Analyse the relationship between media and society

MEDIA AND SOCIETY What is the relationship between media and society? - ppt download

analyse the relationship between media and society

The relationship between society and the mass media in the United States has a macroscopic theory (it presumed to explain society-wide effects of the media). The glasnost legacy represents a cultivated version of the role of media in a democracy . examine the media-society relationships and to the paradigms which. Digital communication is changing the relationship between media A wide range of normative theories deal with the relationship of the media to society. create communities who only consume and discuss what they agree.

In the next —6— section I will thus discuss the wider implications of sign value in relation to production in contemporary media and cultural industries. The fashion de sign of haute couture is produced through semiotic labour, that is, in the practice of signification carried out by the designer: Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, and their colleagues.

And the exchange value of haute couture is more dependent on the signifying practices of this group of designers than it is on the quality of the raw material they work with although this naturally also contributes to the exchange value of fashion commodities. This is what Baudrillard by way of Barthes hints at when he argues for the dominance of sign value over use value — the function of covering the body, or keeping it warm, is of less importance than the effect of distinguishing the clothes-bearer from his or her contemporaries.

Now, why is an understanding of the fashion system important in the process of mediatization or, for that matter, anything else outside the fashion system? This was admittedly a relevant question to Baudrillard at the time his theories were formulated.

It is not surprising, then, that his writings are often incoherent, and that he had obvious difficulty freeing himself of the dominant perspective on commodities as having some kind of material or tangible base. At his best, using examples from fashion and the above-mentioned example of the tailfins of American cars, he could point to instances in which the non-functionality of sign value dominated over functional use value.

But he did not formulate a coherent theory of pure sign commodities, that is, commodities entirely constructed of combinations of signs. However, just as we can say that the ideas of McLuhan are of more obvious relevance today cf. Today, with the widespread digitization of the media, it follows that media content to an increasing degree is becoming separated from its tangible carriers.

With the sophisticated personal, digital, and mobile means of consumption of today hardware such as laptops, mobile phones, and tablet computers, and software services such as social networking sites, Spotify, iTunes, Voddlerthe cultural object as an assemblage of digits can travel between a range of different tangible carriers.

They are pure sign structures that have no tangible base. The semiotic labour of composing the cultural object has its correspondence in the semiotic labour of consuming it.

Sign value, then, as theorized by Baudrillard, is — just as is exchange value — the result of the development of the fetish character of the commodity i. It contributes to exchange value, as the example of fashion obviously reveals. But it can also be extracted as a value in its own right, which is realized in consumption: It therefore also has a relatively autonomous relation to exchange value, and circulates in a different economy, determined by a different logic: If use value, as theorized by Baudrillard, is coupled with a functional logic, and exchange value with an economic or commercial logic, sign value is coupled with a differential logic Baudrillard In this sense, sign value replaces neither use nor exchange value, but adds a quality to the object, in the same way as exchange value adds the quality of equivalence to the logic of utility.

That something has sign value does not mean it is emptied of use value, but rather that the compositions of value are more complex. It could be argued that the intertwinement of these logics is more pertinent today, since cultural objects have become freed of their fixation to tangible carriers.

A piece of music in its commodity form was previously bound to its tangible carrier. It thus had a material base in raw material as well as the sign qualities. When you buy a piece of music from iTunes today, this is not the case. Arguably, you need the means of consumption to decode the commodity into consumable form, but the commodity itself — the thing you buy from iTunes — has no tangible base.

It still has a material quality, of course, since light floating through fibre optic cables also consists of physical energy, but you cannot put the song as a commodity in your pocket or hold it in your hand unless it is laid down on a physical carrier.

The above argument means that the commodity in itself, the thing bought and sold, is a composition of signs without any raw material. There are of course means of production taken advantage of in the process of production studio space, microphones, instruments, computersbut the act of signification does not tool a raw material into something new.

