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Sociology GCSE mass media notes Essay

New media – anything that uses new technology that usually involves some process of convergence e.g. phones as they can now access the internet. New media is likely to be digital, interactive and dispersed (not controlled by a single source of professionals). Democracy – rule by the people for the people

Consumer society builds as it is cheaper and quicker for companies to advertise on the internet Exploits WC and MEG’s through news, stereotypes, folk devils and media ampflication Faster for many functions such as advertising and research etc Reinforces digital divide as the RC are more likely to posses new media The internet enables us to be democratic as it allows us to see and research information Increases social isolation as those without new media feel less ‘involved’. Allows us to have more knowledge and enhances us intellectually Higher risk of criminal behaviour happening e.g. fraud, illegal downloads and paedophiles of children’s websites Widens consumer choice

Lack of regulation – many things go uncensored and undiscovered

Infotainment – the replacing of news information by entertainment

Enhances the power of the powerful, risking democracy as we only see information from the side of those in power

Theoretical views
Functionalist – media reinforces social order through the N&V’s system Marxist – division of labour is kept as WC cannot become socially mobile due to poor access to information Feminist – dislike how women are portrayed; women that go against portrayal are seen as deviant Functionalist – socialises us with N&V’s, gender roles etc Marxist – selective as it exploits the WC; it is always from the point of view of the RC and those in power Feminist – dislike how women are portrayed; women that go against portrayal are seen as deviant Functionalist – no problem with it as it provides information Marxist – dislike as it benefits the RC and reinforces the digital divide Feminist – dislike as it present women in a derogatory way e.g. pornography

The Press – privately owned media that primarily communicates the news; they are profitable organisations Broadcasting – lots is financed privately: PBS is not profit making, CSB is private and the BBC make profit through TV licenses with prices decided by the government.

Media affect on behaviour
The hyperdermic syringe model – The media has power over its audience: it can control and persuade people. The audience receives its daily injections of information from the media and this determines behaviour. It has an immediate effect o the audience as the media controls us. Evidence to support the HSM

Lab experiments were conducted by Bandura Ross and Ross & Liebert and Baron. Bandura: children who watched violence were more likely to hit the doll with a mallet. However, there were no other toys to play with and the children were aware this was wanted from them. Liebert and Baron: Children that watched violence were given the option to help or hurt someone when light came on, indicating a child in another room needed help with a game.

Many clicked hurt, which sent an electric shock. However, lab experiments do not measure long term affects and we cannot isolate media as a variable. The uses and gratification model is used to argue against the HSM. The uses and gratification model – The media does not use us; we use the media. This theory is how the media is used to actively satisfy peoples’ needs based on their ability to exercise choice and control. Audiences actively seek media for specific gratifications and this theory deals with why media is chosen, what purpose media serves, and how media competes with other media sources to meet satisfaction. We retain information from the media based on five factors:

Information e.g. wildlife programmes
Personal Identity e.g. religious TV
Personal relationships e.g. Jeremy Kyle
Entertainment e.g. Big Brother
Diversion/Escapism e.g. soaps
The decoding approach – We use the media to support the values we already have, not give us new ones. McQuall suggests that the audiences are active decoders of the content of the media and have different interpretations in terms of: Selective retention – remembering certain information if it has significance to you Selective exposure – only exposing yourself to what you want or need; we’ll only watch things if they support our values Selective perception – we all understand parts of the media in different ways and use it in different ways The media has an immediate effect on the audience

The media does not have an immediate effect on the audience
Marxist – it has a negative immediate effect on the audience as they control us to have particular behaviour e.g. hierarchy Decoding approach – we expose ourselves to what we chose so only learn what we wish to learn Hyperdermic syringe model – the media controls our behaviour as we are given daily injections Selective retention – we only remember the information that means something to us Imitation – we copy what we see

Selective exposure – we only expose ourselves to the media that interests us Functionalists believe values are learnt through the media
Selective perception – we all interpret the media in different ways, so our behaviour is not immediately or directly affected in the same way

Media can also be to blame for deviant and criminal behaviour: Media affects
The audience are influenced by what they see to the extent that they copy the images and messages they are exposed to. Children in particular are prone to imitation and often engage in violent and inappropriate behaviour as a result. Sensitisation

