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Media studies is a social science that studies the nature and affects that mass media has on individuals and society as a whole.

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Introduction

Media studies is a social science that studies the nature and affects that mass media has on individuals and society as a whole. Today, media provides us with information on a nationwide basis and is designed to reach the largest possible audience. Thus, news, entertainment and advertising, produced by different mediums are designed for and reflect society's tastes, lifestyles and views. At its most basic media studies critically analyses what we know and how we came to know it. In the quest to develop information about the media, and their role in everyday life, two general schools of thought have evolved. The North American tradition uses 'content analysis' to describe media messages and measure audience reactions. On the other hand, the European tradition, or the 'critical' approach, examines media texts as complex structures of meaning. It utilises 'semiology' and qualitative analysis in an attempt to understand the meaning of texts. (Sinclair "media and Communications: Theoretical Traditions" 2002). Regardless of which approach is used textual analysis is crucial as media texts form such a big part of our world and has vast effects on all elements of society. Mass media began in the late 18th century with the Industrial Revolution and although it has only been around for a short time, it has progressed, evolved and spread at such a rapid pace. Emerging in the 1900's with the mass circulation of press and the introduction of cinema, media today now spreads as wide as to include as television, internet, magazines and computer games. ...read more.

Middle

Agencies such as "educational systems, the labour market the welfare system," influence the ways individuals construct their own social systems. Media studies is about questioning. We are forced to critically analyse what we know and how we came to know it. When analysing a text "we make and educated guess at some of the most likely interpretations that might be made of that text." (McKee, A. "A Beginner's Guide to Textual Analysis" 2001). McKee (2001) contends that there is no single description of reality against which all texts can be measured and judged for their accuracy. Rather, every version of reality can only be accepted as another representation of reality. Accordingly, McKee (2001) suggests that when performing textual analysis in newspaper stories, for example, it is crucial that we relate texts to their surrounding context. In doing so, we hope to attain a more relevant and accurate interpretation of the way the text represents the world around us. The North American tradition, also known as the pragmatic approach believes that society is based on consensus, and thus media content is expected to have direct effects upon its audiences. This theory has adopted 'content analysis' as an empirical form of analysing and describing media messages and a way of measuring audience reactions. This method involves breaking down the components of a media text into units and counting them. Sinclair (2002) ...read more.

Conclusion

Textual analysis assumes that signs structure the way in which the world is seen. Because mass media constitutes so much of our every day life and consequently has a profound influence over it, its study is necessary to help understand the world around us. Media studies involve reflecting on all elements of society. It allows for us to analyse the political and economic dimension of society, as well as providing us with information about our culture and social makeup. In order to make sense of our complex world, there is a need to know how people producing media texts are interpreting the world around them. Two different techniques and traditions have evolved in an attempt to do so. Both content analysis (as stemming from North American tradition) and semiology (stemming from European tradition) provide us with a guideline of analysing and interpreting the media world around us. Reference List: � Bazalgette, C. "Why Media Studies is Worthwhile" in D. Fleming (ed.), Formations. A 21st Century Media Studies Textbook, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2000 pp.5-14 � Sinclair, J. "Media and Communications: Theoretical Traditions" in S. Cunningham and G. Turner (eds). The Media & Communications in Australia, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2002, pp. 23-34. � Thompson, J.B. "Self and Experience in a Mediated World", The Media and Modernity; A Social Theory of the Media, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1995 pp.209-219. � McKee, A. "A Beginner's Guide to Textual Analysis" in Metro Magazine, No.127/128, 2001, pp.138-149. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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