And thus, for the digital commodity, the labour of signification is of crucial importance for its exchange value. Imagine, for example, the production process behind a hit single by Lady Gaga: When the involved musicians are content with how the tune sounds there will be object form, there will be use value and in the process of marketing and promoting the tune, there will be a commercial form and exchange value added.

But what is the signified? Of course its individual components in the forms of lyrics, instrumentation, and generic belonging carry a range of connotations, but as a commodity, that is, as a unique —8— combination of signs sounds, timbre, harmonies, etc.

Furthermore, it shares this quality with all other pure sign commodities. Admittedly, there were cultural commodities that were pure sign structures before digitization as well. Music pieces as well as television and radio programmes are all examples of non-tangible commodities that existed in the analogue era. But digitization radicalizes the non-tangible sign commodity, if not by quality then by scale, reach, and transformability.

As non-tangible objects, however, contrary to tangible commodities that become worn down in use, intangible commodities have a potential for eternal life.

This is where the commercial sign system must work at its own destruction in order to close the production—consumption circuit. As tangible commodities wear down with use, non-tangible commodities in sign systems wear down by the signifying practices producing new signs: So, to summarize this section, mediatization, as argued by Baudrillard and his followers, such as Lashis related to the technological features of the media, rather than the institutional arrangements of the media as media corporations, or the institution of journalism.

Instead, the objects and phenomena that are seen as mediatized are subjected to the logic of the medium as a communication technology. Mediatization has to do with form; not in the same way as McLuhan argued that form was the most important effect of the media, but form in the way information and content are subsumed the code imposed by the media.

Mediatization, then, does not result from the impact of technology itself, and neither is it produced by the ways the media are organized into institutions of either mass or personal media. It is rather an effect of the system of signification.

analyse the relationship between media and society

What he is arguing for is thus not the disappearance of physical reality, but the increased presence of what could be called self-directed signifiers, that is, signifiers without signifieds or referents outside the sign system itself. They might be intangible, but they are nonetheless taken account of by consumers and media users in social action.

analyse the relationship between media and society

This means that sign structures are real in the sense that they do exist, are acknowledged to exist, and are acted upon in ways that indicate that media users and consumers think of them as existing. Even simulations are real in this sense — as simulations. And signs and simulations are also part of society. Furthermore, it is equally clear that the simulations are born, interpreted and acted upon inside, rather than outside, society.

This brings us back to the discussion on the relationship between media as institutions and technologies on the one hand and culture and society on the other, and in the next section I will introduce a third position. The roots of this perspective are somewhat harder to trace, and the background is more heterogeneous. Furthermore, although the concept of mediatization is adopted in these debates it is used in a wider sense, referring to the more general role of the media in culture and society.

It is also very far removed from the version of mediatization as subsumption under the code advocated by Baudrillard. Lazarsfeld does not use the concept of mediatization, while Nowak does Nowak Still, their view on the role of the media in social and cultural processes is nonetheless the same. Lazarsfeld and Nowak are, of course, not alone in sharing this view on the relationship between our communication media and society.

This quote was later picked up by James Carey While the transmission approach privileges causality and linearity in communication, the ritual approach is apt to answer other kinds of questions — on shared meaning, culture, identity. If a society exists both by communication and in communication, it also follows that there are no communicating positions outside society. Surely there might be institutions, and these might have autonomous status in relation to other social institutions political parties, for example.

But these institutions will also be a part of the wider society, and contribute to its specific character. So, the institutional perspective on mediatization as I have described it above has to a great degree adopted a transmission perspective on mediatization, while what I call the media as world perspective is closer to the ritual approach. This ritual approach is integrative.

It does not presume society as atomistic but rather as a whole — encompassing several dimensions, but nonetheless an integrated unity. Its roots are traced by Carey to the functional sociology of Durkheim [] in his The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, but it can also be found in the writings of Raymond Williams []whom Carey Many people seem to assume as a matter of course that there is, first, reality, and then, second, communication about it. We degrade art and learning by supposing that they are always second-hand activities: This struggle is not begun, at second hand, after reality has occurred.

