Media Studies - mass communication revision notes.

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Mass Communication

3 Exams

1) October 9th

2) November 13th

3) December 18th - Final Exam

Mass communication

- as an apparatus (captures, possesses, orients, intercepts)

- in terms of behavioral/effects research

- ethnographically, lie in relation to the audience

Apparatus describes power in a post-industrial society = information society = knowledge economy

anything that has in some way the capacity to capture, orient, determine, intercept, model, central, or secure the gestures behaviors, opinions or discussing of living being.

Ethno - graphically

Culture + geography

Old meaning

- to impact - to share - to make common

- Initial sense of participation

- Ideal of transmission

- Effect of forces

New meaning

- The act of transmitting

- giving/exchanging information signals of message by talk gesture or writing

- A system for send and receiving message

Types of communication

Speech, writing, gesture, image/symbol

Ideology - belief systems

Propaganda - message of influence or pervasion

mis-information -- wrong information

dis-information -- distraction -- leads to a different set of assumptions

verify = test

Modes of Communication

- Language

- Gesture

- Core idea underlying communication : message

- creating and using symbol systems that convey information and meaning through messages

- the process of human beings sharing messages, whether ⋯⋯

- communication doesn't happen if I talk

      - and you don't listen

      - Or if you don't understand

- We communication only when meaning is shared as result of the message - making (and "sending") process.


- Group

- public

- Mass

Vocabulary for week 2:

Cultural Theory: the idea that meaning and the effect are negotiated by media and audiences as they interact in culture.

Mass Society Theory: the idea that media are corrupting influences; they undermine the social order, the average people are defenseless against their influence.

Agenda setting (plan): theory that argues that media may not tell us what to think but that media tell us what to think about is about posing questions to society.

Attitude Change Theory: theory that explains how people's attitudes are formed, shaped, and changed and how these attitudes influence behavior

Part 1

Walter Benjamin - the work of art in the age of Mechanical Reproduction. 1936

Benjamin was concerned with impact on art of mass technologies of reproduction:






Around the year 1900 technical reproduction became a standard having big influence on society.

2 questions Benjamin is asking:

     1) How does this change society and culture?

     2) What are the implications?

* What are the new and different understandings of art?

       - The "Aura" of an object, its uniqueness is threatened

* We have a new relationship to politics and art.

       - The manipulations of art can be put in the hands of dangerous politicians

* There are now revolutionary demands on the politics of art.

       - The nature of art of the common people becomes the art of class struggle.

Part 2

Because of technology, the area of the object is disappearing.

"Aura" = is a ritual that legitimates society information

There is a change in the authority of art with reproduction, the authenticity is interfered with.

Part 3: Mass Perception

How human see and perceive is organized because of historical conditions and the decay of the aura.

It brings art close to life. Now everyone is a photographer.

Marshall McLuhan "The Medium is the Message" (originally in understanding media, 1964) (1911-1980)

The medium is the message:

- The media are extensions of our senses and bodies

- Changes in media transform our environment and affect everything we do - they alter our "media ecology"

         *extensions = prosthetics substitute

- Media structure our economic, cultural practices and forms of life.

- This is why McLuhan emphasizes the light bulb as a key example of a medium that shapes form and scale of human action.

Acoustic bias

Oral culture

Medieval culture was primarily oral, and now (electronic argues) "electronic technology" has reintroduced an acoustic bias into Western culture.

Spatial bias


"Gutenberg technology"

Tocqueville: print homogenized the French nation (p.134)

Written VS. oral perception and organization of experience.

The Medium is the Message:

*The form of the medium is together with the message, creating a relationship by which the medium INFLUENCE how the message is perceived, creating small changes over time.

*Media themselves, NOT the content they carry, should be the focus of study the medium affects society more importantly than the content in the medium

*A light bulb is a medium with no content, a light bulb creates an environment by its presence alone.

McLuhan makes a difference between HOT AND COLD MEDIA

the telephone is a cool medium, because the car is given little amount of information. Speech is a cool medium of low definition, because so little is given and so much has to be filled in by the listener.

Cool Media = media that requires little participation, little interaction

Hot Media = media that is very interactive = video games, internet etc.

Medium as mirror = we see "ourselves in the medium"

Medium as prosthesis = "we are changed by the medium"

Join now!

what is communication?

what is theory?

why do marriages fail?


no communication

Dr. John Gotoman is a communications professor. He has 4 reasons why people get divorced. If he talks to the couple for 5 minutes. He can know if the message will survive 90% right.

What is communication?

"Communication is a systemic process in which individuals interact with and through symbols to create and interpret meanings."

1) Systemic = when we talk to someone we are walking into a person's system of meaning

        every person has background, cultural, male/female, education, ...

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