Sociology of Communication (apunts en brut) (2014)

Apunte Español
Universidad Universidad Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
Grado Publicidad y Relaciones Públicas - 2º curso
Asignatura Sociology of Communication
Año del apunte 2014
Páginas 11
Fecha de subida 10/06/2014
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SOCIOLOGY OF COMMUNICATION T8: THE CRITICAL Functionalism sees society objectively, not subjectively, though subjectivity is very important.
Marxism understands that in social life there’s conflict proletariat lived alienated producing all society’s goods beginning psychoanalysis: could prove to be a truthful lie on society if the proletariat lived in precair conditions why didn’t they rebel against the power to reverse the situation? what are the mental processes that prevent the proletariat of pursuing a better way of life? principles they didn’t like the massive use of propaganda in germany Lazersfield middle range theories: segment reality into pieces Adorno says reality can’t be broken down into pieces and also thinks society is subjective capitalism is the creation of false needs Why communication theory? to better understand yourself and what you do when you interact with other people fosters self awareness, it is innovative delimit its object of study: communication in its many different expressions mass communication, technological changes, etc.
What disciplines might have interest in studying communications? antropology, technology, history, psychology, sociology, law, economy, politics, linguistics, education Theory: general idea about something Communication: the process of interacting with other people / new land roots (roads, railways) / 1920 mass communication, industrially produced and distributed messages to massive audiences Internet is blowing up classic distinction between masscom and classic comm.
Mass communication: mediated communication; interpersonal communication Lasswell’s model sender, message, medium, receiver, communication in which is based behaviourism of psychology traditional conditioning problem: unidirectionallity, understood as an act and not as a complex dynamic process 1 HISTORY OF COMMUNICATION RESEARCH BEGINNING OF COMMUNICATION RESEARCH IN THE US Unite a culturally diverse nation by entertainment (people from many cultures felt they belonged to a new culture regardless of their origin) Politically educate the population International politics: mass media as instrument of diplomacy Hollywood has done much more than any other american policy to disseminate american values, culturally it creates an empire THE CHICAGO SCHOOL Beginning: 1919, the University of Chicago Walter Lippmann, Robert E. Park, The three of them studied in europe and were journalists, the research they did was basically motivated by intellectual curiosity (not applied or practical).
WALTER LIPPMANN “Public opinion” (1922) What communication is supposed to be and how it works.
In modern societies no individuals have the opportunity to get to know the totality of their environment through direct experience. Therefore, in modern societies we need some social institutions that allow individuals to get in touch with their reality: mass media. Mass media provides us with mental maps or pictures in our heads. What happens is that our perception is not shacked so much anymore by our five senses, but it is by those mental maps. The result of this that modern societies are pseudo-environments. That creates a paradox for individuals; we still have to live in a world of reality but we are shacked by mass media (approximate view). That leads us to live in a world of fiction. The concept of public opinion is the result of the interaction of 3 things: events in reality + mental images + actions. Public opinion is an aggregation of individual opinions.
CONSOLIDATION OF COMMUNICATION RESEARCH: MASS COMM RESEARCH (30s-50s) Functionalism (sociology) and behaviourism (psychology).
More practical research in communication.
Known as administrative research (due to funding sources): radio and record industry, political consulting, private foundations, US army… Capitalism logic, supply and demand, commodity, something you can buy and sell, market competition.
A set of institutions wanted to gain knowledge.
– Radio is private. Time of exposure. Impact on particular audiences. Record industry was before the radio industry but with the radio they had endless possibility and opportunities of expansion.
Results of studies said that songs should be shorter, more rhythm and less melody, lyrics should be different and deal with easy topics to reach more people. Taste of the public was different from what they expected.
2 – Political. Roosevelt won three elections. He paid an image consulting research (1), first opinion polls were done by George Gallup (2). Close connection between media and politics, not possible to do politics without media.
– Rockefeller Foundation also paid for research to see the effects of propaganda.