The audience hears and sees a lot of images in the media that makes them more aware of the consequences of the behaviour. They are less likely to engage in the behaviour and instead are likely to report to the police or intervene if the behaviour is witnessed. For example, child abuse reports went up due to coverage in soaps Desensitisation

If an audience is exposed to violence in most of the media output, they begin to believe what they see is normal and are therefore no longer shocked by it in real life Cathartic effect
Sex and violence in the media helps the audience to release inbuilt tensions and anxieties. By watching the behaviour there is no need to engage in it. Sex offenders are treated with pornography Disinhibition

Violent and sexual images become so common that the audience no longer feels embarrassed or ashamed to behave in this way as they think it is normal

Moral panic – the false worry about people and deviance/crime in society Deviance amplification model
1) A small group of people commit some act of deviance
2) The media pick up on the interesting story: a ‘problem group’ is identified

3) The media sensationalise the news to grab the attention of the audience

4) Causes of the deviant behaviour are simplified for easy explanation e.g. bad parenting

5) The group is labelled as folk devils and stereotyping occurs; other incidents of this deviant behaviour are made into news and it seems more common than it really is

6) A moral panic develops and the public’s concern is aroused at the real or imaginary ‘threat’ posed to society; the media campaign for action to be taken against the perceived threat

7) More social control – politicians, police and magistrates respond to public demands as shown in the media, and law-and-order campaigns are begun to stamp down on the deviants

The impact of media on society today
Primary socialisation – the first place to learn the norms and values of society; the family

Secondary socialisation – other areas of your life in which the value system is reinforced or, in some cases, contradicted

Functionalists believe the media is beneficial as it reinforces social order Marxists dislike the media as they reinforce the hierarchy of the RC over the WC and false class consciousness Feminists dislike the media as it reinforces gender roles and patriarchy

What the media reinforces
Gender roles
Children’s programmes & adverts
Soaps & music videos
Political socialisation
Debates & the news
Glamorisation of violence
Soaps & video games
Hegemonic masculinity
Competition between men & soaps

Global culture – when the culture of one community spreads worldwide through media and, globally, people are exposed to this culture. It is also known as media imperialism. Mass culture – the culture shared by the majority of society due to a general interest in certain things the media presents Media dominates family life; whereas before families were hardworking, hierarchical and communicative around the hearth, families today have their living rooms organised around the TV (the substitute hearth) and other media devices dominate leisure time.

Identity – who you are as a person; this can be influenced by what we see in the media as, nowadays, people use the media to confirm and explore their identities. The media shapes our views on what we should be consuming and what we should be like.

The media’s representation of age, gender & ethnicity
Rogers argues that children are presented as either angels or devils. The impact of this is that children are not held accountable for their actions if they are angles. However, it they are devils, they experience negative interaction as they are to blame. These stereotypes lead to labelling Youths

The news amplifies stories on youths to make their devious and criminal behaviour appear more common. Teens become folk devils as they are all believed to be delinquent. Cohen says that the young as used as scape goats for society’s own issues and this can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Age

As children are easily manipulated, gender stereotypes are reinforced through TV programmes. This is known as age patriarchy. Elderly
Grumpy – conservative, stubborn and resistant to social change Mentally challenged – deteriorating health
Dependent – burden on the younger generations as they are weak

Elderly women – grey hair, old clothes; being different is being ‘mutton’ Men have higher status as world leaders, politicians etc
We are an age denying society


People are free to upload on the internet as they wish so racism can happen on the internet or dangerous cults can start online YouTube is not moderated so various videos can be uploaded

Impact of media on society
1) Socialisation
2) Mass culture
3) Effects family life
4) Reinforces and causes stereotypes on age gender and ethnicity 5) Effects behaviour and can create violence – audience effect models 6) Politically socialises us
Political socialisation – your learning of political values, beliefs and preferences Whipping system – when an MP is told they need to vote in favour of their party or they will no longer be a part of it Rebel MP’s – Mp’s that do not vote the way of their party Political spin (spin doctors) – write speeches with ‘sound bites’ that can be used as newspaper headlines Curtis and Mair (2008) believe that:

The press has too much influence on how people vote
Negative coverage of politicians and politics has discouraged people from voting If readership of newspapers declines then:
Newspaper’s ability to influence the outcomes of general elections will also have declined Fewer people will be exposed to the press’ supposedly negative coverage of politics and politicians that discourages people from voting at all

The media promote democracy
The media restrict democracy
Because the media in Britain are not controlled by the state, the risk of censorship by governments is reduced, and free speech is protected. Journalists are free to report as they wish – within legal limits The media reflect the conservative views of their wealthy owners. While journalists are often critical and expose wrongdoing, they will frequently avoid issues which might cost them their jobs by upsetting newspaper owners or TV station bases The wide variety of privately owned media means a range of opinions are considered and public debates take place.

By criticizing the actions of governments, the mass media can play an important ‘watch-dog’ role and keep governments in touch with public opinion The variety of opinion presented is limited. Working-class political views – such as strikes – are rarely reported. The ideas and actions of the least powerful groups are the most likely to be excluded. Those who in some way present a challenge or threat to the existing way society is organised are presented as irresponsible or unreasonable extremists The media give an unbiased account of news. TV news has to be impartial News values, agenda-setting, norm-setting and other sources of bias mean only some issues are covered, and these are not presented in neutral ways.

The media choose what to report and how to report it, and therefore provide a biased view of the world The media accurately reflect public opinions that already exist in society rather than creating new ones. People wouldn’t read newspapers or view TV and websites unless they were providing what their audiences wanted The media do not simply reflect public opinion, but actively form and manipulate it. People can only form opinions on the basis of the knowledge they have, and the media are primarily responsible for providing this knowledge.

The owners of the mass media hold overwhelmingly conservative views, and their ownership gives them the power to defend their position by forming favourable public opinion Anyone can put his or her views onto the internet via blogs, social networking sites etc Only the rich have the resources necessary to publish and distribute a newspaper on a large scale, or to set up a television or radio station, and it is the wealthy that own and control the main means of electronic communication. The concentration of ownership of the mass media is a threat to democracy, as a small powerful group of media owners can control access to ideas, information and knowledge. Those who wish to put forward alternative views to that presented in the mass media may not be allowed access to the media b their owners, and will therefore be denied any real opportunity to persuade public opinion of their ideas

Concentration of press ownership
Functionalists take the pluralist approach and they believe that the media isn’t used by owners to control the audience but is available for secondary socialisation. Marxists take the conflict approach as they believe that the media is used by its owners to control the audience. Pluralist approach

Conflict approach
A range of interests exist in society and no single group dominates Society is based on conflicting interests between different groups Media represents a range of different interests within society e.g. Woman’s Weekly, The Pink Paper and the Financial times Owners of the media are part of a minority who use their power to influence opinions in their own best interests Newspapers only give the audience what they want to receive i.e. the Sun does not have much international news because readers of the Sun do not want to read it, not because Rupert Murdoch does not want them to know Press owners have intervened directly to control content e.g. Harry Evans was hired as editor of the Sunday Times and was then allegedly fired from his post by Rupert Murdoch as a result of Evans’ political policy If owners of the media tried to give us something we did not want, consumerism would decrease; this is known as consumer power and would cause a decrease in companies’ profit margin

The Big Six – the few companies that own a vast majority of the press and world media. This is problematic as these companies can promote their own political beliefs and values through everything they own, meaning we are exposed to the owners’ own beliefs and values. They have the power to influence our views and beliefs. Consequences of press ownership

Political socialisation – influences us to believe certain things and therefore affects the voting pattern and behaviour Negative portrayal of MEG’s
Support those in power and authority to reinforce capitalism Presentations of different groups within society – age, gender, ethnicity Ethnic presentations in the media
Black populations are presented as criminals. Cottle (1994) believes that this representation effectively hides racism and, through the hyperdermic syringe model, they believe they are criminal and this leads to self-fulfilling prophecy Sociologists argue that people from the groups internalise – from the media – that their lives are restricted and so they live the lives shown to them by the media

Agenda setting – the media can focus attention on some issues and ignore
others. They don’t tell us what to think but what to think about. This can affect political views and voting habits. Those who decide what makes the news are called gatekeepers as they have the power to influence what we think about. Norm referencing – the media reinforces norms and values so we conform. Those who conform are viewed and shown in a positive light and those who don’t in a negative light.

