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Media

MEDIA AND SOCIETY

THEORIES OF MEDIA

NEW MEDIA AND POSTMODERNISM

BIBLIOGRAPHY

In conversation, the term the media generally refers to communication media or mass media, which are available to a plurality of recipients and are conceived collectively, as a single, all-encompassing and pervasive entity. Originally meaning an intermediary or a middle quantity, the word medium has been in use since the sixteenth century. By the 1700s, the term was used to refer to currency and a medium of exchange. In the nineteenth century, medium tended to indicate a material used in creative expression and a channel of mass communication. Since the early twentieth century, medium has referred to any physical material used for recording or reproducing data, images, or sound (Oxford English Dictionary Online). The term media carries different meanings in various fields. In the field of natural science, a medium is a substrate, whereas in the arts it is a material with distinctive physical properties. In media studies and other social sciences, media typically refer to the means of communication (print or broadcast media) or certain technical forms by which these means are actualized (books, newspapers, television, radio, film, and now the Internet and video games) (OSullivan et al. 1994, p. 176).

Each mediumfrom the newspaper to the telephone to the personal digital assistanthas its own formal properties and preferred content, arises from distinctive political, economic, and cultural matrices, and holds the potential to influence individuals and society in varying ways. There are obvious limitations to regarding media only as technical devices for delivering content to receivers or audiences. The functions and impact of the media can be sufficiently understood only if broader social dimensions of communication are taken into account.

MEDIA AND SOCIETY

Today there is widespread recognition that the media have had significant impactsboth beneficial and deleteriouson individuals and societies through all stages of their development, playing key roles in socialization and education. They have been variously charged with watering down political debate while also opening up new political forums, and with debasing popular discourse while also facilitating more democratic access to educational resources.

Throughout the history of communication, each eras predominant media have reflected the shape and character of the civilizations that created and made of use them. Harold Innis (18941952), a Canadian economic historian, regards media as staples allowing for the creation of monopolies of knowledge, and he explores the impact of the media on the spatial and temporal organization of power. Durable, or what he calls time-biased, media, like stone and clay tablets, make a society or empire tend toward longevity (e.g., the Egyptian civilization), whereas light, portable, space-biased media, like papyrus, allow for territorial expansion, as with the Roman Empire. In the latter part of the fourteenth century, block printing techniques, first developed in East Asia, reached Europe, where, by the 1450s, metal printing was developed by Johannes Gutenberg. Printing technology revolutionized religion and education in Europe by bringing the word, printed in vernacular languages, to the public. Print culture has been essential to the development of such aspects of Western modernity as rational individualism, scientific knowledge, the nation-state, and capitalism. The emergence of radio broadcasting in the 1920s ushered in a new era in the development of electronic communication media. The ability of radio to reach, simultaneously, unprecedented numbers of people was soon exploited by totalitarian regimes. The rise of film necessitated the creation of a massive industry and new communal exhibition spaces, forged new relationships between media makers and politicians (e.g., the Committee on Public Information), and provided a new form for addressing timely social issues. In the mid-twentieth century, television, through both its form and content, reinforced postwar consumerism and a turn inward, to the private suburban home and the nuclear family.

THEORIES OF MEDIA

Not until recently have the media received sufficient critical attention in academic fields. Classical thinkers such as Karl Marx (18181883), Max Weber (18641920), and Emile Durkheim (18581917) neglected the role of the media in the development of modern societies. With industrialization, urbanization, and modernization, the growth of the media accelerated, as did scholars interest in it. Communication studies programs began appearing in Western universities in the early twentieth century. These early programs tended to focus on the use of media in public addressduring the war years, for propagandaand on medias effects on its audiences. A critical analysis of the medium itselfand not on the process of communication or rhetoricis a relatively new development, one that distinguishes media studies from communication studies. The various approaches to the media can be divided into three general categories, in accordance with their particular focusthough it should be noted that these are not mutually exclusive and are commonly applied in combination.

