Introduction number of different ways this has occurred

Introduction

 

Globalisation, according to sociologists, is an ongoing
process that involves interconnected changes in the economic, cultural, social,
and political spheres of society (Nicki Lisa Cole Ph.D. , 2017). As a process,
it involves the ever-increasing integration of these aspects between nations,
regions, communities, and even seemingly isolated places. When discussing
globalisation many think of the political and economical aspects however what I
am focusing on in this project is the cultural aspects of globalisation. A
person’s culture consists of the beliefs, behaviours, and other characteristics
common to the members of a particular group or society, it is through this that
people and groups define themselves, it is how they conform to society’s shared
values and it is how they define their beliefs. A person’s culture provides the
basic building blocks of who they are. Globalisation is a form of secondary
socialisation, a process of learning which continues through your entire life
teaching you about the wider society, shaping your opinion from what you have
witnessed over the years and crafting your identity (Walter Smith , 2017). It
refers to the global spread and integration of: ideas, values, norms,
behaviours, and ways of life. Globalisation is fuelled by technological
development, the global integration of communication technologies, and the
global distribution of media provides a medium which is used to inform people
of the wider society which provides a continuous process of learning. (Nicki
Lisa Cole Ph.D. , 2017).

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For this project I have been researching the effect the mass
media has had on different cultures through the process of globalisation.
Whilst undergoing this research project I found many ways in which
globalisation has changed the norms and values of various cultures and the way
they have advanced over the years. Even though there are a number of different
ways this has occurred through extensive analysis of my initial research I
managed to conclude the largest impact of globalisation has occurred through
the Mass Media.

 

In the new millennium, we are seeing a need to redefine some
of our most basic communication formats, this due to the rise of technological
development and is redefining the media industry. “At one time, media and mass
media were terms that could be broken down into a small group of outlets:
newspapers, magazines, radio. Nowadays, with the advance of modern technology,
media and mass media encompass a much broader spectrum of outlets. The mass
media is a means of communication that is spread globally. Additionally,
included in this group are such media as advertising, the Internet, social
media and television” 1. The mass media can be accessed worldwide and has influenced11 
millions of people by broadcasting messages from one hemisphere to another (Eugenia
Siapera , 2012). This process has encouraged globalisation as every day we are
witnessing what is happening around the world, absorbing information of one
culture and adding it to our own lives. However, the Mass Media derives from a
global scale and I therefore cannot describe how all parts of the Mass Media
has influenced globalisation however over recent years I have noticed the two
largest impacts of globalisation to be the internet and television.

 

330 million people in the US alone, that amounts to
billions of decisions everyday: what jeans to wear, what bank to trust, what
coffee to order or even what phone to buy, globalisation has a hand in all of
it, everywhere we look, every day that goes by billions of people witness an
advertisement or even simply talk to a friend or colleague and have
subconsciously been influenced to commit an action or make a simple decision
that could change everything. To expand on this, I will be using a book written
in 1977 by Jerry Mander an American activist and author who worked in the media
industry for 15 years and in his book Four arguments for Eliminating Television
described the mass media as: “hypnotizing, energy sucking, brain-washing,
vegetative, concentration-killing, addictive, zombie-like, mind destroying… and
yet somehow a relaxing activity, and so we like it.” 2 Similarly

In 1977, Marie Winn wrote a book with anecdotal evidence of
TV’s effects called “The Plug-In Drug.” It asserted that TV viewing by children
was addictive, turning them into passive, incommunicative “zombies” who couldn’t
play, couldn’t create, and couldn’t think clearly; they couldn’t solve problems
and couldn’t fill their free time. It broke down family communication, and
filtered even direct affection through the TV, to everyone’s harm. It is an
instrument of “fixation technology,” and it aids in implanting imagery in the
viewer.” I will expand on this point further on in my investigation and
identify and explain sociological theories proving this effect has been taking
place in our society’s, however I will also argue other factors responsible for
the shift in values in our cultures and explore in detail whether this truly
does exist in our society today and if we are really being manipulated by the
media.

