Mass media plays an important role in setting ideology by construct the audience identity by its repetitive languages.
Mass media refers to a diverse collection of the media technologies, which can reach a vast audience through mass communication (Andrew & Peter, 2008). Moreover, media content is not only significant in distributing information to the masses, but also, it is critical in shaping the perception of the society (McQuail, 1994). Historically, the mass media began in the fifteenth century by the invention of the process of movable type from Johann Gutenberg, which allowed the mass production of printing texts. In the twentieth the century, the emergence of electronic media, especially television, became one of the most powerful medium of the everyday life, which reflects and cultivates dominant cultural ideologies (Gerbner, 1994). Additionally, in Gerbner’s research, television, as a part of mass media, considerably affects the decision and perception of people on the social structure, due to its proliferation and continual presence. This prolonged effect is supported by the research of Marshall McLuhan (1994), which evaluated the link between the central form of communication and the organization of the society. In his study, McLuhan (1994) argues that the development of new media technology attributes the enormous power of demonstrating the information and images in a linear and indefinitely repeatable way, which, at the end, becomes standardized. Being actively engaging to these content, human cognition is shaped unconsciously by the media (McLuhan 1994). From that, mass media are the primary power in constructing the ideological system and belief through mobilizing people morally and culturally (Geis, Brown, Jennings & Porter, 1984).
The America’s Top Next Model reality TV show is a good example of this mass media effect. Starting from 2003, the show successfully screen
Due to the virtue of mass production of the media content, the audience becomes ‘more or less passive victims of the messages foisted upon it’ (Andrew & Peter, 2008: 200). Especially, in the mass society, they over-simplify the media representation by assuming a straight transfer from author to recipient (Maggie & Barrie, 2005), which dangers the audiences in the interpretation of the messages related to the intention of the producers. To put it another way, while dynamically interacting with the media product, audiences themselves also translate the medium in a plurality of the mediated schemas, which may or may not correspond with the primary agenda. From that, the messages are transparent in meaning, which is varied based on the audience identity. By decoding the media content as texts, the culturally conventional meaning of the messages was extensively researched by Roland Barthes (1977) in his study of semiology. Barthes (1977) claimed that the repetition of the sign over time discharged itself from the original denotation, at the same time, it holds rhetorical connotation of the mythic meaning. This underwritten meaning is structured in a complex narrative of the text, which may even replace the literal and generate as the message of another language (Barth 1977). This model of meaning understanding is enlightened by Stuart Hall (1973) work on ‘encoding-decoding’ – of the television message. He added that the potential of connotation in Barthes’ work, in fact, is decided by the dominant social group, who imbue the meaning based on their own interests (Hall, 1973). The audiences of the media context, therefore,
Lacan’s (1977) work relates Barthes’ semiotics in the role of the language and the construction of the identity, which informs the media effects theory,
Conclusion, expansion of media culture and its social functions the role of media in shaping the self-identity but also the ideogy of the society.
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