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"Any sociological explanation of the influence of the mass media needs to take into account the social situation of the audien

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"Any sociological explanation of the influence of the mass media needs to take into account the social situation of the audience." Explain and evaluate this view. "Members of a given sub-culture will tend to share a cultural orientation towards decoding messages in particular ways. Their individual 'readings' of messages will be framed by shared cultural formations and practices." [The Structured Interpretation Model] which is associated to Morley, David (1981b, p. 51). V arious theories, approaches, experiments & researches looked into the effects of the mass media on the audience. The social situation of the audience is considered in some of the studies. Others may believe that the influence of mass media would heavily depend on the social situation (age, ethnicity, gender, class, educational attainment, abnormality, etc.), while others may think that the audience in the society is greatly influenced by the mass media alone. Recent news alarmed the reading-audience how influential mass media could be. An Eminem impersonator killed his fan without a particular reason! Some believe that media played a role why he behaved in that particular way, while others may argue that it is because of his social situation. This will be assessed by looking at different arguments & explanations. The Hypodermic Syringe Model of mass media effects suggests that media content is directly injected to the audience. It indirectly implies that the media controls the audience. This approach, however, doesn't take into account the social situation of the audience. Though, this provides us explanation and adds to our understanding on how media can be very influential & powerful. The Two-Step Flow Model of Mass Media Effects states that opinion leaders influence and shape the views of other people via the media. This asserts that information from the media moves in two distinct stages. First, opinion leaders who pay close attention to the mass media and its messages, receive the information. ...read more.


This particularly happens when deviant behaviour is punished in films/programmes, etc. Also, the children's behaviour could partly be explained by the sensitisation effect, which says that it makes you less likely to become more violent once you've seen the violence in the media (in this case, the stimulus programme). Disinhibition is when an audience likes watching violent content from the media since s/he cannot do it in real life. The punishment received by the attacker on the stimulus made the children further disinhibited because if they attack the 'bobo' dolls, they would assume that they would get punished. Bandura's experiment was done in a laboratory. This means that his experiment has a low-ecological validity or artificially done. This is because it is not very related to real life/day-to-day basis. His experiment was single-blinded. This is because the participants have not been told what the aim of the experiment is. Bandura's experiment is biased in some way because he only used children to be the participants. He didn't take into account other age groups. Another experiment by Liebert & Baron, into the effects of TV violence on 136 boys & girls, supports Bandura's findings. Half of the participants watched a violent TV sequence & the other half watched an exciting sports sequence. They were then taken into a room where there is a box with HURT & HELP buttons. They were told that there is another child playing in another room - turning a wheel. If they press HURT, it would make the wheel hot. IF they press HELP, the wheel would be easier to turn. They have found out that children who watched the violent sequence were more likely to hurt the child. This was a single-blind experiment since the participants were not told about the aims of the experiment. This is a good way of testing participants to avoid participant reactivity (participants being conscious on how they are going to react). ...read more.


The conservative right states that the society is seen as divided between the 'elite' & the mass of the population. This is passed down between generations. With reference to the Marxist's view, capitalism pollutes that culture & replaces it with a 'plastic commodity culture' (mass culture). Working class is said to be 'alienated'. The Radical Left approach believes that the capitalist system has made the class 'soul-less & one-dimensional.' The families are replaced by the state & big businesses which makes the working class passive, 'uncritical & unthinking.' Marcuse would say that: "The hypnotic power of the media deprives us of the capacity for critical thought which is essential if we are to change the world." Pluralism would argue that they reject the view that there is 'mass-culture' at all. It believes that working class had a 'true' culture that has now been 'subverted' (corrupted). From the different experiments/studies/researches supported by theories & approaches, the audience's position in the society can have a great impact on their understanding of the media content. The social position brought by every individual affects them on how they are likely to react if given a stimulus. It can also alter the way they interpret media. Whether it is violence or pro-social behaviour, our socially constructed viewpoints would still prevail. In the case of the Eminem impersonator, Christopher Duncan, his social belongingness (coming from a poor background & area) & low media literacy led him to imitate Eminem. Although Jonathan Laidhaw, prosecuting said: 'There is no sensible explanation for what he did.' , Christopher's social position & people surrounding him (gangs, etc.) might answer this 'brutal killing' of Jagdip Najran. Authorities, however, have suggested that he had a personality disorder (another dimension of social situation) that made him act anti-socially. "Members of a given sub-culture will tend to share a cultural orientation towards decoding messages in particular ways. Their individual 'readings' of messages will be framed by shared cultural formations and practices." Morley, David (1981b, p. 51). ?? ?? ?? ?? Sociology Essay Page 1 of 8 ...read more.

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