Media culture  

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This page Media culture is part of the politics series.Illustration:Liberty Leading the People (1831, detail) by Eugène Delacroix.
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This page Media culture is part of the politics series.
Illustration:Liberty Leading the People (1831, detail) by Eugène Delacroix.
Loisirs Littéraires au XXe siècle (English: "Literary leasures in the 20th century") is the title of an illustration from the story "The End of Books" by French writer Octave Uzanne and illustrator Albert Robida, a story about a post-literate society in which readers have become 'hearers', consumers of audio books. It was published in the collection Contes pour les bibliophiles (1895). The illustration depicts a female reader of the 20th century, imagined by Robida, who is listening to  "12 poètes assortis" (twelve assorted poets) in on the balcony overlooking a future city.
Enlarge
Loisirs Littéraires au XXe siècle (English: "Literary leasures in the 20th century") is the title of an illustration from the story "The End of Books" by French writer Octave Uzanne and illustrator Albert Robida, a story about a post-literate society in which readers have become 'hearers', consumers of audio books. It was published in the collection Contes pour les bibliophiles (1895). The illustration depicts a female reader of the 20th century, imagined by Robida, who is listening to "12 poètes assortis" (twelve assorted poets) in on the balcony overlooking a future city.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In cultural studies, media culture refers to the current western capitalist society that emerged and developed from the 20th century, under the influence of mass media. The term alludes to the overall impact and intellectual guidance exerted by the media (primarily TV, but also the press, radio and cinema), not only on public opinion but also on tastes and values.

The alternative term mass culture conveys the idea that such culture emerges spontaneously from the masses themselves, like popular art did before the 20th century. The expression media culture, on the other hand, conveys the idea that such culture is the product of the mass media. Another alternative term for media culture is "image culture."

Media culture, with its conflicts of interest due to advertising and public relations, is often considered as a system centered on the manipulation of the mass of society to represent and reproduce dominant ideologies. Prominent in the development of this perspective has been the word of Theodor Adorno since the 1940s. Media culture is associated with consumerism, and in this sense called alternatively "consumer culture."

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The news media mines the work of scientists and scholars and conveys it to the general public, often emphasizing elements that have inherent appeal or the power to amaze. For instance, giant pandas (a species in remote Chinese woodlands) have become well-known items of popular culture; parasitic worms, though of greater practical importance, have not. Both scholarly facts and news stories get modified through popular transmission, often to the point of outright falsehoods.

Hannah Arendt's 1961 essay "The Crisis in Culture" suggested that a "market-driven media would lead to the displacement of culture by the dictates of entertainment." Susan Sontag argues that in our culture, the most "...intelligible, persuasive values are [increasingly] drawn from the entertainment industries", which has spelt the "undermining of standards of seriousness." As a result, "tepid, the glib, and the senselessly cruel" topics are becoming the norm.

Some critics argue that popular culture is “dumbing down”: "newspapers that once ran foreign news now feature celebrity gossip, pictures of scantily dressed young ladies... television has replaced high-quality drama with gardening, cookery, and other “lifestyle” programmes [and] reality TV and asinine soaps," to the point that people are constantly immersed in trivia about celebrity culture.

Since the 1950s, television has been the main medium for molding public opinion.

Media culture through religion

Guy Debord, in The Society of the Spectacle argued that media culture, in its mass marketing, has been compared to the role of religions in the past. It has been considered as taking the place of the old traditional religions. The waves of enthusiasm and fervent exaltation for a given product, a characteristic consumerist phenomenon, has been equipared to the "ecstasies of the convulsions and miracles of the old religious fetishism".

Conversely, the Catholic Church, the dominant religion in the Western world, has been considered retrospectively as an antecedent and sophisticated form of Public relations, advertising and Multinational corporation, selling his product to a mass of worshipers/consumers.

See also

Further reading




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Media culture" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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