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Ethnicity Essay

1311 words - 6 pages

“Ethnicity is still too often portrayed by the mass media in ways that reinforce stereotypes” To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view?
A stereotype is a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing, these can be gender specific or towards a specific race.
Stuart Hall (1978) conducted research and found that between August 1972 and August 1973 there were at least reports of 60 muggings in national newspapers and that there had been a reported increase of 129%. He states that the media was attempting to cause a moral panic to create fear in the public and Black people were the folk devils in which the ...view middle of the document...

The film follows two brothers Doughboy and Ricky and their close friend Tre, Tre and Doughboy follow the life of stealing and killing as they don’t see any other way in which they are going to survive through life, Ricky manages to reject this ‘Gangster’ mentality and is on his way to getting a scholarship at college, in the end Ricky the only one of the boys with a foreseeable future is killed in a shootout, the whole film reinforces the idea of if you are Black the only choice in your life is to become a criminal and if you reject living by this stereotype then you will die trying.
A limitation of Halls research is that it follows the Marxist approach and only focuses on the fact that the media portrays Ethnic minorities as negative stereotypes to keep the ruling class in power making Halls research Deterministic and reductionist meaning it doesn’t explore the other factors explainable for why the media portrays certain Ethnic groups in certain ways, it could be because there is some truth to it, e.g. Black people might actually commit more crime than any other race. On the other hand strengths of the research is that it does in fact provide a viable explanation to why Ethnic minorities are stereotyped throughout the media and he exposes hidden ideologies that are presented throughout the media which change the way people see minority groups without them even realising it.
Poole (2000) argues that even before 911 happened, Muslims were still demonised by the western media. She says that representations of Islam have tended to be negative and seen as a threatening and manipulated group, she completed a content analysis of broadsheet newspapers between 1993 and 1996 and found that representations of British Muslims were that they were a threat to UK mainstream values, she completed her content analysis in two different ways;
1. Quantitative analysis
Poole carried out a statistical content analysis of coverage of all stories related to Islam in two newspapers between January 1994 and December1996. She chose The Guardian and The Times and their Sunday equivalents, The Observer and The Sunday Times, for their different political standpoints, while expecting some similarities because of their shared status as ‘quality’ newspapers.
2. Discourse analysis
To complement her quantitative analysis, Poole carried out a qualitative analysis studying, for example, word choice, image choice and sentence structure. This analysis involved, as well as The Times and The Guardian, two tabloids, The Daily Mail and The Sun. Poole chose stories that were prominent and were developed over a period of time, on the grounds that these were most likely to influence public understandings of Islam and Muslims.
Poole found that although there were significant differences between the guardian and the times, the two papers tended to cover the same limited range of issues. Muslims were not treated as part...

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