– Army also propaganda effects.
Profound transformations in mass communication: development of fm… Social transformations: values crisis, civil wars… Television helped young people to be considered a public.
Dependency between media and politics. First televised debates: Nixon and Kennedy.
Television spectators felt that Nixon was better. Images became something very important from them on; now it is almost everything that matters. Nowadays: personalisation of politics; focus on their appearance and image.
3 14/05 MEDIA EFFECTS The way we know things can affect our behaviour, our actitude, our cognition.
(20s-40s) hypodermic needle / magic bullet / direct effects model (40s-60s) limited effects model: media is a necessary cause of production of effects in people but not sufficient to provoque strong effects; people are more rational and know how to expose themselves selectively to messages; interpersonal communication was more important; there’s a shift of power from media to the audience; media could only reinforce existent behaviours or attitudes.
(70s) cumulative effects model: theories wich go back to the notion of powerful effects that can’t be much resisted by media spectators; television becoming the predominant media; not anymore direct effects on individuals but on social groups and how these accumulate over periods of time; very similar content; ubiquity (media are virtually everywhere as sources of information), cumulation (the same stories the same types of messages over and over again across different media and across time cumulate in our minds), consonance (similarity between messages and values) AGENDA SETTINS (MCCOMBS & SHAW) KNOWLEDGE GAP HYPOTHESIS (TICHENOR, DONOHUE & OLIEN 1970) common sense suggests there are social gaps (social-economic differences between people related also to education levels) which cause knowledge gaps; if we increase the flow of information in the social system then those knowledge gaps would decrease and that will lead as well to a decrease in social gaps these authors suggest the opposite; even if we increase the flow of information people with higher education will have skills to use and comprehend that information and transdform it into knowledge, but for ignorant people that information is useless.
why should we bother with those people that have less education? perhaps it is better that they don’t vote, it is an uninformed vote.
internet? is exponentially increasing this flow of informatuin, so the differences are increasing; internet divides; the FEC is investing in digital literacy programs Under what conditions might gaps decrease / equalisation occur? – everybody should be concerned about that issue; general concern – if that issue appears in a situation of social conflict – it should be something like a small community Example of a country in which there was a big knowledge by and went by (Sweeden) thanks to H. Dagen they changed to right-side driving to left-side, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, when they finally changed completely the traffic side there were 100 accidents with more complex issues (how much people know about rocket science) gaps remain constant CULTIVATION PERSPECTIVE (CULTURAL INDICATORS). GEORGE GERBNER (70s) cultural indicators are our beliefs about reality, that was a project founded by american government to decrease violence in television, now is about everything related to television and its effects that change our beliefs about reality the average amount we spent in front of tv is still growing on an average; a 65-year-old american will have spent 10 years in front of tv how television affects the public? more prominent on children 4 – – TV = dominant force: powerful storyteller; reaches so many people; creates uniform societies TV & family: in every family there is at least 1 televisor with free access, it dominates symbols and tells stories to the family – Violence: why is there so much? it is cheap and it is a common narrative – TV affects beliefs: people who watch a lot tv think the world is so dangerous and violent, think there are many policemen/lawyers but in fact they’re insignificant in numbers, they think that grandparents don’t exist; heavy-viewers / light-viewers – cultivation is not limited to violence 3 prongs: – Institutional process analysis – Message system analysis – Cultivation analysis: mainstreaming SPIRAL OF SILENCE (ELISABETH NOELLE-NEUMANN) The spiral of silence as a basic psycho-social process. We are afraid of bein isolated and express our opinion to other people if we feel that we think differently from the majority Main ingredients of the theory: isolation, fear, pulic behaviour (affected by public opinion) The main source to asses the climate of opinion is media.
