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Media Influence Essay

2995 words - 12 pages

CRITICALLY ASSESS THE WAYS IN WHICH THE MEDIA CAN BE SAID TO INFLUENCE OR HAVE EFFECTS ON SOCIETY.

The Mass Media is a unique feature of modern society; its development has accompanied an increase in the magnitude and complexity of societal actions and engagements, rapid social change, technological innovation, rising personal income and standard of life and the decline of some traditional forms of control and authority.

There is an association between the development of mass media and social change, although the degree and direction of this association is still debated upon even after years of study into media influence. Many of the consequences, either detrimental or beneficial, ...view middle of the document...

This is regarded as one of the first in the area of or notion that the mass media has an affect on the societal attitudes and beliefs of that time.

This was soon follow around about a decade later in 1941 by Katz, Berelson, and Lazarsfeld who also decided to research into the topic of media effects, a research which produced the now commonly known ‘Minimum Effects Model’. The main aspect of this research being to investigate any possible link or factor that may influence voting behaviour. As has been described in numerous literature it’s ‘discovery’ was that the mass media played little or no part in the process of the formation of any political opinion, attitude or preference.

They came to the conclusion that the biggest factor influencing people was not the media, but other people. By the 1960’s, there was a revival of Marxist attitudes, and so the work of Katz, Lazarsfeld, and Berelson was largely dismissed in favour of re-examining the model of research into media effects, due to the modifications the mass media had undergone in the post 1941 period, to consider another way in which to investigate the influence and the effects of the media.

Influence, society and individuals

As Jane Root wrote in the book “Open The Box”, which delves into the possibilities of media influence, “It has a role in defining what we think of as a natural…it helps to map out who we think we are”. To look at the medias effect and influence, there is an underlying need to define influence as we understand it in relation to society and it’s overall effect.

Media is a major piece within society that is often linked to the notion of social influence. Society understands the notion or concept of being influenced as an “external force” (the media) linking itself or connecting with a personal action or viewpoint of the recipient. (John Corner: 2000: 378)

The forces of influence that have been described as a major power in media effects are those that are circumstantial and directed, those which can be placed within a framework or model, for example “uses and gratifications”, those of a generic function but ultimately those which state perspectives, interpretations, and measurements which can lead to evidence and proof.

Uses & Gratifications Model

A systematic and widely used model in social sciences study of media influence over the effects on an audience concerning behaviour, attitudes and beliefs, is the theory of uses and gratifications.

This theory can be linked to the notion of social belonging and how an audience can be deceived into believing that this concept can be achieved. The tenet underlying this approach to studying audiences was that individuals actively consume and use the media in order to meet certain needs. In reality, with the power belonging in the focus of the media, it can be defined as a tool of subliminal persuasion. (O’Sullivan, Dutton, Raymer: 1998)

Blumler and Katz...

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