It is, in itself, a major way in which reality is continually formed and changed. What we call society is not only a network of political and economic arrangements, but also a process of learning and communication Williams In this sense the representations, accounts, stories, and ideas of individuals are part of social reality just as much as are the more physical objects society also comprises.

The ritual perspective does not primarily analyse casual effects, directions of influence and impact. As David Morley This is, of course, a classical tension between structure and agency, which has also been formulated by Marx: The constraints as well as the possibilities to overcome them include all the structuring institutional arrangements made in culture and society, which develop in conjunction with each other.

However, the ritual view need not necessarily encompass a linear historical explanation, but is rather open to alternative historical understandings, taking their departure in alternative conceptualizations of historical time alongside the linear, for example in circular time emphasizing its — 11 — repetitive, ritualistic quality or even punctual time whereby time is defined not by its succession of moments but by its social or cultural quality.

analyse the relationship between media and society

This is also a perspective on social and cultural development that could emphasize the role of the media not in terms of causality but as archive, as a common intellectual resource, a heritage that includes prehistoric art and literature, early forms of communication and cultural formation, cultural practices, the assemblage of cultural technologies at our disposal in the form of both technological hardware machines of different kinds and technological software, that is, the various techniques men and women have developed for communication the signifying practice of language as such, poetry, genres, and other presentational forms, etc.

Mediatization, then, points to the increased presence of the media as technologies in society, and the consequences of this on its qualitative character Hannerz ; cf. According to Nowak First, we communicate within an increasingly media rich environment where we have access to increasingly many and more differentiated media technologies. And if society, as Dewey argues, exists in communication, this is indeed an increasingly technified — mediatized — form of communication.

And in this sense, we should acknowledge some mediated phenomena produced in an increasingly mediatized communication environment as important instances of late modern media life. Let me conclude the discussion by giving some examples of media phenomena that indeed have an impact on the character of society, but are difficult to analyse in terms of the media imposing themselves on a supposedly previously unmediated phenomenon.

Two such examples are the media event the Eurovision Song Contest, the Olympics and the sign commodity texts, audiences, formats, the brand. These phenomena have little existence outside the media, either as institutions or technologies. Nonetheless, they need to be seen as social and cultural phenomena that are clearly part of our present social realities.

They have been chosen because they are examples of phenomena that do not pretend to represent or make a mediated account of a social reality outside the institution of the media, but nonetheless need to be considered part of everyday social reality. The first example is the Olympic Games in their modern form. While these games do indeed have an unmediated prehistory dating back to ancient Greece ca. The modern games are also, contrary to the ancient games, international.

This presupposes some form of communication medium to report back to the partaking national audiences. Indeed, it would be peculiar if one arranged an international competition of supposedly great national interest if there were no means to report back to citizens of partaking nation-states.

analyse the relationship between media and society

We can thus argue that the modern Olympic Games have never occurred in unmediatized form. The media as technologies and as institutions sports journalism have always been an integrated part and a main component. Admittedly, the media technologies have changed sincewhich has had an impact on the ways the Olympic Games have been mediated back to national audiences, the ways they have been represented.

But there has never been an unmediated Olympic moment in the modern era. The Olympic Games are mediated in the meaning that they develop in tandem with the media organizations and technologies involved in their mediation to national audiences. This long-standing institution in European television history, initiated in by the European Broadcasting Union EBU and broadcast yearly to European and some other audiences, was in fact initiated as a cultural technology Bolin to communify the European countries through a common entertainment competition.

From having been a limited phenomenon at its start only seven countries took part in the first competitionit has today grown to be one of the largest non-sport media events in Europe. As a production initiated by the EBU, however, it has little life separate from the media; that is, if by media we mean the integrated efforts of television, the Internet, the tabloid press, weeklies and fan press, as well as the music media — record companies, streaming services, and others with an interest in making revenues out of the music.

