media and culture

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Media & Culture

Take up a question of media influence and culture and *either* consider different sides of a dialectic, or make an argument for a specific position. Use specific examples to illustrate your points (such as TV shows, music, social media, internet, movies, video games, etc.) You may use your textbook as a source. Some topics you may write about include (choose one or create your own topic):

  • Media influence versus media representation of reality. Is the media a reflection of culture, does it shape culture, or is it both?
  • Violence in the media: There is much violence depicted in many mediums of media. Is this problematic? Is it simply entertainment? Does media desensitize people to violence?
  • News: Is it ever objective? We often interpret news uncritically — like a textbook, as representation of truth. All news (like textbooks) are human interpretations of social issues. What they choose to talk about, how they understand it, how they explain it is influenced by their own perspectives (or the perspectives of the owners of the organizations). With this question, avoid partisanship. Do not assume because a news organization has a different bias than you, it is wrong, while others are correct. Take a more general stance on this subject.
  • Cultural ideals of beauty: How does the media influence what we consider to be beautiful? What are the ramifications of this?
  • Stereotypes: Choose a stereotype you believe to be perpetuated by the media and give examples. Consider how people engage in selective exposure (only paying attention to that which confirms their attitudes in order to avoid dissonance,) selective retention, and/or selective perception (we see what we want to see–we do not like the feeling of being wrong).
  • Free speech versus social responsibility: Both of these are important, but sometimes competing values. Explain.
  • How can media be a positive force in democracy? Think about freedom of expression, human rights, public service announcements, education, etc.
  • Does the media glamorize alcohol and/or drug use? Give examples.

This paper should be 3-4 pages (750-1000 words) and cite three sources.

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