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Essay on Media's Effect on Society's Perspectives

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More so than any other aspects of modern life, the mass media determines the public opinions on issues in the United States and around the world. Many different forms of media exist in developed nations along with many assessments about each of these innovations and their respective impacts on society. As with all sociological issues, there exist four major divisions of perspective: the interactionalist, functionalist, feminist, and conflict theorists. Each of these groups shares a few opinion connections with the others but all employ their own unequivocal views which establish them distinctly from one another.
From Johannes Gutenberg's printing press ushering in the Renaissance to Timothy Berners-Lee's—the MIT professor often credited with the invention of the Internet—proposal of the World Wide Web bringing about the modern technological age, media's impact remains undeniable; major developments in media tend to set in motion some of the most drastic changes in lifestyles. However, a problem with media technologies arises from an inability to preëmptively recognize their full potential and possible misuse in the future.
A major concern to interactionalist theorists derives from the selective exposure, or underutilization of these innovations by those who care only to know a minuscule amount of information about specific subjects. This dilemma often leads to the deprivation of one's potential proficiency about a topic despite a belief that they acquired all necessary knowledge. A problem occurs when one's lack of information leads one to become less tolerant of others.
Conversely, interactionalists view television optimistically when used as a social networking device, particularly when a group of friends or family con...


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...d their effects on listeners, the more violent lyrics—even if presented in seemingly non-violent style—tended to lead to increased violent cognitions in the listener. One could draw ties between the interactionalists' predicament of selective exposure and the findings of cases similar to this.
A problem faced by conflict theorists, construction of reality, rears its head in a study by Ward published in 2004 in which the results show black students' negative mental reaction to the misrepresentation and underrepresentation of blacks in the media. Specifically when viewing sports and music videos did the adolescents show a negative self-esteem. Theoretically, the reason these particular programs impact the self-esteem of the students so negatively comes from the achieved status of the musician or athlete through what would appear on the surface to be minimal effort.


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