Media culture and society pdf

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Mass Media, Culture and Society in Twentieth-Century Germany

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Each of these has a different ontological and epistemological background, and it is argued that this has consequences on which questions are posed, and which kinds of answers are possible to give. For these backgrounds it is accounted, with a special focus on how these approaches theorize the relationship between media and society, how media are defined and which historical perspective is privileged. Keywords: mediatization, modernity, second modernity, media technologies, cultural technologies, culture, society, Baudrillard, structuralism 1 Introduction: The different strands of mediatization The widespread popularity of the concept of mediatization has, as is usually the case with popular concepts, brought with it a range of different uses, interpretations, and perspectives.

All these perspectives are based in specific epistemological approaches, in turn possible to relate to basic ontological standpoints. In this context I want to focus on three such areas where clarification is needed. Firstly, different takes on mediatization vary in their views of the relationship between the media and society: How can we understand this relationship? What is the possible impact of the media on society? Or what roles do we ascribe the media in mediatization processes?

And although many refer to the media as mass media or digital media, there are few who distinguish between media as organizations and as technologies. Thirdly, although most mediatization theories describe and analyse processes and thus implicitly deal with historical change or modernization processes, the specificities of their historical perspectives are seldom discussed at length.

Against the background of these three areas of enquiry, I want to discuss three mediatization approaches. As this account is well represented in the literature, I will deal with it quite briefly. This perspective is less insistent on theorizing the concept of mediatization, to the benefit of a more general discussion on the role of media in culture and society.

The following discussion will emphasize the consequences of each of these perspectives on the analysis of the roles and relationships between media, communication, culture, and society.

Although I should also make it clear from the outset that I, like anyone else, speak from a certain position and have preferences when it comes to these perspectives, it should be emphasized that they are rooted in the fact that each one opens up for different sets of questions, and that my preferences are based in these sets of questions and not on the intent to dismiss any of the approaches as false, wrong or reductionist.

This perspective is founded on the drive for causal explanation, and with it follows a specific linear historical perspective whereby events follow in causal order, and the historical direction is described in terms of progress or, indeed, decline.

This quote obviously only makes sense if by media we mean mass media institutions, for example the institution of journalism, as one could well argue that modern mass democracies have never been and could never function without some form of mediating technologies extending the human body in antiquity, for example in ancient Greece, rhetoric was clearly a communications technology used for political purposes, although not one that extended the human body.

The ways of looking at the relationship between media, society, and other social institutions politics, the economy, education, etc. There is, however, another way to read this quote, thinking of the media here not as institutions but rather as technologies having become integrated into other social institutions that then to a certain extent relate to these technologies in specific ways.

Such a reading would perhaps make more sense. Thus there is a wealth of studies engaging in the mediatization of politics e. McQuail , religion e. A disadvantage is, as Knut Lundby b has pointed out, that the institutional approach, especially that which leans most heavily on the media logic perspective, often although naturally not always brings with it sweeping generalizations, and oversimplifications of the workings of the media.

Nick Couldry — extends this criticism, questioning whether all media share the same logic, whether this logic is stable or changes over time, and whether this model can actually capture the complex dynamics of the social. Another problem with the institutional perspective on mediatization is that it largely neglects the role of media as technologies in less institutionalized forms.

Although there are examples of mediatization processes around which the relationship is not between institutions but between institutions and individual subjects i. It is definitely not overstating the case to say that the mediatization of politics is the dominant perspective in this regard, and that the two institutions of journalism and politics are the most well-researched.

The institutional approach also works within a quite short-term historical perspective. For example, this approach seemingly presupposes that politics at one point in history was independent of the media in society, while at a certain historical moment the media entered the political stage and affected the political process, for example the process of opinion formation. However, this only makes sense if we think of the mass media and journalism as institutions, as modern politics has always involved media as technologies pamphlets, books, newspapers, etc.

There is of course no denying that political opinion formation has changed in many aspects over the years, even in their less institutionalized forms, and surely the print, electronic, and digital web-based media have been involved in these changes.

As technologies are born and developed within social and cultural frameworks, that is, inside society, it makes little sense to argue that the technologies themselves affect society from outside. Habermas [] Elsewhere I have suggested another way of analysing this growth in autonomy of the subfield of journalistic production, within the framework of Bourdieuian field theory Bolin However, it can also be analysed as a process of professionalization e.

Petersson or as one of institutionalization Ekecrantz and Olsson These analyses are often on a more abstract historical and societal level, even on the level of modernization. Second modernity is said to follow on a first modernity, supposedly marked by rationality, the nation state and the nuclear family. Lash takes a wide historical grip, taking his departure in the development of reason. However, and contrary to Hjarvard and others who focus on the media as institutions, Lash emphasizes the media as technologies.

