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"Discuss the role of Media Studies in making sense of the political, economic and cultural meaning of everyday life".

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Introduction

"Discuss the role of Media Studies in making sense of the political, economic and cultural meaning of everyday life" "Do violent video's cause crime? Should large numbers of television channels and newspapers be owned by one corporation? Should European governments subsidise their film industries to protect their culture and language from American imperialism?" (Bazalgette, 2000; p.6) These are just some of the questions that are constantly provoking endless arguments within the media and wider society. Media Studies is controversial for many reasons, one being that it is still new, as well as the point that it generates challenging and threatening questions about the information we receive through the media. Sure, majority of people know that we are constantly emerged in a society largely dominated by the media world, but does it actually have an effect on the political, economical and cultural meanings created in society? Through media studies, we can gain a stronger understanding of these effects, and therefore use it to make sense of our everyday lives. For many people in developed countries, the media has become so much a part of everyday life that it is often taken for granted. Individuals could easily partake in as little as five different forms of media within the first hour of waking up. ...read more.

Middle

The political, economic and cultural influences of media cannot however be completely separated, that is, they are not mutually exclusive terms and are constantly overlapping. It has now become conventional to contrast the main theoretical differences behind media studies as either 'European' or 'American' methodologies. Using this characterisation, 'European' generally takes a macro perspective, looking down on society as a whole, and is critical of society, as it exists, however the 'American' approach prefers a micro style. It is not so much interested in 'saving the world' but remains more conservative (Sinclair, 2002). Sinclair also discusses ideological critique and Marxism. According to the ideological critique theory, "the media forms an institution within capitalism which serves to reconcile the exploited class to its fate" (Sinclair; p25). This view argues that through diversion and misinformation, the media induces 'false consciousness' so that the working class never realises their historical fate, which is to unite capitalism. They are made to believe that capitalism is both desirable and inevitable, and they should therefore simply accept their place within it. European Marxists tended to rely and focus upon the meaning of media messages, however the political economy approach puts its emphasis on the production and distribution of media content, rather than regarding its meaning. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example, anyone born in the first half of the twentieth century is unlikely to have seen a television until they were about five years old, and have probably never played a computer game (Bazalgette, 2000), whereas today younger generation are brought up on computers, television and other forms of media, and therefore almost everything is done with technology. Through media in general, individuals gain a sense of other lifestyles around the world and use them to compare and critically reflect on their own conditions of life (Thompson). Media Studies largely focuses on social outcomes, and therefore the social, economic, political and cultural conditions within which the media operate are also closely examined. Through studying such an interdisciplinary subject, individuals gain a greater understanding of how to make sense of the meanings of our lives. The media is now an unavoidable part of everyday activities, therefore understanding the influences of it is invaluable. The media not only provide entertainment, but provide and shape much of the information we act on in our daily lives (Giddens, 2001). Individuals and society are at large subject to what the specific media choose to tell us, and how. It is up to the individual though, to look beyond the first piece of the puzzle and seek a true understanding. ...read more.

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