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Why is media history important?

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Why is media history important? The study of media history is vital in the understanding of, people and there societies. Through the study of the past we gain an understanding of what and why things happened. History gives you back your past. In the same way as individual people need memory to shape identity and plan for the future, communities need history to give dimension and meaning to the present. Without an understanding of the past, the present doesn't make much sense. As Shannon Bohan writes "History can broaden one's horizons and open the doors to endless possibilities. The study of history can not only enlighten the mind, but it can prove instrumental in preventing the repeat of past mistakes. Without history, there can be no future."(Shannon Bohan '04). The media plays an integral part to people's lives. From the moment we wake up we are engulfed in a media-centric world. The study of media history is important because it helps us understand the past, present and future. Through an understanding of where the media came from, we can predict things by seeing how they happened before. The study of media history also gives us an identity. The media presents us with images of the world all the time. We understand cultures and ideologies through the media. The media shapes are beliefs, hence by looking at the history of media we understand culture in a way that know other source of material can. ...read more.


At first cinema was seen as a novelty, circus act. However it grew to become a crucial part of people's lives. Historians have studied the problem of equality in our culture for centuries. Yet the cinema is one thing that has advanced the fight for equality more then all most all other things. In the 1930's cinema was the first recreational activity that bought the masses together. Upper, lower and middle classes where all bought together to watch films. Cinema had crossed the previously un-crossable class divide. Although it is clear that class did still mean that people went to see different films, the cinema was an idea that bought everyone to it. The history of media is so important because it has such an impact on people. It has shaped are lives, and by understanding it, we can understand why things happen in the wider world. Media history is also crucial in examining identity. Media history tells us "how families, groups, institutions and whole countries were formed and about how they have evolved while retaining cohesion" ('why study history pg 1). One example of how the media has created identity is by looking at the theory of a mass society. Mass society means that "the mass of the population has become incorporated into society" (Boyd-Barrett, D and Newbold, C. 1995 pg81). This idea suggests that people merge in to society and have there beliefs and ideologies. ...read more.


The media it appears shapes the political landscape, and ultimately shapes the countries future. By viewing the media, the public decides upon its own views. Newspapers have political leanings, when the public read them they are making a decision as to which party they are going to follow. The media has huge power over society, and so its history needs continued studying and understanding. Another new idea that evolved partly down to the media was consumerism. Consumerism began in the 1950's after the years of austerity were bought to an end. People wanted to have there own individual identity. "Meaningful pleasure, that had been denied by the elitists" (Curran, J. 2002) was now open to all. Media was opening up new experiences. The study of the history of media helps us understand why we do what we do. In conclusion the history of media is important, because firstly the media is a huge factor in our lives. It has influenced countless generations, and helped shaped the ideologies of our society. By looking at the history of media it helps us learn from the mistakes of the past, so we can create a bright future. We can learn why we do what we do, and understand the reason things are as they are, such as the B.B.C. We also learn about society, as media is both a vital social tool, as well as a key way of communicating ideas. Studying the history of media helps us learn about are culture, and helps keep are culture going. ...read more.

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