of learning. The limited effects model specifically looked at the education of the masses and the shift to cognitive effects. Scholars argued whether the audience is passive or active? Is the media good or evil? This paradigm shift showed a reversion to qualitative themes. The Limited Effects Model also utilized the quantitative approach. In Lang and Lang (1953) they use a content analysis method to show how certain filters portray an “event.” They discuss what many refer to as “pseudo events” and “the pictures in our heads.” Had they used a qualitative method, they may not have come to the same findings and may not have been rooted in the “social process” (Lasswell, 1949).
Though quantitative methods proved invaluable, many theories and paradigms emerged that enabled the rise of qualitative, critical research. The Frankfurt School came about as homage to Marxism and a call for social inquiry. The School grappled over issues concerning mass society, standardization, consumerism, popular culture, mass persuasion, opinion leaders and commodification. Certain questions were being asked: where does media end and society begin? What is the relationship of this interdependence? What are media effects? In Merton (1945) the researchers were essentially purporting that media had some kind of effect but they did not know why. Questions of taste and normalcy were prevalent in such articles as Lowenthal (1942-1943) and Marcuse (1968).
Though the Frankfurt school may have focused too much on effects, the model of the culture industry did articulate how media had a salient function and role during a specific period in time. It focused intently on technology and culture. Marcuse (1968) especially argued that technology reorganize...
... middle of paper ...
...lems with capitalism and the market system. Political Economy looked at the continued tension between high and mass culture. Briefly defined, it is the social institution in the total view of the operation of power. It is concerned with the production of values, commodification, and structuration.
Influenced by Marxist thought, as was the Frankfurt School, it was introduced to the communication field for analysis of these concepts. Looking at the etymology of the word, one could very clearly see that it has components of the government (political) and the market (economy). The ideas of political economy are centrally related to the elements of power: who holds it, the unequal distribution of power, and the inability of those in the top strata to do anything about it. Given this, it is very clear why scholars would situate political economy historically in Marxism.
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