 

The difference in cultures around the world is phenomenal,
when looking at the US and its states you would assume there not to be much of
a difference in their norms and values, wouldn’t you? If you think the answer to
this question is yes you would be incorrect, as even neighbouring states such
as New York and New Jersey share different values, one of the most
controversial being incest. Even though incest is considered to be disgusting in
New York and illegal it is considered normal in New Jersey and is completely
legal. When considering cultures many would think of eastern and western
civilisations, if even neighbouring sates can have such vast differences in
values how different could the norms and values of different hemispheres be. The
western civilisation has always drawn controversy towards its influence on the
rest of the world, any music, fashion or movie that has been produced in the
west always manages to spread globally and influence cultures around the world.
Eastern hemisphere consists of many countries, the entirety of Asia, a
continent larger than the US but still seems to have less influence then the western
hemisphere. Throughout this research project I will identify how much of an
impact western civilisation has had on the east and will identify why this has
occurred and what effect this might have on the future.

 

How does mass media influence
globalisation to take place?

 

Since the internet was released in 1991 it has
revolutionized globalisation and the impact it has had on the mass media. Over
the years the contribution of the internet towards the role of the media has
changed dramatically, in our society the digital media is transforming the behaviour
of its consumers and the traditional media business models. Today because of
the ease of internet access users are able to freely roam the internet and use
it to gratify their needs. Reliance on the internet has become a key part of
our lives and is used every day by a large percentage of the world’s
population, and has caused a shift in our cultures which has been said by
experts has begun to change our attitudes, behaviour and possibly beliefs. This
has been investigated further by sociologists Bulmer and Katz who have
described this as the uses and gratification approach. It is today a popular
theory and is widely known by many sociologists. It is believed to be the
process through which media users play an active role in choosing and using the media
they actively witness through the day. Bulmer and Katz believed that members of
society seek out the media source that best fulfils their needs and use it to
gain their desired results. The theory places more focus on the consumer, or
audience, instead of the actual message itself by asking “what people do with
media” rather than “what media does to people” (Katz , 1959).  It assumes that members of the audience are
not passive but take an active role in interpreting and integrating media into
their own lives. The theory also holds that audiences are responsible for choosing
media to meet their needs, the approach suggests that people use the media to
fulfil specific gratifications. This theory would then imply that the media conglomerates
compete against other information sources for viewers’ gratification (Katz ,
Blumler & Gurevitch , 1974). Furthermore this explains why media
conglomerates exaggerate news story’s as it is an attempt to get the publics
attention which in return would increase profits for the media conglomerates
and increase their average audience. An example of this would be if a terrorist
attack had occurred in London, and several people had died  due to a bomb going off, on the one hand one
news station may report the headline as “Terrorist attack in London causes
panic” however another news station who is also reporting the same story but
wants to receive more public attention and increased profits will exaggerate
the story and report the headline as “Muslim radical creates mass panic by bombing
capital and killing several innocent bystanders”, from looking at both of these
headlines it is clear which one will receive more attention this will also
achieve viewers gratification thus raising public awareness by having people
share and talk about the story and thus increase the news stations average
audience and profit margins.

 

 However the uses and
gratification theory works in many ways and states when we use the media it is
usually because it has to fulfil one the following, firstly to educate the
media will gratify our needs to be educated as we are able to acquire
information, knowledge and understanding from it, secondly entertainment, for
enjoyment many would use the internet or television to gratify their needs for
entertainment, the media would fulfil this by providing content such as music,
movies or games which would provide us with enjoyment and can in many cases
create ‘escapism’ enabling us to forget about our worries temporarily and be
happy, finally social interactions, the media provides us with topics of
conversation which occurs due to what we witness on the internet or in the news,
it provides people who have never met before or even friends with topics of
conversation which can be discussed between them and can also be the source for
sparking debates. An example of this theory would be a teenager using the
internet to watch a movie which would gratify their need for entertainment,
from this example we can see that media users are responsible for what they
witness as they intend to use the media for a purpose whether that be
information, entertainment or general gossip to talk to your friends about the
media will provide you with what you want it to which you will in return use to
gratify your needs.