From an institutional perspective, the ESC is an institution in its own right. It naturally affects other media institutions, including journalism, but it makes little sense to say that this conglomerate of media technologies and institutions has an impact on other non-media institutions in society, as the media form is always already there. There is no unmediated version of ESC that can be affected, and although there is a live studio audience present at each final, the production is clearly not aimed at these individuals but rather at the viewing audience in countries all over Europe Bolin Most media commodities today also have the characteristic of being sign commodities.

The first of these appears with broadcasting technology, whereby the radio programme or television show, initially broadcast live, consists of nothing but airwaves. Indeed, this is just the point Thomas Streeter made when he called his book on the history of commercial broadcasting policy in the US Selling the Air Streeter The commodity at the basis of the commercial broadcasting system was a — 13 — combination of signs that were technologically encoded and decoded in the transfer from broadcaster to the viewing and listening audience.

Broadcasting was analogue, at least initially, and with digitization this quality is further established. However, with digitization even media texts that were previously not pure sign structures but were rather firmly bound to their tangible carriers — for example the book or the newspaper — now became intangible and versatile, and could float between technological platforms of storage and distribution. With digitization, then, many if not most media texts become pure sign commodities.

A specific content form is the format, that is, the basic idea for the production of a television show often in the reality genres that allows for national adaptation. However, this crust is, contrary to the crust in an apple pie, not possible to put on a plate, and it is consumed in its sign form, as a principle for how to put together and produce a television show.

This is also why the legal frameworks protecting this commodity are so weak, which makes this specific market for formats totally reliant on the common belief among those involved in the commodity.

If the involved parties of buyers and sellers were to doubt the value of the commodity, the market would disappear instantly.

Media and society in the digital age: Rethinking the relationship | #mediadev | DW |

A second sign commodity that appears, not with digitization but rather with the rationalizations of the commercial mass media, is the audience. Audiences, if we distinguish this commodity based on statistical aggregation from the social subjects who listen, read, and watch mass media, have become an increasingly sophisticated statistical construct.

This commodity is worked upon by the marketing and audience analysis divisions of large media companies, and is tooled into the commodity that is the basis of their revenues.

This construct is based on mathematical calculation, estimations and probability theory through a range of data-generating technologies: Although there have been dramatic advances in methodology, all these techniques share the disadvantage that they do not represent social reality 1: They are estimates, ranging from pure guesswork to statistical descriptions with high significance — but they never equal social reality.

They are merely representations of this social reality, and the basis for the calculation of prices for advertising or other marketing techniques. The commodity sold is based on the common agreement between seller and buyer on a price, and the mutual belief that the calculated statistics are good enough. Like any other market, the audience market is based on the belief that the signifier — the figure indicating the size and composition of the audience — has a referent in social reality cf.

A third sign commodity is traffic. In the digital world, media users have increasing access to means of production and distribution on social networking sites and other forums that, as their business model, have user traffic at their centre. The tightened bonds between the telecommunications industry and other parts of the media and advertising industries mean that much of the media economy builds on bytes transferred through fibre optic cables or Wi-Fi networks. In such an economy even waste turns into economic value, because it matters very little to the telecommunications companies what content flows through their networks as long as it produces traffic.

Illegal downloading is then also to the benefit of these companies, as is spam mail. Spam mail, in fact, is a very peculiar entity in this economic circuit. This is, however, a general kind of traffic commodity. Through new business models and opportunities provided for by digitization, there has also appeared a specific traffic commodity. As the telecommunications companies — our telephone and Internet service providers — have access to the data we as users produce, they can also map out our behaviour on the web and produce user behaviour profiles.

The websites we visit, the patterns of our e-mail correspondence, our patterns of search on Google, Yahoo! And all these commodities have the quality of being intangible.

They consist of aggregated information in large data banks that can be harvested and turned into economic value by those who control the communication flows. My fourth example of a sign commodity is the brand.


