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MCM 733: Communication Theory Day 2: Chapters 3, 4, 5
Ch 3: Rise of Media Industries … • Beginnings of Mass Society – Turn of the Century was: • Turbulent • Industrialization & urbanization – This change was mostly the result of technological change (Harold Innis) – Rise of the Robber Barons – CNN of the time was the telegraph led to the wire services – Hearst and yellow journalism
Ch 3: Rise of Media Industries … • Rise of Yellow Journalism & Hearst – Little respect for reporting accuracy – Blamed for initiating the Spanish-American War – Aimed at low income earners and new immigrants – Reporters suffered low reputation
Ch 3: Rise of Media Industries … • Cycles of Mass Media Development & Decline – New media cause changes in the social, cultural, political and economic order. • They create struggles between types of knowledge (eg. oral vs. literate traditions) – New media give us what we want – Social roles are disrupted – new elites rise – Newspaper – radio – TV – cable/satellite - internet
Ch 3: Rise of Media Industries … • Standards & regulation – Do communication media regulate themselves in a market economy? – Does self-policing require an oligopoly? – Revolutionary technologies start at the margins and as they become more popular, they become more mainstream. They change society as they move towards the popular centre, but lose their radical edge in the process. – The process of a new technology replacing older ones is called “functional displacement” : its progress is inexorable.
Ch 3: Rise of Media Industries … • Mass Society Critics and the Debate Over media – Change brings critics out, but critics tend to be self -serving. – Why is this useful to professional communicators?
Ch 3: Rise of Media Industries … • 6 Assumptions of Mass Society Theory – The Media are a powerful force within society that can subvert essential norms and values and thus undermine the social order. To deal with this treat media must be brought under elite control – Media are able to directly influence the minds of average people, transforming their views of the social world (Direct effects assumption) – Once people’s thinking is transformed by media, all sorts of bad long-term consequences are likely to result – not only bringing ruin to indivudal lives but also creating social problems on a vast scale
Ch 3: Rise of Media Industries … • 6 Assumptions cont… – Avg people are vulnerable to media because in mass society they are cut off and isolated from traditional social institutions that previously protected them from manipulation – The social chaos initiated by media will likely be resolved by establishment of a totalitarian social order – Mass media inevitably debase higher forms of culture, bringing about a general decline in civilization
Ch 3: Rise of Media Industries … • Early Examples of Mass Society Theory – Gemeinschaft & gesellschaft (F. Tönnies) • Folk culture vs modern industrial society – Mechanical vs Organic Solidarity (E. Durkheim) • Consensus/tradition vs culturally negotiated social ties
Ch 3: Rise of Media Industries • 10 Minute Discussion Exercise: – How are Mass Society theories applicable/useful or not in professional communication today? – Use examples from your professional experience to brainstorm some ideas – Divide off in two groups of three & report back
Ch 4: Rise of Media Theory … • Propaganda spread throughout the 19 th Century (America, Europe, Asia) • Propaganda was linked to the rise of totalitarianism • Americans were confused: should they address the challenge posed by propaganda through education or through counterpropaganda?
Ch 4: Rise of Media Theory … • Origins of Propaganda – 1622: begins by virtue of Papal Bull to fight the rise of protestantism – Not necessarily a bad thing: just a dangerous tool – 1930 s: radio & film provide much better propaganda tools – Propaganda in its modern incarnation depends on disinformation
Ch 4: Rise of Media Theory … • Types of propaganda: – Gray propaganda: transmission of infomration or ideas that might or might not be false. No effort made to determine their validity – Black propaganda: deliberate and strategic transmission of lies – White propaganda: intentional suppression of potentially harmful info and ideas, combined with deliberate promotion of positive info or ideas to distract attention from problematic events. – Engineering of consent: official use of comm campaigns to achieve good ends.
Ch 4: Rise of Media Theory … • Propaganda Comes to the USA – Harold Lasswell: propaganda was a tool to help manage social orders – 1930 s: extremists were using propaganda very effectively in Europe and in America – Fear grew that fascist or communist groups could come to power in the USA
Ch 4: Rise of Media Theory … • Great Theories of Propaganda: – Behaviourism (J. Watson): stimulus-response psychology. The opposite of cognitivism – we do not use reflection to guide our actions, rather we are conditioned. • Led to the Magic Bullet theory – Freudianism : human behaviour is the product of conflict between an individual’s Id (darker side – primal), Ego (reason) and Superego (cultural influences on reason) • Propaganda aimed at the Id could trump Ego and Superego
Ch 4: Rise of Media Theory … • Harold Lasswell’s Propaganda Theory – Economic depression and escalating political conflict threw people into collective psychosis and made them more susceptible to propaganda – Democracy is flawed: it depends on reasoned debate – Rejected simple behaviourism: no magic bullet would bring down a gov’t – Communicators needed a well-developed, long-term campaign strategy in which new ideas and images are carefully introduced and then cultivated (cultivation theory).