THE FUNCTIONALIST PERSPECTIVE BEGINNING & PRINCIPLES Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) Functionalism: organic analogy (society and human body) Society’s organs are institutions; each one has a particular function in the maintenance of the whole society Discussion of the potential functions of deviant things that go against the social order FUNCTIONALISM AS THE DOMINANT PARADIGM IN MASS COMMUNICATION RESEARCH Because correlates American mentality: overestimated role of mass media, no power Plurality of supply fosters American values of democracy and free will Functionalism’s methods and theories provide what MCR requires TALCOTT PARSONS (1902-1979): THE SOCIAL SYSTEM Theory about society, including every aspect about any type of society Social system should satisfy functional imperatives, such as adaptation (every ss must adapt to its environment and adapt the environment to its needs), goal attainment (every ss must define and achieve its primary goals), integration (the ss must regulate the interrelationship of its component parts) and latency or pattern maintenance (the ss must provide, maintain and renew the motivation of its individuals and the cultural patterns that create and sustain that motivation) Subsystem in charge of each one, respectively: economic subsystem (apply all the material resources available for distribution), political subsystem (select those collective goals that are good for the 5 system and motivate individuals to reach these goals), societal community (the development of a stable set of rules in law), fiduciary (individuals have to be controlled, value commitment) Institutions: business firms; political parties, government, trade union; religion, mass communication, courts; family, school, marriage Roles: executives, business; party leader, ministers, trade union leaders; priest, journalist, judge; husband, father, teacher student Norms/rules: xxxxxx This way of understanding the ss is known as AGIL (adaptation, goal attainment, integration, latent function): normative structure (ss composed by a number of subsystems and all comes down to all the rules that explain the funcionament of a society) Norms: expectations which are placed on every role, or rule How things that happen on the micro-level are institutionalized on the macro-level: faithfulness in a married couple All societies have a tendency to worth equilibrium Socialisation: produce competent, motivated members of society (the role of a mother with a child is very important so that the learning process of the child is done properly by this special bond; all human beings when born are a tabula rasa) Social control: no subsystem dealing with social control, it is incorporated in everything we do, it is everywhere in society as a system Dysfunctional individuals (delinquents): there were problems in their process of socialisation Extremely conservative model of society, unrealistic nowadays and even in the fourties ROBERT K. MERTON (1910-2003) Reaction to Parson’s theories Middle-range theories: logically and confirmed by empirical investigation Should be able to describe a FUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS Object of study: repetitive social activities, standardized social activities, social institutions Approach to the object of study: in terms of their objective consequences, their functions Function: central notion, observed objective consequences Dysfunction: Manifest functions: the intended and recognised functions Latent functions: not intended and not recognised Purpose of studying functions: the needs that the system will have to satisfy or fulfill to its own maintenance Social change: present in dysfunctional behaviours Empirical verification PAUL F. LAZARSFELD (1901-1976) Empirical research 18/05/2014 THE FUNCTIONS OF MASS COMMUNICATION 6 Lasswell: surveillance of the environment, correlation of the parts of society in responding to its environment, transformation of cultural heritage Wright: entertainment Lazarsfeld & Merton: status conferral function (media creates certain status on issues), enforcement of social norms (by showing things that are socially wrong media indirectly shows what is right), narcotizing dysfunction (when we get too much information about several things we loose interest in that); male violence against women is an example of those 3 functions, it didn’t exist as an issue and it was the action of the media that made it became a social issue; nowadays all news are repeated too often Information: providing information about events and conditions in society ant the world, indicating relations of power, facilitating innovation, adaptation and process Bla: Bla: Bla: Entertainment: Mobilisation: FUNCTIONALISM: PROS & CONS USES-AND-GRATIFICATIONS THEORY Katz, Blumler & Gurevitch (1974) What do people do with media? Focus from the media to the audience This theories was seen as an empower one step further given back to the audience, social and psychological needs from people can explain media consumption How people use media and gratifications they intend to satisfy or to get from that use Rather more psychological theory People deliberadamente use media for their own particular purposes (active audience) People seek to gratify needs through media use; a communication process happens as a result of