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The Media and Audience Research

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The Media and Audience Research One can begin to realize the effects and concerns of the media when analyzing the terms mediatization and industrialization brought forth by K. Ross and V. Nightingale in their article, "Audiences in Historical Perspectives." In the most basic and simplistic of explanations they identify media, or mediatization as, "the ways human cultures develop technologies that replicate, and usually also amplify, human senses and communicative power"(13). Media has given people the ability to transcend space and time, to read about, see or hear events that occurred thousands of miles away. However, what is more important is their idea of industrialization, not in its typical definition, but seen as the influence of the profit driven and commercial manipulation of media in a capitalist system, and the social and cultural transformations that occur because of it. The history of media studies on audience can be seen as a series of oscillations between viewpoints which have stressed the power of the message over its audiences and perspectives which stress the barriers the keep the audience neutral to the message. ...read more.


When a person watches a film that shows domestic abuse they normally don't go out and begin assaulting women. However, as Gerbner points out, "The assumptions, beliefs, and values of heavy viewers [of television] differ systematically from those of comparable groups of light viewers [...] most groups of heavy viewer score higher on our sexism scale"(29). Mr. Gerbner also highlights that there is a direct correlation to the amount of television someone watches, and the anxiety that they feel about the safety in their neighborhood. Television and other mediated messages do affect society on a daily basis. Nonetheless, it is the constant submersion in a television culture, with repetition of stereotypes and beliefs, which create the more subversive consequences that construct our knowledge of the world in a very frightening way. Another hole in Blumer's argument is that he lacks the recognition of prominent factors and circumstances. He gives no respect to issues such as income and location, arguing that there is no difference between child's play with boys from the suburbs and those from inner city slums. He states, "The evidence we have been able to secure shows an essential uniformity in the kinds of movie-inspired play among children regardless of their social status"(21). ...read more.


One can see that there is larger perspective to contemplate than just effects when the audience has become a part of an economic strategy. In our media dominated world today, people are no longer people, but dollar signs. We have become valued as consumers and customers. What can one say about a society driven by profit and greed? It is the process of the increasing privatization and dissemination of the corporate and capitalist ideologies that push us farther and farther into a moral decline. In the present time, with the ever-growing power of the media corporations and the increasing dependency on their technological devices, the future seems bleak. As Gerbner points out in the beginning of his article, "The longer we live with television, the more invisible it becomes"(17). The study of media effects isn't to make one feel hopeless or even to offer an all-powerful panacea to this growing problem. The audience does still have agency. One has the ability to choose, to watch, to change the channel, and most importantly, to spend. The importance of media and audience studies is to make society aware of these conditions and to see through the smoke screen. With this knowledge and understanding the manipulation process will be that much more difficult. ...read more.

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