A Handbook of Media and Communication Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies

By Klaus Bruhn Jensen | Go to book overview

3

Media, culture and modern times

Social science investigations

Graham Murdock
• a description of media as central constituents of the modern period, and of the social sciences studying it
• a recovery of the different types of research, analysis, and activism which characterized early social science, and which fed into later media studies
• a review of work examining the relations between media and democracy, social space, and public culture
• a reassessment of precursors of current social science, e.g., regarding media effects and reception
• a summary of the transition from structural functionalism to political economy and cultural studies in contemporary media studies.

LINEAGES OF THE PRESENT

Many of the social institutions and patterns of everyday life with which we are now so familiar, assumed their present forms in the four decades between 1880 and 1920. Their development was inextricably tied up with the growth of modern media. The arrival of wireless telegraphy in 1895, and of automatic switchboards in telephone exchanges in 1892, allowed larger volumes of information and conversation to be transmitted instantly, over increasingly greater distances. The ability to reproduce photographs in newspapers and magazines for the first time (1880) transformed the popular press. And the launch of the gramophone, in 1887, and the arrival of cinema, in 1895, laid the basis for novel kinds of entertainment and experience.1

This complex of new communications media played a central role in constructing the contemporary social order in four main ways. Firstly, they allowed both the large business enterprises that were coming to dominate the economy, and the new forms of state and government which were emerging in the political arena, to manage their proliferating activities more effectively. Modern business worked with ever more complex chains of supply, production, and distribution. Modern nation-states were assuming greater responsibility for social welfare in areas like pensions and education. With the age of total war ushered in by World War I, they faced the problem of managing military operations spread over a huge geographical area. Even in peacetime, the operations of many large corporations and western nation-states were global in scope. Empires, whether territorial or economic, posed formidable problems of command, coordination, and control.2

Second, modern communications were central to the ways in which governments and

1 chronological table of media and communication - Chapter 2, p. 18

2 the control society - Chapter 16, p. 275

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A Handbook of Media and Communication Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Part I - History 13
  • 2 - The Humanities in Media and Communication Research 15
  • 3 - Media, Culture and Modern Times 40
  • Part II - Systematics 59
  • 4 - The Production of Media Fiction 62
  • 5 - The Production of News 78
  • 6 - The Study of International News 91
  • 7 - Discourses of Fact 98
  • 8 - Mediated Fiction 117
  • 9 - Media Effects 138
  • 10 - Media Reception 156
  • 11 - Contexts, Cultures, and Computers 171
  • 12 - History, Media and Communication 191
  • Part III - Practice 207
  • 13 - The Quantitative Research Process 209
  • 14 - The Qualitative Research Process 235
  • 15 - The Complementarity of Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies in Media and Communication Research 254
  • 16 - The Social Origins and Uses of Media and Communication Research 273
  • References 294
  • Index 326
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