Thus his interest is not in the media as institutions, but rather in the dis abilities of the media as technologies to provide for symbolic exchange and communication, and that they provide for simulations of communication, that is, to make us believe we are communicating while we are actually engaged in an empty mimicking of genuine symbolic exchange. And this is a far cry from denying any external reality as such. Baudrillard has basically two influences: Marxist theories of production and consumption, and Saussurean structural linguistics and, in its wake, structural anthropology , not least the way the semiological heritage of Saussure was managed by Roland Barthes, for example in his The Fashion System Barthes [] If Marx [] in Capital pointed to a change in our relation to objects under industrialization and the rising capitalist system of production, whereby the fetish character of the commodity stripped the object of its relations to the labour laid down in the production process by, for example, an artisan , Baudrillard, in a series of five books ; [] ; ; [] ; , points to another shift whereby the emphasis on production has changed to the benefit of consumption, and the sign qualities of commodities.

In traditional political economy from Adam Smith [] and onwards over Marx and others, the distinction between the use and exchange values of commodities was introduced and theorized. All objects that fulfil human needs have use value. Objects that in addition can be sold on a market also have exchange value. Exchange value is produced through human labour plus raw material , as human labour has the capacity to produce more than it takes to be reproduced. However, already in the s it was apparent to economists such as John Kenneth Galbraith that phenomena such as advertising interfered with these laws of economic theory.

Baudrillard was indeed influenced by Galbraith see, e. Baudrillard 70 , but took his ideas on the symbolic dimensions of commodities a step further. In line with Galbraith, Baudrillard argued that the signs attached to consumer goods contributed to the exchange value of the commodity. Furthermore, he argued that what we pay for when buying commodities today is less and less connected to their use value — that is, their functionality — and more and more to the sign value itself. That is to say, in all the rigour of the term, it triggers response mechanisms in accordance with stereotypes or analytic models.

Reality has been analysed into simple elements which have been recomposed into scenarios of stable oppositions, just as the photographer imposes his own contrasts, lighting and angles onto his object […].

Thus tested, reality tests you in return according to the same score-card, and you decode it following the same code, inscribed in every message and object like a miniature genetic code Baudrillard What we consume today, he argues, is increasingly the sign value of the object, rather than its functional use value.

Fashion, however, is based on tangible commodities, produced by a combination of raw material cloth, linen , labour, and design. In the contemporary world of digital intangible objects and commodities, the principles by which fashion works have extended to non-tangible, digital commodities.

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. Merrin 45 , we can hold that the ideas on sign value and the relative importance of signifying practices are of importance if we are to understand the cultural commodities that circulate consumption markets in the digital present — a present that is — if not dominated — then at least heavily marked by sign commodities.

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, Voddler , the 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: the value that differentiates the consumer from other consumers.

It therefore also has a relatively autonomous relation to exchange value, and circulates in a different economy, determined by a different logic: that of differentiation.

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, computers , but 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: she or someone else has an idea for a song, a combination of chords and a melody over a beat. 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.

Mediatization: theorizing the interplay between media, culture and society

Once production of your article has started, you can track the status of your article via Track Your Accepted Article. Help expand a public dataset of research that support the SDGs. The 21st century has been dubbed the century of cities - sustainable cities, compact cities, post-modern cities, mega-cities, and more. CCS focuses on urban governance in the 21st century , under the banner of cultural creativity and social inclusion. Its primary goal is to promote pioneering research Its primary goal is to promote pioneering research on cities and to foster the sort of urban administration that has the vision and authority to reinvent cities adapted to the challenges of the 21st century.

About this journal. Media, Culture & Society provides a major international, peer-​reviewed forum for the presentation of research and discussion concerning the.

Media, Culture and Society: An introduction

The purpose of this chapter is to define media, society and culture broadly. Chapters 2 and 3 deal with communication theory in more detail. Digital culture is covered in depth in Chapter 2. There are different forms of communication.

Table of contents

Change in the Villages. Culture and Society is an invaluable guide for students navigating the dynamic debates and intellectual challenges of cultural studies. Chinese society and culture. You can download the paper by clicking the button above. The Harvard in-text citations or Oxford footnoting methods are recommended as they are widely used and taught to students doing the PIP.

She took off her coat and shoes and followed after him? Just a few short footsteps further forward and he found himself deep within the bulk of the rotting crowd. Gardiner, the key abruptly becomes much wilder, ever even hinted at.