Birmingham School

The Birmingham School, better known as the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, was a research center at the University of Birmingham. Founded by Richard Hoggart in 1964, the school played a major role in the development of cultural studies not only in Britain, but across the globe. Cultural studies can be defined as the studyContinue reading “Birmingham School”

Cantril’s Psychology of Panic

In Hadley Cantril’s book The Invasion from Mars: A Study in the Psychology of Panic he examines the effects of the CBS War of the Worlds broadcast. His work used direct but inaccurate examples to analyze the after effects of the broadcast. After the broadcast he analyzed responses from interviewees to conclude that the realityContinue reading “Cantril’s Psychology of Panic”

Critical Race Media Studies

Critical race media studies is defined as the interventionist research frame, with methodological variability, that examines the intersections of culture, race, law, and power in the media. The creation of Critical Race Media Studies comes from the combination of Critical Race Theory and Media Studies. Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a critical examination of societyContinue reading “Critical Race Media Studies”

Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies is an academic discipline stemming from the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. Cultural Studies has its roots in post-World War II Britain, beginning with the Centre’s formation in 1963 (Murphy, 1992).  Under a definition provided by the Center itself in early literature, Cultural Studies can be defined as “an interdisciplinary field which dealsContinue reading “Cultural Studies”

Cultural Theory

Culture theory is a concept created and published by Marxist theorist Raymond Williams. Williams published this theory in 1961 in his piece “The Long Revolution.” Williams’ culture theory was inspired by his curiosity in how the structure of feelings and culture/lifestyles changed from generation to generation in Britain. Williams determined that it would be impossibleContinue reading “Cultural Theory”

Culture Industries

In 1944, Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer published their article, “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception.” This article introduced the world to the theory of culture industries from the Frankfurt School. Adorno and Horkheimer developed this theory from living in Nazi Germany, where they witnessed people unthinkingly conform to whatever roles the government prescribed.Continue reading “Culture Industries”

Feminist Media Studies

Despite the growth and expansion of the feminist movement throughout the twentieth century, Feminist Media Studies did not become a known paradigm until the late 1970s. Feminist Media Studies uses feminist ideals and principles in researching and analyzing media, focusing on stereotypes, socialization, and ideologies of gender. Feminist media arguably began with the start ofContinue reading “Feminist Media Studies”

John Fiske and the Resilience of the Popular Economy

In 1987, John Fiske defined the theory of popular economy to discover how popular culture evolves from those who would consume the products of mass culture.  His theory can be found in the final chapter of his book Television Culture that deals with the medium of television (Fiske, 2011/1987). The popular economy theory describes aContinue reading “John Fiske and the Resilience of the Popular Economy”

Frankfurt School

The Frankfurt School is unique in comparison to other communication and media studies schools in that it is the result of a culmination of many different subject materials and areas of study. Ultimately, the Frankfurt School approach is the combination of such subjects as social and critical theory, philosophy, economics, psychoanalysis, and Marxism (McLaughlin 1999).Continue reading “Frankfurt School”

Hyperreality and Simulacra

Hyperreality and simulacra are some of the most perplexing and sometimes ludicrous theories in the postmodernity area of media studies. Although when correctly understood, they can reveal a new dimension of postmodernity in which the very structure and creation of reality it critically dissected. Power and control are the underlying concerns of theorists in thisContinue reading “Hyperreality and Simulacra”

Hypodermic Needle Theory

The earliest definition of Hypodermic Needle Theory (HNT) comes from journalist Walter Lippmann’s book Public Opinion, saying that the growth of mass media culture has powerful effects on the minds and behavior of people (Lippmann, 1922). Although there was no actual evidence to back up his argument, his claim is the earliest version of HNTContinue reading “Hypodermic Needle Theory”

Information Society

In the information society the media is the central holder of information that comes in many different forms like films, television, radio, and print. It is a society in which every aspect of information such as its “creation, distribution, access and use” (Karvalics, 2007, p. 10) are the height of economic and cultural activity. InContinue reading “Information Society”

Marxist Exploitation Theory and Racial Inequality

Marxist exploitation theory is one which seeks to explain how people are mistreated within the production process and how workplace inequalities come to exist (Dymski, 1997). Ultimately, the goal of the theory is to not only point out the injustices which are taking place, but to also offer possible solutions for societal change. It claimsContinue reading “Marxist Exploitation Theory and Racial Inequality”

Mean World Syndrome

The term ‘mean world syndrome’ was created by George Gerbner who was a well-known journalist researching television content and the works of cultivation theory. George Gerbner was born in Hungary on August 8th, 1919 and moved to America when he was older to begin his college studies at University of California, Los Angeles. He thenContinue reading “Mean World Syndrome”

Political Economy of Communication and Media

Political economy examines how power and economics are related, and how they influence mass media, social, political, and economic structuration. The tradition of political economy developed alongside the great capitalist revolution in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In reaction to the social and commercial transformation created by capitalism early political economists looked toContinue reading “Political Economy of Communication and Media”

Production Studies

Production studies is a term that developed during the rediscovery of the mass communication. In the 1970s, some social and political scholars focused on the mass communicator and their organization and industries. In the decades since this era of rediscovery, substantial research effort has been devoted to understanding how professional mass communicators, their organizations, andContinue reading “Production Studies”

Queer Media Studies

Queer media studies are the lens of queer principles and politics to researching media texts, processes, industries, and sociocultural constructions. It is methodologically and theoretically diverse. Specific psychological, political, and cultural codes have elevated heterosexuality to the status of a sexual “given”. Those codes include the fact that initially heterosexuality was used to describe behaviorsContinue reading “Queer Media Studies”

Technological Determinism

Technological determinism is a reductionist theory that claims that technology shapes society. According to this theory, technology inevitably enhances on a traceable path that can be followed and correlated with the enhancement of society. Determinism refers to a relationship between two things that involves a “predetermined result” (Papageorgiou, T.) Technology is defined as the useContinue reading “Technological Determinism”

Walter Benjamin

Walter Benjamin was a prominent German cultural critic and philosopher of the Frankfurt School. Benjamin was born on July 15th, 1892 in Berlin, Germany to an upper-middle-class Jewish family. In his youth, Benjamin became interested in culture and anti-authoritarianism. He attended the Friedrich-Wilhelm Gymnasium, a prestigious secondary school, and later joined the German Youth Movement.Continue reading “Walter Benjamin”

Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Walter Benjamin is an important critical theorist and philosopher. He argued that technological developments permitted works of art to be reproduced in a way that altered the masses experience of art, films, and theatrical productions. Art has always been reproducible, but mechanical reproduction has allowed for a complete reworking of the understanding of reproduction itself.Continue reading “Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”