Media and Political Economics The political economics approach advanced studies of media in the mid-twentieth century. Walter Lippmann (18891974) studied the formation of public opinion through propaganda, while Harold Lasswell (19021978) conducted empirical analyses of communication, commonly through content analyses of propaganda in the two World Wars. Yet this early work tended to focus on the effects of a mediums message on the audiences and paid little attention to the nature of the medium itself. Through his investigation of the transformation of the public sphere, Jürgen Habermas (b. 1929) critically examined the political role of the print mediasuch as the periodical pressduring the transition from absolutism to liberal democracy in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The conventional Marxist theory of the media is also one of the main schools of the political economic approach. More recent political economic media scholarship, including the work of Noam Chomsky (b. 1928) and Robert McChesney (b. 1952), focuses on ownership of media organization and argues that the consolidation of ownership in the hands of a few large media corporations limits the variety of ideas presented to the public. Theorists of this type also emphasize the institutional nature of media, focusing on the labor of media production (e.g., work in the newsroom or on the film set).

Media and Technology The technological approach focuses attention on the material substance of the media. This approach tends to examine the technological attributes, the form, of the medium, and the impact that those material qualities have on individual and social development. The famous dictum of Marshall McLuhan (19111980), The Medium is the Message, illustrates the importance of the technical form of media irrespective of their content. Understanding media as extensions of the human body, McLuhan argued that media technologies encourage distinctive modes of thought and perception, which has profound social consequences. Print, for instance, encourages rational, linear thinking, and portable books, which can be read in private, tend to promote atomization. He also devised the concepts of hot and cool media to describe how particular media forms encourage more or less participation in the communication process.

Media and Culture The cultural approach to media tends to examine the interplay between cultural production, identity politics, media representation, and reception, often in quotidian settings and situation. The theorists of the Frankfurt school made significant contributions to the early development of cultural analysis of the media in the 1930s and 1940s. Max Horkheimer (18951973) and Theodor W. Adorno (19031969) critically investigated the ideological function of communication media as a tool of social domination. According to them, the culture industry, a central characteristic of a new configuration of capitalist modernity, ultimately induced compliance with dominant social relations by utilizing mass communication. Compared to their overly negative view of mass media, Walter Benjamin (18921940) put more emphasis on the positive role of the media. Benjamin argued that while communication technologies such as photography and cinema have tended to destroy the authentic and unique character of artwork, they have also created new forms of media culture that provide the modern masses with the opportunity for aesthetic experience and thereby stimulate their critical political consciousness. More recently, scholars like Raymond Williams (19211988), James Carey (19342006), and those of the Birmingham school have conceived of communication as culture, and have endeavored to combine media studies with cultural studies. They examine how dominant ideologies are embedded in, and produce meaning in, popular culture by virtue of mass media. Rejecting elitist perspectives that regard audiences as inert masses engaging in passive reception, these scholars emphasize that media consumers actively produce meaning by accepting, negotiating, or rejecting a mediums dominant meaning.

NEW MEDIA AND POSTMODERNISM

Electronic and digital media have indeed made their mark on contemporary societies around the globe, introducing new challenges and opportunities. Yet long-lived concerns, including the independence of media from government and corporate control, are extant not only in the postindustrial world, but particularly in developing nations. The role of the media, from the local to the international level, in contemporary political conflicts, from terrorism to political coups, has garnered much attention inside and outside the academy. Meanwhile, video games, often charged with promoting violence and encouraging sedentary lifestyles, are championed by some designers and educators as a revolutionary new tool for hands-on learning. Video cameras, when used as surveillance media, and Internet spyware have also raised political and ethical questions about the uses to which technologies are put: to protect children from potential sexual predators in online chat rooms, to monitor employees business-related correspondence, or to track people traffic in urban public places. Personal media technologies such as cellular phones, digital cameras, and MP3 playersmany of which come equipped with global positioning technologyshape users conceptions of time and space, changing the way people schedule their daily activities, interact with friends and family, and navigate through space. These new media are influencing the way people learn, create personal identities and social networks, and engage in politics, and the way governments and economies evolve in response to global flows of capital and culture. Jean Baudrillard (19292007), a French philosopher, sees the emergence of cyberspace and new media technologies as creating what he calls simulation and hypperreality. In the age of postmodern society, he argues, the new media-saturated culture becomes predominant over the real world, replacing conventional social relations grounded in political economics.