A brand can be described as a complex signifier, constructed in semiotic labour with the purpose of producing a specific signified connected to a company or a consumer commodity. The brand is the most obvious sign commodity, as it is a construct that everyone acknowledges as a construct.

A brand is descriptive as well as prescriptive. As such it works at the level of the sign, and is thus subsumed by the laws of signification. In the traditional industrial production of tangible commodities, brand differentiation was adopted as a strategy to separate one commodity from another within the same functional area. With increased market competition, branding strategies became more important, and hence the sign value of commodities, as the value brands are built on, gradually took command over the functional use values of objects and commodities, and the sign value itself became the most important object of consumption Baudrillard We need only take a quick look at the mobile phone market to realize that brand recognition is more important than the technological information of functionality; Apple has been particularly successful through their de sign strategies, creating hype around their products, most notably the iPhone and iPad.

A strong consumer demand is created through this, built less on functionality and more on sign appearance: This slogan is followed in an animated row by six other slogans, the first dealing with its design and the next five with its functionality technical performance, new application features, etc.

These four kinds of sign commodities arguably are indicative of how contemporary media industries work. The second modernity perspective, with its roots in linguistic, anthropological, and post- structuralist theory, and the world perspective in phenomenology need to be brought together and seen as complementary rather than as rivals, as they highlight different aspects of these roles of the media.

Or, to phrase it differently, if we cannot consider the institutional power relations in conjunction with the specificities of both technological and — 15 — communicative form, and if these cannot be related to the subjective apprehensions of media users and producers, we have little chance of capturing the complexities of late modern media cultures and societies.

First, I have discussed the institutional perspective, with its mainly causal explanatory approach, leaning towards a linear, transmission perspective, based in an historical view that could be described as close to a modernization perspective. As the focus is on the impact of the media as an institution affecting social processes, it mainly theorizes the media as a phenomenon that works on social institutions from the outside.

This is mediatization as institutional impact, and the logic emphasized is that of the institution. Second, I have accounted for the technological perspective, which is based in linguistics, structural anthropology, semiotics, and Marxism, arguing that we have now entered a second modernity, and emphasizing the play of signifiers, sign value, and a media and cultural production process marked by signifying practices.

Influence of mass media

The historical view is not necessarily linear, although there are also strong such influences. The role of the media in this perspective is on the level of form, and concerns how it provides a code that is decisive for the quality and character of communication. To understand the effect of something, one first needs to understand the subject itself.

Therefore to discuss the effect of mass media, one must fully understand the concept of mass communication and how it functions as an integral part of society. Only once this concept is understood, can it be discussed as a reactor to change in society.

The paragraph following will explain the phenomenon of mass media.

Relationship Between Media And Society - Book Report

Mass communication can simply be described as a message sent to a large audience. The audience that the message is referred to as a homogenous audience. This means the audience has a varied mix of people within it. The message can therefore be considered to be completely unbiased as many different types of people will be exposed to it. This however, is not true. When an advertising agency puts up a billboard for instance, it will be put in a certain area and will in turn be exposed to a particular audience.

This group will be referred to as the target audience. A message cannot be effective unless sent through a particular medium. A medium is he way the message is transmitted. In the case of the advertising agency, the medium would be the billboard. The mediums used by mass communication are referred to as mass media. Mass media is the vehicle for the transmission of media messages and can consist of newspapers, film, radio, etc.

With this understanding the effect of mass communication can be better understood. According to Pember, Pember is referring to the two functions of mass media, namely: Mass communication cannot be separated from the individual or society. It is a part of everyday life as a pervasive force, as stated by Pember. It can also be described as one of the important subsystems of society together with the political, economic, cultural and other subsystems.

It can hence be concluded that mass communication must always exist in a social context and therefore affect it and be affected in turn by society. The following paragraphs will establish what is meant by the term journalism and the ways in which it affects and is affected by society.

Journalism can be described as the process of gathering and reporting news to mass audiences with the in intention of informing them.