Functionalist View of the Media Contrary to the conflict perspective sees the

Functionalist view of the media contrary to the

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Functionalist View of the Media Contrary to the conflict perspective, sees the media as valuable Fulfills important social functions o 1) Information: Allows the spread of information needed for social institutions to function o 2) Values and Norms: Helps instill values and norms that allow society to function smoothly o 3) Entertainment: Media helps keep people happy Media and Health A functionalist analysis of media effects on health suggests that the media helps society function by improving human health
Functioning societies require healthy people Spread valuable information: Public media campaigns can stress the importance of exercise, eating correctly, vaccination, e.t.c Find information: Can use media to find information to benefit their health Finding where to treat illness Whether you should go to the doctor or not Symbolic Interactionist View Mixed view: Media can promote domination or improve livelihoods Basic claim: Media helps to construct our social reality It creates and spreads symbols that become the basis for our shared understanding of society Allows societies to function Means of control and domination Focus: These symbols are used for our social relations and shape them ° ° Media: Really that powerful? Symbolic interactionists: believe socialization is more complex and that we are able to resist the media Media’s message must coincide w/ and be supported by our social environment/interactions and our preexisting views So if I watch fox news, I’m not going to be influenced. Might actually strengthen views contrary to Fox. ° ° Shier and Shor: “Shades of Foreign Evil” Elements of both conflict and symbolic interactionism o Shore: Prof at McGill focusing on deviance, violence, the media o Shier: Former undergraduate at McGill who wrote paper for Shor’s class on this topic o They collaborated to write the paper o Inherently, the article is interested in the effects of the media, although the analysis does not focus on this
o Instead, the analysis focuses on why the media defines some murders as “honour killings” and how “honour killings” are framed o Shapes the symbols and meanings we use to interact and make sense of the world ° ° Methods and findings Method: used Canadian newspapers to explore what causes a murder to gain the label “honor killing” and how “honor killings” are characterized Cultural origin: Find that that a murder of a family member will only gain the label “honor killing” if the perpetrator if from the Middle East or South Asia o Usually involves brother/father killing daughter/sister, not husband killing wife ° ° Media Portrayal of Causes of Killings Analysis compares “honor killings” to “spousal killings” that aren’t labeled “honor killing”. Consider how media frames both o Spousal killings: Media depicts as driven by personal problems/psychosis Not patriarchal even if men killing women o Honor killings: The newspapers blame “culture” for the killings o

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