Mediaregarded either as a collective, encompassing, mass entity or as individual technologies with distinctive forms and unique political, economic, and cultural characteristicsinteract with individuals and societies in ways that have attracted attention both within popular culture and across academic disciplines. And in what is regarded as an increasingly mediated world, their influence will undoubtedly continue to be subjected to scholarly examination and critique.

SEE ALSO Chomsky, Noam; Communication; Cultural Studies; Cyberspace; Frankfurt School; Habermas, Jürgen; Hall, Stuart; Information, Economics of; Internet; Journalism; Lasswell, Harold; Marxism; Medium Is the Message; Postmodernism; Public Sphere; Repressive Tolerance; Television

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Baudrillard, Jean. [1981] 1994. Simulacra and Simulation. Trans. Sheila Faria Glaser. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Benjamin, Walter. [1936] 2002. The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility. In Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Vol. 3: 19351938, trans. Edmund Jephcott, Howard Eiland, et al., 101133. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Carey, James W. 1989. Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society. New York: Routledge.

Habermas, Jürgen. [1962] 1989. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Trans. Thomas Burger. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Hall, Stuart, et al., eds. 1980. Culture, Media, Language. New York: Routledge.

Herman, Edward S., and Noam Chomsky. 1988. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. New York: Pantheon.

Horkheimer, Max, and Theodor W. Adorno. [1947] 1997. Dialectic of Enlightenment. Trans. Edmund Jephcott. London and New York: Verso.

Innis, Harold. 1951. The Bias of Communication. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Lasswell, Harold D. 1938. Propaganda Technique in the World War. New York: Peter Smith.

Lippmann, Walter. 1922. Public Opinion. New York: Free Press.

McChesney, Robert W. 1999. Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

McLuhan, Marshall. 1964. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. New York: McGraw-Hill.

OSullivan, Tim, et al., eds. 1994. Key Concepts in Communication and Cultural Studies. 2nd ed. London and New York: Routledge.

Thompson, John B. 1995. The Media and Modernity: A Social Theory of the Media. Cambridge, U.K.: Polity Press.

Williams, Raymond. 1962. Communications. Harmondsworth, U.K.: Penguin.

Shannon Mattern

Jae Ho Kang

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Media

265. Media

See also 237. LANGUAGE STYLE ; 343. RADIO .

feuilletonism
1. the practice among European newspapers of allowing space, usually at the bottom of a page or pages, for fiction, criticism, columnists, etc.
2. the practice of writing critical or familiar essays for the feuilleton pages. feuilletonist , n.
journalese
language typical of journalists and newspapers or magazines, characterized by use of neologism and unusual syntax. Also called newspaperese.
journalism
1. the occupation of reporting, writing, editing, photographing, or broadcasting news.
2. the occupation of running a news organization as a business.
3. the press, printed publications, and their employees.
4. an academie program preparing students in reporting, writing, and editing for periodicals and newspapers. journalist , n. journalistic , adj.
kinescope
1. a type of cathode-ray tube used in the reception of television images.
2. a recording of a television program on motion-picture film.
kinetophone
an apparatus for projecting sound and pictures by a combination of a phonograph and a kinetoscope.
kinetoscope
an early apparatus for producing a moving picture. See also 226. INSTRUMENTS . Cf. kinetophone .
newspaperese
journalese.
periodicalist
a person who publishes or writes for a periodical.
photojournalism
a form of journalism in which photographs play a more important part than written copy. photojournalist , n.
propagandism
1. the action, practice, or art of propagating doctrines, as in the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge.
2. the deliberate spreading of information or ideas to promote or injure a cause, nation, etc. propagandist , n. propagandistic , adj.
reportage
1. the act or process of reporting news.
2. an account of a current or historical event, not appearing in conventional news media, written in a journalistic style.
sensationalism
the act of shocking or intent to shock, especially through the media; the practice of using startling but superficial efïects, in art, literature, etc., to gain attention. See also 248. LITERARY STYLE ; 312. PHILOSOPHY . sensationalist , n.