Ch 4: Rise of Media Theory … • Lasswell cont. – Cultivation strategies led to master or collective symbols which have strong emotional connections – A multimedia campaign spanning months or years is necessary to cultivate an audience. However, once master symbols are accepted, they are very powerful anchors for a communication strategy – USA needed a scientific technocracy to build an effective cultivation strategy to fight Nazi propaganda.
Ch 4: Rise of Media Theory … • Walter Lippman – Did not trust the people to respond to propaganda through education – Thought that the media could not effectively police and regulate themselves – Proposed gov’t regulation and censorship through scientific technocracy.
Ch 4: Rise of Media Theory … • Reaction against early propaganda theory – John Dewey: believed in public education and the power of pragmatism – Pragmatism: a philosophical school emphasizing the practical function of knowledge as a means of adapting to reality and controlling it. – Reacted violently to the elitism of scientific technocracy – Took issue with Lasswell’s reductionism : rel’n with media is not linear, but networked in society. – Institute for Propaganda Analysis
Ch 4: Rise of Media Theory … • 15 minute exercise: 7 Propaganda Techniques – Split into three dyads and find examples from communication organization of the seven techniques – Report back to the group
Ch 5: Normative Theories … • Professionalism created the need for normative theories in journalism – Why? • The most predominant North American normative theory: Social Responsibility Theory – How does social responsibility affect your practice?
Ch 5: Normative Theories … • The debate around mass media regulation has occurred between radical libertarianism and those in favour of scientific technocracy • The origins of libertarian thought – Can be traced to 16 th Century Europe as a response to feudal autocrats – In comms, arose in response to authoritarian theory
Ch 5: Normative Theories … • Origins of libertarianism (cont. ) – Individuals freed from the shackles of gov’t, Church, etc. would seek truth, naturally follow dictates of conscience, engage in public debate – 1644 John Milton introduces the self-righting principle: in fair debate, truth and goodness will always win over lies and deceit. – Jeffersonian liberalism was libertarian and a reaction to British autocracy (Canada was different: we favored peace and efficiency)
Ch 5: Normative Theories … • Libertarianism aside, media is not free – This protects minorities, children and consumers from deceit, pornography and exploitation – Protect citizen safety and access to quality information
Ch 5: Normative Theories … • Marketplace of Ideas Theory – Media should be regarded as a self-regulating system. The market will select for the ideas which are best. This theory is also known as the laissezfaire doctrine. – Ideas compete in a market and citizen “buy” them – Has the same reliance on libertarian faith that truth will emerge from market competition and consumer choice: this assumes that people are rational actors not affected by crowd mentality.
Ch 5: Normative Theories … • Professionalization of Journalism – Hearst and Pulitzer introduced important prizes that reward honesty and excellence – Fourth estate of gov’t: media as an independent social institution that ensures that other institutions serve the public
Ch 5: Normative Theories … • Limits of Professionalization – Professionals in every field, including journalism, have been reluctant to identify and censure colleagues who violate professional standards – Professional standards can be overly abstract and ambiguous – In contrast with medicine and law, media professionalization doesn’t include standard for professional training and licensing – In contrast with other professionals, media practitioners have less independent control over their work
Ch 5: Normative Theories … • Other normative theories – Developmental media theory: advocates support for an existing political regime to encourage development and citizen empowerment. – Democratic-participant theory: encourages support for the empowering of culturally pluralistic groups
Ch 5: Normative Theories … • 15 minute exercise: Discuss/Summarize/Relate – Split off into three dyads. Each dyad will summarize one of the following themes from the text and illustrate it with examples from professional communication practice. 1. What advantages does social responsibility theory bring to your practice? Is it still relevant? 2. What advantages does libertarianism bring to your practice? Can it be the guide for ethical practice? 3. Professionalization in communication practice – is it possible? Does it apply to you?