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What do the Pluralists say about the media generally?

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Pluralism represents another view of how the media function in society. In the US in the 1930s it derived out of dissatisfaction with mass society theory and the views of the Frankfurt School. Theories developed about the same time. The contrast between Pluralist models and Marxist is important to history and dep't of media studies. Spirited arguments in the past LP - It's a bit more difficult to pin down than Marxist theories - more diffuse, but many of the views and principles of pluralism find support with media professionals/journalists - they believe that this is how the media operate - often go back to ideas of freedom of the press upto free market models which were pushed in the 1980s, particularly for broadcasting - no govt intervention - let the market and the paying public decide. But pluralist models are more difficult to pin down because they are less explicit about their concept of society, but they aren't necessarily theoretical i.e. does have theoretical elements. Essentially can be seen like this in relation to dominance/Marxist models: News Sources - competing interests v ruling class or dominant elite Media - many, independent and competing media v concentrated ownership & uniform product Production - creative/original/free v standardised/routinised/controlled Content & Worldview - Diverse and competing, responsive ...read more.


They are also powerful because they set the agenda of what is covered in debate. We are dependent on the media and some media potentially have more power than others e.g. television news which is respected as a truthful source of information. Pluralists argue that modern society has produced discriminating cultural consumers. People are more literate, more aware of what's going on in the world, and class distinctions are now less important in influencing individual choice. People can choose from a wide range of options, and the WC are just as likely to watch Panorama as anyone else, while soap operas are watched by all. To support these arguments pluralists point to the way high culture now reaches a mass audience e.g. opera on TV. They point to the greater affluence of people where they have the money to buy a range of media products. The individual simply has the freedom to make his or her choice based on personal preference. CONCLUSION So on the surface we have very opposing views from the Marxists and Pluralists, but in fact they aren't so incompatible: The perceived differences between Marxist and Pluralist theories are no longer so clear cut. ...read more.


The differences between the two approaches are partly a result of misunderstanding and partly a result of the tendency of both traditions to study the mass media in different contexts. This is a consequence of their differing ideological and theoretical preoccupations. Summary Generally pluralists give media varying degrees of independence or autonomy with regard to other institutions like the state, political parties - and in their production of media content. But also underline dependence - e.g. state depends on mass media to propagate its information and mass media depend on state to provide this information. Pluralist approaches believe the media are not controlled by a few but represent a multiplicity of sources and a diversity of messages. They also believe that the media are only one force or influence in society - there are other influences too which can overrule any independent effect the media might have. According to the pluralist view of the world the established order is not fixed. Institutions and groups compete for power, and power in society is diffused/spread out. It isn't concentrated in the hands of a few. Through the competition of ideas, gradual change can take place. In contrast Marxist analysis emphasizes the established and fixed nature of the distribution of power - which is centered within a few institutions. Both pluralist and Marxist Positions are derived from an understanding of the nature of power and its distribution. ...read more.

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