Culture And The Power Of Media And Popular Culture

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The media and popular culture are undoubtedly powerful, possessing substantial agency and influence in society. According to Sarwar (2008, p189) “information is power”. The “communication media” (Thompson, 1995) is highly important to modern society, as its significant audience and widespread availability allow for efficient information transmission. This provides significant power and agency to the media industry, as it is arguably the only form of communication between the public and the original source of information, such as the state. Indeed, popular culture is also afforded power and agency within society, as it can determine common and accepted aspects of a national and global culture. John Thompson (1995, p4) argues that the “communication media” holds significant power. He argues that the media possesses considerable influence in modern society, therefore providing the media with significant agency (Thompson, 1995, p10). Thompson (1995, p5) argues that the communication media has been a powerful force behind social interaction and relationships, formulating new “ways of relating to others and to oneself” (Thompson, 1995, p4). Indeed, in the ‘Digital Age’, Thompson’s argument can be compared to the power of media in the world of the Internet, highlighting the formation of new social interactions in a place in which individuals do not have to be physically present to communicate and debate. Therefore, it is clear that elements of media and popular culture, such as social networking sites, obtain significant agency and power. The power of the media is clearly evident in the agency awarded to news broadcasters. As the place from which the general populous’ information is traditionally gained, news broadcasts have the signi... ... middle of paper ... ...standing of news broadcast and the concept of the celebrity. Popular culture and media are deeply ingrained in contemporary society. Influenced heavily by modernity and the process of modernisation, the importance of these models is constantly changing. Indeed, the power and agency afforded to the media and elements of popular culture are similarly evolving, as the society they represent evolves politically and economically. Walter Cronkite argued that the task of a journalist is “only to hold up the mirror, to tell and show the public what has happened” (Groeling, 2008, p633). However, this concept applies wholly to media and popular culture as well, as ultimately these cultural phenomena are reflections of the society they are intertwined in. Media and popular culture are constantly evolving and shifting, reflecting the societies they are the very product of.
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