This causes us to label people, leading to stereotypes. The cameras are always from the point of view of those in authority, giving a very selective view on what is happening. Defining ‘New Values’ – News doesn’t happen; journalists make news and have a list of things that ‘make news’. These are news values and, the more that are satisfied, the better the news is. This affects our understanding of events. Profit motive – Media is about money; owners and companies get this from advertisers.

The advertisers must be satisfied with what goes on the news and the media listen because they want the money. Laws – there are laws in place saying what the media can and can’t share, so laws have a large impact on what goes on the news and how the news is presented. Digital natives – have grown up in the digital world using new media to communicate; there is a digital divide between digital natives and novices. Digital novices – have been born into a generation that used old media to communicate and new media has been introduced within their lifetime, meaning they have to learn how to use it and have not grown up with it.

The mass media and power
Press ownership
In Britain, press ownership is concentrated in a few hands; this could give some individuals in the media the ability to influence mass opinion. Some argue that, in order to keep democracy, press ownership should be spread between larger numbers of individuals. The pluralist approach to press ownership

According to the pluralist approach, a range of views and interests exists in society and no single group dominates. This range of views is reflected in the wide variety of newspapers and magazines available, so all political viewpoints are represented within the various publications that consumers can choose to buy.

The pluralist approach rejects the idea that press owners control content. Instead, it suggests that newspapers simply give people what they want to read as, companies that fail to do so, are unlikely to succeed in competitive market and are more likely to go bankrupt. So, this view states that consumers are the ones who influence content through their market power. The conflict approach to press ownership

According to the conflict approach, press owners are in a strong position to put their own political views across. This is because, as owners, they are able to control content and they do so in favour of their own political and economic interests. Supporters of this approach point to several developments within the media to support their position. These include the increasing concentration of press ownership in the hands of a few companies and individuals and the emergence of multimedia (or cross-media) conglomerates (such as News Corporation) that operate on a global, rather than national, scale. As a result of such developments, much of what people read comes from a few multinational media empires. The exercise of power within the media

The media have the power to select which issues are ignored and exploited. In doing so, they direct public discussion and therefore affect what people think about it. This could give the media influence over people’s political views and their voting behaviour. The news media also have power in relation to norm referencing; they are able to outline the acceptable boundaries of behaviour. The views and behaviour of some groups and organisations are presented positively, whilst others are presented negatively. Through nor referencing, positive images of some groups ad negative images of others are created, and this helps to shape public opinion. The internet and the distribution of power

Some sociologists argue that digital technology will lead to a reduction in power and influence of media power as it allows everyone to produce media content, rather than just consume it. For this reason, the internet could help to safeguard democracy by spreading the power to communicate and to exert influence more widely among different individuals and groups. Because anyone can upload information, comment on information given, contact
politicians etc, they can exert influence.

They can also find out about pressure groups (such as Greenpeace) or issues such as global warming. In this way, the internet could empower people and provide them with more opportunities to participate in politics. Other approaches, however, question how far the internet has increased political participation and empowered people as most people use the internet for things like shopping rather than for political reasons. Critics also argue that ‘e-democracy’ requires expensive technology and funding to start up and maintain so not everyone can get involved.

The press is free because…
The press isn’t free because…
Members of the public exercise control through our market power. We can easily switch newspapers if we are unhappy with what we read. Hence, the market controls content and the consumer is sovereign There has been an increasing concentration of press ownership in the hands of a few companies and individuals meaning smaller companies have been swallowed by media giants Owners cannot simply dictate content but have to give us what we want to buy Multimedia conglomerates operate on a global rather than a national scale so a small number of multinational companies now have interests in media across the globe There is freedom to set up new newspapers if existing ones do not meet market demands Multimedia conglomerates such as News Corporation have emerged as a result of other companies merging together

The media is an ISA used to teach us the norms and values of a capitalist society. The media is controlling us.

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