“ it is because the media are central to our everyday lives that we must study them... as social and cultural as well as political and economic dimensions of the modern world.” (Roger Silverstone, Why Study the Media? 1999.)
understand respond to question
construct logical argument
key terms/concepts used accurately
provide relevant examples where required
Reading 1.1 Why Media Studies is Worthwhile: Bazalgette
'Media studies is controversial because it is still new and because it deals with things that are not only continuing to change but are also the focus of many anxieties. '2000:5 'Newspapers, film, radio, television and, increasingly, computer software and communications networks are generally considered to be immensely popular in ways that are not fully understood and about which there is little consensus. They are consequently blamed for all kinds of social ills, political problems and cultural degeneracy. Each of these media has also, in its time, been seen as the harbinger of apocalyptic change – for better as well as for worse. But because the oldest of them – the mass circulation press – has only been in existence for little more than a century, the process of change has been too fast for anyone to arrive at definitive conclusions about what its social, political and cultural effects really are. 'As much as everyone likes to think they rebel against their parents and teachers, and keep up to date with new ideas and technologies, we are all substantially formed through the frameworks of ideas and thought of earlier generations, and we all find change difficult.' 'Change almost always provokes strong feelings: excitement, anxiety, tension, fear, anger. The media, conspicuous and changing objects in a world that is itself changing, are a particularly public focus for these kinds of emotion and argument. There is therefore much disagreement about how the media should be understood, regulated and consumed. 2000:6
It is essential to recognise that media studies, even as we enter the twenty-first century is still new. '….it is a subject still in the process of being formed. Full of disagreements and different claims as to what it is 'really about'. It is also a hybrid subject: that is to say, the ideas and approaches that it draws upon come from many different sources. 'The mass circulation press, the cinema, radio, television, digital software and the internet each attracted comment, analysis and speculation from the start (2000:7) Everyone who spoke or wrote about these media was themselves already educated within existing academic disciplines and motivated by particular interests
2000:7 Nevertheless, hybrid disciplines do appear all the time: semiotics, structuralism, sociolinguistics, and many more. Media studies snaps them all up: there can never be too many different ways of analysing just what is really going on in those fleeting images. Those rapt audiences. Those smoke filled boardrooms of owners.
Technology and theory
2000:8 – The media themselves change much faster than any theory. In fact it is often changes in the media – even basic technological changes – that impel changes in the academic construction of the subject. As I write this in the late 1990s we have moved into a period of what are profound changes brought about by digital technologies. Until the 1980s the term 'media' meant what it said (although it was, and still is, widely misused as a singular noun). It refers to numbers of different ways of physically reproducing and carrying meanings. The whole point of a media text is that it moves and flows: the meaning is never 'there' at a given moment, but in juxtaposition and sequence, in the tension between one moment and another. 2000:8 2000:9 Media studies is thus a catch-all title designating a wide variety of courses, and since these are all embroiled both in developing a coherent theoretical base and in keeping up with...