• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Marxist theory, and in particular its use in media analysis, is outmoded in a world where a capitalist consumer culture holds sway. Explain why you agree or disagree with this statement.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Journalism Media Industries Marxist theory, and in particular its use in media analysis, is outmoded in a world where a capitalist consumer culture holds sway. Explain why you agree or disagree with this statement. For Karl Marx, the mass media was simply an instrument of bourgeois control over the proletariat, a part of the overall superstructure of society, along with religion, the family and education. Marxist theory has been very influential since he started writing about developed capitalist society in the mid-Victorian era. His basic premise - that the oppressed proletariat (workers) should emancipate themselves and take control of society away from the bourgeoisie (the ruling classes) - has spawned political movements, academic theories and hundreds of different interpretations and analyses. Marxist and 'neo-Marxist' approaches to the study of mass media have been common in academic circles since the late 1960s, but of late Marxism has been shunned as 'unfashionable', partly due to the rise of the New Right in the 1980s, but mainly because its practical application as seen in so-called Communist states in China, Russia and so on has been abhorrent. Also, alternative theories such as postmodernism are seen by many as a more pragmatic way of studying today's dynamic media. ...read more.

Middle

When workers voiced their opinion on TV, it was within the noisy environment of strike action, so that they appeared to be reactionary and over-opinionated. Politicians and management, however, were interviewed in the placid surroundings of an office or TV studio, thus presenting them as far more articulate and, by default, more intelligent. According to Marxist theory, this is the ideological dissemination of false consciousness in action: the dominant ideology - that of the bourgeois - is one the 'masses' come to accept and to think of as 'natural'. Workers are assured of their 'place' in the world, and they should not think about changing thinks. This can be termed "hegemony", an idea which was developed from Marx by the Italian sociologist Antonio Gramsci. So long as the means of production of the media are in the hands of a bourgeois elite and not under the collective ownership and control of the working classes, then these dominant ideologies will prevail. However, there has been much criticism of Marxist media theory over the years, and not just from those who have obvious vested interests in criticizing it (capitalist media owners). Ian Nicholls Page 4 The main school of thought which opposes the Marxist world-view is that of the Pluralists. ...read more.

Conclusion

Postmodernist theory is one which has started to take a central role in media studies over Marxism. It has several advantages: the postmodern ideas arise out of a society where the media - and particularly electronic media - play an even more important role, more so than when Marx was writing. Dominic Strinati outlines five characteristics of postmodern society: ? The breakdown of the distinction between culture and society ? An emphasis on style at the expense of substance and content ? Breakdown of the distinction between high culture (art) and popular culture ? Confusions over time and space ? Decline of 'meta-narratives' (Strinati, 1992) In today's world of high-technology, one can view web sites produced in China, watch TV signals beamed in from Australia, and see a film with an actor in it from fifty years ago on one channel, only see the same actor being interviewed in colour on another, Ian Nicholls Page 6 "It has been suggested that TV itself is a postmodern medium since, in its regular daily and night-time flows of images and information, it merely splices together bits and pieces from elsewhere, constructing itself on the basis of collage techniques and surface simulations." (Strinati, 1992) Postmodernism has affected advertising and consumer society itself: "Once upon a time advertisements were supposed to be about telling us how how good, useful and essential a product was. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Media section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Media essays

  1. Moral Panic and media folk devils.

    The idea of Satanism in the books is wrong though because Satan is not part of the occult and is a Christian entity who was formally God's favourite angel. This there for implicates that the bible is the most evil book in existence but is not true.

  2. Censorship is necessary to protect the public

    Although there are some internet watchdogs, for example, one based in Manchester whose investigative efforts recently resulted in the convictions of a ring of paedophiles who had swapped thousands of obscene photographs online, it appears it would be virtually impossible to filter all the undesirable material out.

  1. Do the Media have the power to shape public opinion?

    It was a significant influence upon the rise of democracy and civil rights, especially the right to vote, speech and assembly were of special importance as such discussion was conducted free for Church or state influence, in a non-commercial atmosphere.

  2. To what extent do media representations of refugees and asylum seekers limit their integration ...

    Whilst such barriers exist it is impossible for refugees and asylum seekers to integrate within society. As the government stress in their Integration report (2002) integration is a complex two-way process. It requires adaptation on the part of the newcomer, but also by the host society.

  1. Assess the postmodernist views of the mass media.

    While not denying the existence of conflict, he criticised its portrayal in western societies. However, the impact of hyper-reality and simulacra is uneven between social groups. They are only significant to those who can access them. PM are criticised for ignoring that media images can increase perception of inequality.

  2. Assess the Functionalist Theory of Culture essay

    The opposite of the functionalist approach is Marxism. Marxism focuses on the economic organisation of modern societies divided by class inequalities, income and power. Social class refers to the wealth of the family. Karl Marx saw capitalist societies as characterised by class inequality and conflict. One group called the bourgeoisies owned and controlled the means of production, the

  1. Assess the pluralist view of media ownership

    Besides OFCOM, Pluralists argue the media is protected from bias by the PSB. PSB is the epitome of impartial and objective media. PSB ensures a plurality of views represented in the media, particularly TV programmes. Eg BBC protects news and children?s programmes from domination of a certain viewpoint, as well as protecting from harmful content like graphic violence.

  2. How Media, Advertising and Celebrity Culture Affects Female Body Image

    survey were 50% more likely to describe themselves as ''too big or fat'' and 30% more likely to diet than girls who watched television less frequently. Strong cultural identity is thought to be protective against eating disorders; there was only one case of anorexia nervosa reported on the island prior

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work