The Importance Of The Media

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The hypodermic syringe approach, created in the 1930s believes that the media is a highly influential factor that can determine ones behaviour, emphasising the ‘copy-cat’ idea. This theory has been heavily critiqued and is outdated; however, it has proven to be somewhat true in the ‘Bobo Doll experiment’ conducted by Bandura, Ross and Ross (1961). These findings uncovered a correlation between the observation of aggressive media and the subsequent imitation by children, however, it does not take into account an individual’s own circumstances and other factors that can influence their behaviour. Gramsci (1971, as cited in Chapter 22: Media and Popular Culture, 2015, pg 471) further investigates the power the audience has by arguing that messages…show more content…
This highlights that the audience makes a choice when accepting or rejecting media influence, placing the onus of the shaping of one 's actions on the individual (Hall 1973). Lilleker (2006) extends this, arguing that the postmodern audience is not as homogenous as the previous generations and therefore are more likely to rebuff media influence, questioning the perceived audience passiveness presented by the hypodermic syringe approach. Although the approach is, to a degree, too simplistic in order to account for audience interpretation and does view audiences as passive, which has been argued to not be the case (Lilleker, 2006), it does hold some merit. Particularly when looking at the ‘Bobo Doll Experiment’ the short term effects of the media, whether it is by language or by actions disseminated to the masses, the findings are too strong to be ignored.
Functionalists view the media as playing an active socialising role in society. They argue that this ‘socialising’ teaches society how to behave, thereby ensuring the successful reproduction of societal norms. Functionalism
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The Frankfurt School (Marjoribanks, pg 471) further extend this idea by understanding media as commodifying culture, viewing the media as a hegemonic force, conversely presenting the audience as passive. This perceived passivity has been widely contested (Macionis & Plummer 2002 cited in Marjoribanks, pg 471), and even Gramsci (1971, cited in Majoribanks, pg 471) has critiqued this notion by indicating that in order for a hegemonic ruling to happen it must be consented by the public, thereby placing the choice of submitting to the media and its influences on the audience. Marjoribanks makes a valid point in highlighting the idea of ‘hegemony’ indicates a possibility that the audience can challenge the dominant ideas and overturn consent, presenting the notion that the audience is an active group, rather than passive. Extending this argument Hall’s (1973) encoding and decoding is mentioned; which found that the accepting and rejecting of media messages is controlled by an individual’s upbringing, values and ideals, thereby diminishing the perceived strong power that hegemonic forces have over the public. Morley (1992) agrees, highlighting Counihan’s (1973:43 as cited in Morley (1992) pg 72) conclusions that the media-audience

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