individual’s initiative Media compete for attention and time; media are just one more source of gratification, there are many other things happening Media affect different people differently People can accurately report their media use and motivation; they know why and for what purposes, for excitement, entertainment, information, relaxation Pros & cons Too focused on individuals, too psychological 21/05/2014 THE INTERPRETATIVE PERSPECTIVE Symbolic interactionism (Goffman) Palo Alto Group Social Constructionism 7 Ethnomethodology SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM Description and principles Herbert Blumer Roert Ezra Park Nosequi més DESCRIPTION AND PRINCIPLES George Herbert Mead (1863-1931) Human communication: interaction + symbols Interaction isn’t restricted to verbal communication, it is more than that and involves many different things, when people come together and encounter each other Interaction is done by symbols: anything that we can refer to through verbal and non verbal communic Human conduct: predictable and unpredictable (behaviourism) What makes human conduct predictable? through our experience we acheive an understanding about what is expectable from us; and morality: how things should be done (normatictive expectative) What makes human conduct unpredictable? there’s no two situations that are exactly the same, every context makes a difference and defines the situation Objectives of symbolic interactionism: 1. human beings employ a wide variety of symbols and this is something unique of us, those symbols can only be analyse using qualitative techniques; functionalism couldn’t explain anymore behaviour and symbolic interactionism is more flexible so it is better to explain changes, 4. deviant communities were observed (nudists), social reactions against them, it became something like a hippie sociology 2. to see how (net of shared social meanings) social meanings are created and sustained, and how these are a product of interaction Self: all human beings are capable of being self-conscious / self-aware: meaning you are subject and also object of yourself, object of our consciousness; the flow of all things we tell to ourselves throughout the day (somebody is knocking on the door, i hear the alarm clock, i’m cold); human beings are the only ones who are capable of reflexively referring to themselves; a constant process of interpreting our actions; we are the only ones who can blame, brace, congratulate, condemn ourselves All this is being experimented with elephants, dolphins, and other animals. Elephant: he understands that what’s on the mirror is his body and nobody else’s by inspecting parts of it he wouldn’t be able to see otherwise, as the inside of the mouth Play stage: the self develops when we are children Game stage: if i am a defender i need to know what others will do (football), what role does have the goalkeeper, the midcenter, etc. that’s how we develop the self, by learning how to place ourself beside the position of others Generalised other: the internalisation of the attitudes of others towards oneself; what i do, my behaviour, is react to what i think others percieve about me; this is how community enters to interact with individuals; what i expect others expect of me HERBERT BLUMER Criticises media effects by functionalism Content: what is presented in the media is undergoing continious alteration (information ds not always have a particular bias) 8 Sensitivity not only differs between people but also within one person over time, besides it is socially created, how we react to things is not particularly individual Interdependence: difficult to isolate one single line of influence Proposals to change the theory: when we study audiences we should reflect the empirical world and that can only be done through participant observation, being close to people who consume media, qualitative Public opinion can be captured through opinion poll (según funcionalism) but that only works if opinion is understood as an aggregation of single opinions; Blumer thinks it is more complex: - public opinion has its setting in a society and is a function of that society - a society has an organisation: functional groups (trade unions) - hola - adeu - si - no ROBERT E. PARK (1864-1944) divisive press: reflects a whole variety of pov and that generates conflict integrative cinema: appeals more to emotions press news are the most elementary form of knowlege; provide information that promodes discussion; the first step in the creation of public opinion types: news summaries, human intern stories (new forms of popular literature) objective reporting: the fact that some news story report violent aproval or disapproval it’s proof this story is produced objectively the function of news is to keep spectators in touch with what hapens to society Public opinion: crowd and public are colectivities of people: opinions in a public are not unanymous, general consensus, dominant opinion, but individual opinions don’t coincide with this, rational discussion crowd: oriented towards emotional elements, brief short intense action, anonymous, not well structured, physically in the same place public opinion is related to public: general tendency within the group, composed opinion 28/05 PALO ALTO GROUP Sociologists, anthropologists, psychiatrists.