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MEDIA

MEDIA [Coined in the 1920s, as a shortening of mass media]. A collective term for newspapers, broadcasting, and other vehicles of widespread communication and entertainment, often used attributively in such phrases as Media Studies and media education. In the later 20c, the usage has been increasingly detached from its singular form medium, and often therefore takes a singular verb (as in ‘someone the media is interested in these days’). In this, the term resembles data, whose sense and intent are now collective rather than plural. The traditional information media are speech, writing, and print (‘Cogitations [are] expressed by the Medium of Words’, Francis Bacon, Advancement of Learning, volume 2, 1605), but since the later 19c systems of electrical and electronic communication have increasingly done more than simply convey information from person to person: they inform and entertain huge audiences, now often in their hundreds of millions worldwide. Although the televisual media have now in ‘mass’ terms superseded the print media, such electronic media as the INTERNET are vastly extending and adapting print and blending it with visual and vocal material. Following the spread of television as a news medium, the Canadian communication theorist Marshall McLuhan expressed in the 1960s a radical view of society as shaped more by the style and nature than the content of the media (hence his comment ‘the medium is the message’). It is currently widely agreed that the media are not neutral, impassive agencies that transmit news and views, but are themselves influential selectors, shapers, manufacturers, and even on occasion fabricators of news and views.

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Media

Media (mē´dēə), ancient country of W Asia whose actual boundaries cannot be defined, occupying generally what is now W Iran and S Azerbaijan. It extended from the Caspian Sea to the Zagros Mts. The Medes were an Indo-European people who spoke an Iranian language closely akin to old Persian. Some scholars claim they were an Aryanized people from Turan. Since there are no Median records, Assyrian and Greek sources must be relied upon for Median history. The Medes extended their rule over Persia during the reign of Sargon (d. 705 BC) and under Cyaxares captured Nineveh in 612 BC; they were the first people subject to Assyria to secure their freedom. The dynasty continued until the rule of Astyages, when it was overthrown (c.550 BC) by Cyrus the Great and united with the Persian Empire. In the 2d cent. BC Media became part of the Parthian kingdom and was later ruled by the Romans.

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media

me·di·a1 / ˈmēdēə/ • n. 1. plural form of medium. 2. (usu. the media) [treated as sing. or pl.] the main means of mass communication (esp. television, radio, newspapers, and the Internet) regarded collectively: [as adj.] the campaign won media attention. me·di·a2 • n. (pl. -di·ae / -dēˌē; -dēˌī/ ) 1. Anat. an intermediate layer, esp. in the wall of a blood vessel. 2. Phonet. a voiced unaspirated stop; (in Greek) a voiced stop.

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media

media General term for the modern channels of public information. Traditionally, they are radio, television, newspapers, and films, but the Internet is increasingly accepted as a form of media. These media disseminate information and entertainment on a wide scale and their powers of manipulating public opinion are the subject of much discussion and research.

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media

media (tunica media) (meed-iă) n.
1. the middle layer of the wall of a vein or artery.

2. the middle layer of various other organs or parts.

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Media

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media

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media

mediaGambia, ZambiaArabia, labia, SwabiaLibya, Namibia, tibia •euphorbia •agoraphobia, claustrophobia, homophobia, hydrophobia, phobia, technophobia, xenophobia, Zenobia •Nubia • rootbeer • cumbia •Colombia, Columbia •exurbia, Serbia, suburbia •Wiltshire • Flintshire •gaillardia, Nadia, tachycardia •steadier • compendia •Acadia, Arcadia, nadir, stadia •reindeer •acedia, encyclopedia, media, multimedia •Lydia, Numidia •India • belvedere • Claudia •Cambodia, odea, plasmodia, podia, roe-deer •Mafia, raffia, tafia •Philadelphia • hemisphere •planisphere • Montgolfier • Sofia •ecosphere • biosphere • atmosphere •thermosphere • ionosphere •stratosphere • headgear • switchgear •logia • nemesia • menhir

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