc Media Studies: Popular Culture and Mass Media

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Patricia Gatti

on 13 November 2012

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Transcript of 1sc Media Studies: Popular Culture and Mass Media

The Role and Influence of Mass Media Mass media is a significant force in modern culture

Sociologists refer to this as a mediated culture where media reflects and creates the culture.

Communities and individuals are bombarded constantly with messages from a multitude of sources including TV, billboards, and magazines, to name a few.

These messages promote not only products, but moods, attitudes, and a sense of what is and is not important.

Mass media makes possible the concept of celebrity: without the ability of movies, magazines, and news media to reach across thousands of miles, people could not become famous.

In fact, only political and business leaders were famous in the past. Only in recent times have actors, singers, and other social elites become celebrities or “stars.” As recently as the 1960s and 1970s, television, for example, consisted of primarily three networks, public broadcasting, and a few local independent stations.

These channels aimed their programming primarily at two-parent, middle-class families. Even so, some middle-class households did not even own a television.

Today, one can find a television in the poorest of homes, and multiple TVs in most middle-class homes. Not only has availability increased, but programming is increasingly diverse with shows aimed to please all ages, incomes, backgrounds, and attitudes.

This widespread availability and exposure makes television the primary focus of most mass-media discussions.

Limited-effects theory
Argues that because people generally choose what to watch or read based on what they already believe, media has an insignificant influence.

Tested in the 1940s and 1950s:
Studies that examined the ability of media to influence voting found that well-informed people relied more on personal experience, prior knowledge, and their own reasoning.

Heavily influenced by mass media, this collection of ideas spreads throughout the everyday lives of the society. "Pop culture" (short for popular culture)

Cultural activities or commercial products reflecting, suited to, or aimed at the tastes of the general masses of people. The totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, images and other phenomena that are preferred by the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the late 20th and early 21st century. The activities of the citizens generate the popular culture. What you listen to, what you read, what you wear and how you speak are all examples of your popular culture:

•The favourite music of the culture may include artists on the Billboard Top 100 or from the newest pop stars on YouTube. •Best-selling books and popular films can play a big role in shaping the opinions and experiences of a culture. •Interaction through social networking can provide the vehicle for people of all ages, races, interests and genders to quickly communicate and share their ideas. •Fashion trends can be both the current culture and the direction in which a popular is moving. Casual clothes may reflect a more relaxed culture while fast-moving, quick-changing trends may echo the fast-changing cultural trends. Language is a key way to communicate the goals, thoughts and experiences of popular culture. Multiple languages, slang expressions, new words for new experiences can all work together to describe the current culture. More recently, the Internet has increased its role exponentially as more businesses and households “sign on.” Although TV and the Internet have dominated the mass media, movies and magazines—particularly those lining the aisles at grocery checkout stands—also play a powerful role in culture, as do other forms of media.
What role does mass media play?

While opinions vary as to the extent and type of influence the mass media wields, all sides agree that mass media is a permanent part of modern culture.
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