croteau media and ideology

croteau media and ideology - \~ C HAPTER 5 Media and...

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\~ ~I CHAPTER 5 Media and Ideology M ?st media scholars.believe that media texts articulate coherent, if shifting, ways of seeing the world. These- texts.,~elp to define our world and provide models fOr uwmpriate hebaviqr and attitudes. How, for example, do media products depict the "appropriate" roles of men and women,. parents and children, or bosses and workers? What defines "success," and how is it achieved? What qualifieS as ~criminal activity," and what are the sources of crime and social disorder? What are the underlying messages in media content, and whose interests do these messages serve? TheSe _are,. fundamgntaHy q 1 '£Stiq_os-ahout media and ideology. · ~ost ideological analyses of mass media products forus on the content of the messages the stories they tell about the past. i!nd the present- rather ·than the- "effects" of such storifs. In this chapter, then, we focus primarily on media messages. Part Four of this book will tum to the relationship between nledia messages and their audi-ences. What Is Ideology? Ideology is a decidedly complicated.-term with different implications depending on the context in which it is used. In everyday language, it can be an insult to charge someone with being "ideological," since this label suggests rigidity in the face of ovetwhelming evideric~ contradicting one's beliefs. When Marxists speak of 11 ideology," they often mean belief systems that heip justify the actions of those in power by distorting and misrepresenting reality. When we talk about ideology, then, we need to be careful to specify what we mean by the term. --- . When scholars examine media products to uncover their "ideology," they are interested in the-underlying images of sode th rovide. In is context, an ideology is· bask y a system of meaning that helps define and explain the WQrJd and:.tbat.makes VB'''f'--iUid&JJlWts about that 159
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160 1 Content: Media Representations of the Social World world. ideolo is related to co nee ts such as worldview, belie system, and values, but it is broader than those terms. It refers ~at o~ly to the behe~s held about the world but also to the basic ways m whtch the world ts defined. Ideology, then, is not just about politics; it has a broader and more fundamental connotation. . When we examine the ideology of media, we are not so much t.nter- ested in the specific activities depicted in a single newspaper, mo~I~, or hit song as in the broader system of meaning of which these dep~cuons are a part For ideological anal~is, the key is the fit between the tmages and words ~ specific media ~~~d ~e thinking about, even d'etiirrng:Social and culturaltssnes. . AS we will explore in the next chapter, media scholars ar; often mter: ested in assessing how media content compares to the real wo~ld. Scholars. are interested in the images of, say, women, or Afncan Americans-and how these images may change over time-be~ause :hey contribute to the ways we understand the roles of these ou s 1,?
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croteau media and ideology - \~ C HAPTER 5 Media and...

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