McQuail (2)

McQuail (2) - 5 M a ss Communication a nd C ulture C...

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5 Ma ss Communication and Culture Communication and culture 112 The beginnings: the Frankfurt School and critical cultural theory 115 The redemption of the popular 117 Gender and the moss media 120 Commercialization 123 Communication technology and culture 125 Moss media and postmodern culture 128 Conclusion 131 Copyr gh!cd malcria
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112 Th eories This chaptet· sets out to explore the mot·c ·cultural' dimensions of the theot·ies alreacty discussed in Chapter 4 and lO inll'Oduce some additional pei'Speclives. The general framework of 'mediation' (see pp. B3-4} remains relevant, but here the e mphasis shifts to wl1at Is mediated (tl1e particular meanings) and to tJ1e process by which meaning is given and taken (sometimes reJerred to as 'signification'}. Sinc.e the earlier days of mass communlcatfon research, a dJstlnctJve ·culturaUsr perspective on mass media has been developing, especially undc1 · the inRucncc of the humanities (lit.cratlll'c, linguistks, philosophy), as distinct ~'Om the more social scientific emphasis of 'mainstream' communication science. At some points, or on some Issues, the two ttadltlons have merged. although there remain substantial differences oftllinking and method. This book. and this chapter, are written primarily from a social scientific perspective, but aim also to benefit from some the insights and ideas of the 'cultur::dists: The cultul·alist ai>PI'Oach takes In all aspects of the production. forms and reception of texts in this sense and the discourses that surround them. While mass media necessarily fall within the range of cultural studies, the latter has a much wider l'ange of reference. and there is only a limited overlap of issues and the01y. 1\s will be shown,lhe culture canno t only be defined in terms of texts, but relates just as much to patterns of life and thought and potentially all human activity. To put it brieny, 'media- cultural' theory is concerned not only with the content of mass mediw, but also with the context of production and reception and with all the surrounding practices. Communication and Culture Janu•s C::m .. 'Y ( 1975) proposed an alternative to the dominant view of communication as rransml.(<lon In the form of a 'ritual' model (see p. 71), ami he has also advocated an approach communication and society in which culture is allotted a more central place. 'Social li fe is more than power and trade . .. It also includes the shar.ing of aesthetic exp~ ric n ce, religious ideas, personal values and sentiments. and intellectual notions - a ritual order' (Co1rey, 19BfJ: 34). Accordingly, he defined communication as ·, symbolic process wherehy reality is produced, maintained. repaired and transfonned' (19B8: 23). In orc.lcr to tal<e further the qucsllon of the relation bct,vccn massconununlcatlon and culture in this sense, we need to be more precise about what presents itself as an object <lf sn1dy. This Is made difficult by the many senses In which the term 'culture' Is used, Itself a reflection of the complexity of the phenomenon. Cultu1·c is defined by Carey as a process. but it can also refer to some
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This note was uploaded on 07/14/2011 for the course JOU 455 taught by Professor Cotton during the Spring '11 term at Kentucky.

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McQuail (2) - 5 M a ss Communication a nd C ulture C...

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