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Mass Media Sociology Essay On Education

Contemporary media research draws on multiple theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches. Curran 2010 and McQuail 2010 offer excellent broad overviews. Berelson 1959 and Katz, et al. 2003 present mainstream canonical views of key early works in the field. Gitlin 1978 provides an important critical reassessment of this canonical narrative, while Dorsten 2012 critiques the effacement of female scholars from accounts of the discipline’s history. Pooley 2008 synthesizes several revisionist histories of mass communications research, producing the most developed rethinking of the field to date. Couldry 2012 delivers an erudite and wide-ranging attempt to update social theories of media for the digital era.

  • Berelson, Bernard. 1959. The state of communication research. Public Opinion Quarterly 23:1–6.

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    This classic essay presents Lewin, Lasswell, Lazarsfeld, and Hovland as four “founding fathers” of communications research, a contested but canonical view of the field.

  • Couldry, Nick. 2012. Media, society, world: Social theory and digital media practice. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

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    Focuses on the transformations generated by digital technology, constructing a social theory of everyday media use. Couldry examines the ontologies, categorizations, accumulations of power, and normative frameworks in which digital media exist, placing emphasis on the importance of mediated representation in social life.

  • Curran, James, ed. 2010. Media and society. 5th ed. New York: Bloomsbury.

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    The latest in an excellent series formerly entitled Mass Media and Society, this collection continues the tradition of past editions by offering an exemplary, far-ranging view of the field. Despite the conspicuous name change, the volume contains several essays exploring the ongoing relevance of the term mass for media studies.

  • Dorsten, Aimee-Marie. 2012. “Thinking dirty”: Digging up three founding “matriarchs” of communication studies. Communication Theory 22.1: 25–47.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2885.2011.01398.xE-mail Citation »

    In a rejoinder to Berelson’s 1959 “founding fathers” historical account of communications studies, Dorsten underscores the contributions of female thinkers such as Hortense Powdermaker, Mae Huettig, and Helen MacGill Hughes to the formation of the field of mass media research.

  • Gitlin, Todd. 1978. Media sociology: The dominant paradigm. Theory and Society 6:205–253.

    DOI: 10.1007/BF01681751E-mail Citation »

    This landmark essay critiques the “limited-effects” model posited by Lazarsfeld and others for not taking adequate account of media’s institutional power. One finds here a compelling Gramscian-inflected argument for a conception of power that operates not through changing opinions but rather through reinforcing and naturalizing the existing order.

  • Katz, Elihu, John Durham Peters, Tamar Liebes, and Avril Orloff, eds. 2003. Canonic texts in media research. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

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    Breaking the history of mass media research into “schools” (the Columbia School, Frankfurt School, Chicago School, Toronto School, and British Cultural Studies), this book offers essays reflecting on canonical texts from each approach.

  • McQuail, Denis. 2010. McQuail’s mass communication theory. 6th ed. London: SAGE.

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    Productively links surveys of mass media research to emerging issues and problems. A thorough introduction to the field, suitable as a textbook or as a reference for scholars seeking concise overviews of various subfields.

  • Pooley, Jefferson. 2008. The new history of mass communication research. In The history of media and communication research: Contested memories. Edited by David W. Park and Jefferson Pooley, 43–69. New York: Peter Lang.

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    In this historiography of revisionist histories, Pooley integrates work from scholars across various disciplines to challenge the canonical narrative of early US communications research.

  • Several monographs and readers demonstrate the breadth of sociological analysis of the media. Hardt 2001 discusses how key sociological questions informed early media research in Europe. Hesmondhalgh and Toynbee 2008 confirms the persistent importance of “thinking sociologically” about key issues in contemporary media. The classic compilation Gurevitch, et al. 1982 captures lively theoretical and empirical debates about news, culture, and institutions in media sociology in the late 1970s. Scannell 2007 and Stevenson 2002 are examples of sophisticated sociological analysis of media and communication. Overviews of contemporary sociological questions in media research are included in Tumber 2000 and Tunstall 2001. Benson and Neveu 2005 claims that the work of Pierre Bourdieu remains a rich source of ideas for the study of news media and journalism.

  • Benson, Rodney, and Erik Neveu, eds. 2005. Bourdieu and the journalistic field. Cambridge, MA: Polity.

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    A stimulating collection on Bourdieu’s contributions to the study of journalism. Contributors discuss the merits and limitations of his wide-ranging ideas. Despite disagreements about the value of his assessments about the state of contemporary media, they agree that Bourdieu offers valuable theoretical insights for media studies.

  • Gurevitch, Michael, Tony Bennett, James Curran, and Janet Woollacott, eds. 1982. Culture, society, and the media. London: Methuen.

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    This collection features classic articles, such as those by Hall, Murdock, Blumler and Gurevitch, and Boyd-Barrett, that bring up critical issues in the study of media and society. The book discusses the impact of economic, cultural, and political forces on media institutions and offers theory-rich analysis of media developments.

  • Hardt, Hanno. 2001. Social theories of the press: Constituents of communication research, 1840s to 1920s. 2d ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

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    Hardt has written a valuable overview of classic German social theory that influenced early US communication research and still offers plenty of conceptual insights to understand contemporary media. The book discusses a range of theories and concepts that are particularly central to critical and cultural studies.

  • Hesmondhalgh, David, and Jason Toynbee, eds. 2008. The media and social theory. London: Routledge.

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    A collection of critical essays that show why social theory matters in understanding contemporary media. The authors link arguments in classic and current theories to the analysis of media industries and content. Collectively, the authors show the merits and blind spots of critical theory.

  • Scannell, Paddy. 2007. Media and communication. London: SAGE.

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    A comprehensive examination of social theory in the study of media and communication. Scannell chronologically reviews the work of key sociologists who influenced theoretical and empirical research in the field.

  • Stevenson, Nick. 2002. Understanding media cultures: Social theory and mass communication. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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    An overview of social theories and media analysis that demonstrates the diversity of conceptual frameworks and research questions in the field. It makes a strong case for why sociological theories offer considerable insights into central questions to study contemporary media.

  • Tumber, Howard, ed. 2000. Media power, professionals, and policies. London: Routledge.

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    This volume covers key topics in media studies: policy, power, management, professionalism, and identity. Several chapters (particularly those by Tumber, Philip Schlesinger, Rodney Tiffen, and Simon Frith) demonstrate the uses of sociological analysis to examine media performance and change.

  • Tunstall, Jeremy, ed. 2001. Media occupations and professions: A reader. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    The book features a range of essays dealing with issues related to professionalism in the media. Media occupations uneasily fit conventional understanding of professions, given multiple educational and career paths, requirements, status, and so on. The authors tackle key questions to understand why and how diverse media occupations can rightly be considered professions.