Founder was interested in family as a pathogenic agent, interaction, psychotherapy and schizophrenia.
Metacommunication: message/signal about a message/signal, related to the connotative level of significance (not literal), provides clues about how to decode a message, for instance how to decode irony (as the opposite from what is said), paradoxes in communication which involve problems in the understanding of metacommunication (I am lying = if in fact I am lying I am telling the truth; don’t read this).
Double bind theory: dylemas between comm and metacomm, traces the pathogenic origin of schizophrenia in early stage of childhood (relationship between mother and child), human beings depend for their own security on others, interpersonal relations, when there’s a breakdown in metacomm can 9 have serious consequences in relationships with others, mastery of metacomm is essential; child is in a relation of vital dependency to his mum, when he receives contradictory messages, since he’s not yet able to communicate, he’s not able to qualify that messages, and that leads to a conflict, not easy to develop proper metacommunicative skills COMMUNICATION AXIOMS 1. One cannot not communicate/behave 2. Messages have both content and relational meaning (denotation/connotation) 3. Meaning of messages depends on its punctuation (messages are interconnected and are part of sequences, how they are located or related between them is important) 4. Messages include both digital and analogic coding (coding is arbitrary and it simply represents the message) 5. Transaction is either symmetrical or complementary: communicators treat each other as equal / “jerarquía” SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONISM Language not only represents but constructs reality. There’s not a single truth, truth is relative.
Knowledge is always intentional and conscious. Tool to make reality subjective. We typify our everyday life. Commonsense is the main ingredient we have to make sense of the world.
Society as objective reality: some human practices are done repetitively (habitualization), institutionalization is seen as legitimation Society as a subjective reality: primary socialization where childs become members of society since schools progressively, in secondary school we internalize what we learn, (when we get a job we are socialized to learn roles and rules) ETHNOMETHODOLOGY What people do in everyday life it’s not chaotic, it’s all quite ordered. Garfinkel. Breaching experiments, which are not experiments. He asked his students to do strange things: go to their families and behave like strangers, to go to a supermarket and bargain prices. Violating rules of commonsense to make commonsense visible. Commonsense is never made formal or explicit.
04/06 What is culture? it should contain something intellectual; but anything is culture, an entire way of life, the symbolic content of any society; all is an expression of culture; something dynamic, an emergent product, something that expresses a changing society, progress RICHARD HOGGART popular entertainment, related to things the working class do life of the working class in the IIWW was rich, they had entertainment; with the progressive importing of the mass media produced culture after the IIWW changed the american way of life to cheap, so their life was displaced; culture is a whole and distinctive way of life WILLIAMS creative capacity of common people: we are all culture beings 10 culture is not only the arts: legitimization of popular culture, democratization culture is rooted in a place: everyday practices of common people and the material conditions of their productions THOMPSON not everyone shares the same culture, the elite and the working class have different cultures because they come from different traditions; how consciousness of being a class is generated? productive relations: what they do when they work history from below: official history always has to do with the elites, so it has been ignoring popular classes HALL encoding and decoding are moments in the process of communication; the audience not always decodes a message as it was encoded messages are values that express ideologies (usually the elite ones) public service ethos: ideology comes to us through connotative level dominant code: not only understand it but also accept the preferred meaning negotiated code: understand the preferred, you question partiality, leave some things out but accept it oppositional code: preferred meaning is rejected messages don’t have a fixed exact meanings, depend on interpretations there’s an assumption that any message is coded into a dominant code, that’s not always the case power related to gender relations what kind of shows tend to be watched by men/women? men watch factual programs and like realistic fiction; women watch family dramas, soap operas, in emphasys on relations rather than on actions how do they evaluate what they watch? women are defined as trivial, light or trashy; men is more serious 11 ...