 

Therefore, can it truly be said that the media is
influencing globalisation and changing our cultures or is it us who wants to
change who we are?

 

In order to answer this question, I found another
sociological theory, first found by Dr James Wood in 1990 called the hypodermic
syringe model which states the media is responsible for our change in behaviour
and values. Originally this theory was called the magic bullet theory this was
when sociologists first started to explore this theory and has been around
since the 1920s to explain how mass audiences might react to the mass media.
According to University of Twent in the Netherlands, the theory states that
mass media has a direct, immediate and powerful effect on its audiences. Several
factors, including widespread popularity of radio and television, led to this
theory being developed. Other factors which were also responsible for this
occurring was the development of the “persuasion industries” of advertising and
propaganda being utilized by industries and governments to persuade the public
/ viewers in to giving in to their demands. In the 1930s many research studies
were conducted into whether the magic bullet theory really existed, one of the
most notable studies conducted was by The Payne Fund, developed by the Motion
Picture Research Council, which studied the impact of motion pictures on
children to see if the magic bullet effect was controllable and if it could
manipulate the audience who were viewing the content. Even Hitler monopolized
the mass media in the belief that he could use it unify the German public
behind the Nazis as during this period of time Hitler waged a modern whirlwind
campaign in 1930 unlike anything ever seen in Germany he travelled the country
delivering dozens of major speeches, attending meetings, shaking hands, signing
autographs, posing for pictures, and even kissing babies. This was all crafted
by his chief of propaganda Joseph Goebbels who brilliantly organized thousands
of meetings, torchlight parades and even plastered posters everywhere so that
the public would never stop thinking about the Nazi party, many believe it was
because of Hitler’s use of the mass media which led to him being idolised by so
many (Dana Griffin , 1999). The magic bullet theory suggested that the mass
media was producing messages in the form of bullets, which would be fired from
the ‘media gun’ and into the viewer’s head (University of Twente , 2017). In
this model, the audience is passive and stated that the viewers are like sitting
ducks with no chance to avoid or resist the impact of the message. In this view
the Mass media was considered to be extremely dangerous because people would believe
the messages being sent by the media as there was no other sources of
information. However, many did not believe the magic bullet theory was real and
considered it as circumstantial research as it did not consider the fact that
the audience might actually challenge the information given out by the media
and furthermore label it as unreliable or fake, but the most notable and classic
example of the magic bullet theory in action was illustrated on the day October
30th 1938 when Orson Welles (actor) and the newly formed Mercury Theatre
group broadcasted their radio edition of H.G. Wells’ “War of the
Worlds.” It all began on the evening of Halloween when viewers thought
radio broadcasting was being interrupted by Martians who were going to attack
the earth. In reality this was the theatre group who were performing their
radio edition of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” a book about
Martians attacking the Earth. This led to the broadcast being known as the
“Panic Broadcast” and changed broadcast history, social psychology,
civil defence and set a standard for provocative entertainment. According to
the University of Twente approximately 12 million people in the United States
heard the broadcast and about one million of those actually believed that a
serious alien invasion was underway. This led to a wave of mass hysteria which
disrupted households, interrupted religious services, caused traffic jams and
clogged communication systems. People began fleeing their cities and homes to
seek shelter in more rural areas, they raided grocery stores and began to
ration food. The nation was in a state of chaos, and this broadcast was the
cause of it.

