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Mass Communication

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Anthony Stephenson

on 19 November 2013

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Transcript of Mass Communication

Theories of Mass Communication
What is Mass Communication?
Technological Determinism Theory
Media Epochs in Human History
Medium as a Message/Massage
Hot & Cool Media
Critical Assessment of Technological Determinism
Cultivation Theory
Power of Synthetic Reality
Assumptions of Cultivation Theory
Critical Assessment of Cultivation Theory

Critical Assessment of Cultivation Theory
Marshall McLuhan
Technological Determinism- Basic claim is that some single cause or phenomenon determines other aspects of life.
Media shapes how individuals think and how society runs.
Technological Determinism Theory
Tribal Epoch- Communication consisted of face-to-face interactions.
Oral cultures were knitted together by stories that passed along the history and traditions of a culture.
Reliance on spoken word made hearing a dominant sense.
Ex: Information, rituals, performances, form of entertainment.
The Literate Epoch- Invention of the phonetic alphabet ushered in this epoch. Common symbols allowed people to communicate without face-to-face interaction.
Ex: Letters, symbols
Print Epoch- Began when Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press.
Made it possible to print thousands of copies of a printed book for moderate cost.
The capability to mass produce printed material led to people not longer having to have face-to-face contact to get information.
Ex: Newspapers, books, magazine
The Electronic Epoch- Electronic media revived the oral tradition and the preeminence of hearing and touch.
The invention of the telegraph was the forerunner into making the electronic epoch.
Made it possible for people to communicate to individual, personal ways across great distances.
Created a "global village"
57% of all programs include some violence, and about 2/3 of characters engage in violence.
28% of children's shows include four or more acts of violence and 75% of these programs don not carry the fantasy violence rating.
By age 6 the average child in the United States has watched 5,000 hours of television and by the age of 18 the average person has watched fully 19,000 hours of television
Each year the average person in America spends 3, 297 hours engaged with media, and half of that time is spent watching t.v.- about 68 24 hour days a year.

And the average 18 year old in the US. has viewed 200,000 separate acts of violence on t.v. including 40,000 murders.
Cultivation Theory

George Gerbner
This theory claims that television cultivates, or promotes, a view of social reality that is inaccurate but what viewers nonetheless assume reflects real life.
Concentrates on the ways in which television cultivates attitudes and beliefs about violence and views of the world as a dangerous place.

Cultivation- The cumulative process by which television portrays the world as more violent and dangerous than it really is.
Mainstreaming- Television's ability to stabilize and homogenize views within a society.
Heavy viewers are not necessarily the only people affected by televised versions of reality.
"Television is a centralized system of storytelling.."
T.V. has become the primary source of socialization and everyday information.

Resonance- Television's capacity to cultivate world views is resonance, which is the extent to which something is congruent with personal experience.
We participate in creating the drama and its impact on our own thoughts, feelings, attitudes, actions.
Ex: Someone who has been raped, assaulted, robbed is likely to identify with televised violence causing the impact of the message to be heightened by connecting it with their own experiences.
Power of Synthetic Reality

One criticism is that the research has shown only a very
weak relationship between television viewing, viewers fear
of violence, and belief that the world is mean, dangerous
Paul Hirsch
Weak Support for the Theory
Incompatibilities in the Theory

A second criticism is that cultivation theory mixes incompatible frameworks, relying on the traditional tools of social science to explore decisively humanistic questions.
Social Scientists
Assumptions of Cultivation Theory
The Medium is a Message/Massage
Critical Assessment for Technological Determinism
Hot Media
Cool Media
Lack of Empirical Support
Hyperbolic Speculation
Overly Deterministic
The End!
A person doesn't need to fill in a lot of information to understand the message.
Limited effort to interpret
Involves involvement from the individuals
Face-to-face communication
Television is Unique
TV is pervasive.
Available & Affordable
Uniquely accessible to all types of people at all stages of life.
TV Forms the Cultural Mainstream
Blurs traditional distinctions in world views.
Blends diverse realities into a single, homogeneous mainstream view.
Bends that mainstream view to serve the institutional interests of TV's sponsors.
TV Cultivates Broad Assumptions About Life Rather Than Specific Attitudes & Opinions
TV Is a Medium of Conservative Socialization
The Observable Effects of TV on Culture Are Relatively Small
New Technologies Extend TV's Influence
What do you think?
You are currently a cashier at a store when you notice a specific item was stolen around the time you went to the back of the store to put something up. There are 3 individuals who happened to be in the store at that given time.There is a young, nicely dressed female by herself and a middle aged couple who look as though money might be a struggle for them considering their attire. Who would you consider to be the most likely perpetrator?
Ladies: Will you walk by yourself after dark?

Men: Will you let your significant other or any female for that matter walk by themselves?
What are the first thoughts that come to your mind when you think of Asians, Middle easterners, or even gays?
McLuhan's ideas were applauded by the media, but not many applauded him in academic circles.
Others say he didn't systematically test his ideas, and when they did test his ideas they couldn't support his claims.
The critics say to McLuhan, "Um dude you're cray! Reading is the shiz & your stuff is unproven brah... It is hyperbolic to proclaim the death of literacy when reading is still a major activity in developed countries."
Some criticism is that McLuhan's theory that are human consciousness is determined by media is problematic because:
Believing that we are powerless to control media and its effects on us can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The claim that media determine both human consciousness and social life obscures the multiple complex variables that influence how we think as individuals and how we organize social life.
What do you notice about this commercial?
Channel of Communication
Substance of Communication
Media manipulate how we perceive ourselves, others, society, and the world.
McLuhn thought mass communication of our age is the dominant medium.
Cultivation Theories say TV serves to normalize and preserve the status quo.
Neglects Individual Variation
Cultivation Theorist put all "viewers in a group. Yet we are all individuals and some of us have different motives or world views that allow us to interpret a message differently.
Correlation vs Cause;
Cause vs Effect
Cultivation theorists have confused cause with correlation in suggesting that TV cultivates (causes) views of violence and a mean world.
Mean world Syndrome...
TV is ritualistic, relying on generic formulas to tell stories in news, drama, and comedy programs as well as in ads.
The corporations have power over TV..
Critics say that TV is only creating a relatively small change when it comes to making an influence to help make a cultural difference. They will agree that it is significant small or large, but do you agree it is small?
Do you agree?
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