 

The effects of the broadcast suggested that the media could
manipulate a passive and gullible public, leading theorists to believe this was
one of the primary ways media authors shaped audience perception. Overtime the
magic bullet theory was considered to be too cumbersome to test and was found
to offer inaccurate results. Modern researchers wanted more empirical
explanations for the relationship between the media and its audience which led
to the development of the hypodermic syringe model. This theory suggests the
audience accepts messages that are injected in to them by the mass media. The
key difference between this new theory and the previous Magic Bullet theory is
that whereas the magic bullet theory states the impact of messages from the
media is instant and take effect immediately the hypodermic syringe approach
believes the subconscious messages we are receiving from the media is more like
a drug, which is being injected in to us and like a drug needs to be updated
regularly to take effect and may take effect faster depending on whether or not
we have has more exposure to the ‘drug’ and will eventually over a certain
period of time  this has had on people
can range from something as simple as a change in behaviour to a change in
beliefs. Evidence has shown there is a direct correlation between violent
behaviour shown on TV, video games etc. and antisocial and criminal behaviour
in real life. An example of this would be the murder of 2-year-old Jamie Bulger.
In the year 1993 on the 12th of February a 2-year-old toddler was
abducted by two 10-year-old boys and beaten to death. When psychologists
investigated the reason behind why these two 10-year-old boys would commit such
a horrendous crime found the death to have intimated one presented in a movie
called “child’s play 3” which the two boys who carried out the crime had
watched prior to these events. Many newspapers at the time including “The Sun”
began debating whether this type of violence in movies should be tolerated and
whether there should be more restriction on media content.

 

Even though this theory has been adapted through the years
the concept remains the same. The theory believes every time we watch TV use
the internet or expose ourselves to any form of media we are making ourselves unreliable
to the influence of the mass media.

 

This theory was investigated further by researcher Albert
Bandura and I will be using this experiment to answer the question of how much
of an effect can what we witness really have on our behaviour, beliefs and attitudes?

 

In 1961 Albert Bandura conducted a study to investigate if
social behaviours such as aggression can be acquired by observation and
imitation. They tested 36 boys and 36 girls from the Stanford University
Nursery School aged between 3 to 6 years old. The researchers pre-tested the
children for how aggressive they were by observing the children in the nursery
and judged their aggressive behaviour on four 5-point rating scales. It was
then possible to match the children in each group so that each group would be
made up of people who had similar levels of aggression in their everyday behaviour.
The grouping of the children was first done by Bandura and his research team
and then done again from scratch by an independent observer using the same 5-point
rating scales Bandura used, furthermore the independent observer was unaware of
the groups bandura and his team had made to stop the researcher from labelling the
children as aggressive and from being influenced by banduras results. The
groups created by the independent observer and the groups created by Bandura and
his team were compared, the results showed the groups created by both Bandura
and the independent observer were similar in their choosing there was a similarity
and reliability of 89% which suggested that both Bandura and the observers had
a good agreement about the behaviour of the children.

 

A
lab experiment occurred where in which the research’s observed the behaviour of
each group and compared the results, the independent variable was the decided
as the “type of model” which the children would be exposed to, this was manipulated
in three conditions: an aggressive model was shown to 24 children (group 1), a Non-aggressive
model is shown to 24 children (group 2), No model shown (control condition) –
24 children (group 3) the diagram below shows how the groups were sorted and
divided.

 

During the experiment the children were individually shown
into a room containing toys which they played with for 10 minutes while either:

 

·        
24 children (12 boys and 12 girls) watched a
male or female model behaving aggressively towards a toy called a ‘Bobo doll’. In
the film the adults were shown attacking the Bobo doll in an aggressive and particular
manner, this consisted of them using a toy hammer to hi the doll and throw the
doll in the air shouting “Pow, Boom.”

 

·        
Another 24 children (12 boys and 12 girls) were
exposed to a non-aggressive model, this film showed the adults playing in a
quiet and subdued manner for 10 minutes, acting calmly and playing with a toy set
and completely ignoring the bobo-doll.

 

·        
The final 24 children (12 boys and 12 girls)
were used as a control group and not exposed to any model at all.

 

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