Introduction Globalisation, according to sociologists, is an ongoingprocess 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 discussingglobalisation many think of the political and economical aspects however what Iam focusing on in this project is the cultural aspects of globalisation.
Aperson’s culture consists of the beliefs, behaviours, and other characteristicscommon to the members of a particular group or society, it is through this thatpeople and groups define themselves, it is how they conform to society’s sharedvalues and it is how they define their beliefs. A person’s culture provides thebasic building blocks of who they are. Globalisation is a form of secondarysocialisation, a process of learning which continues through your entire lifeteaching you about the wider society, shaping your opinion from what you havewitnessed over the years and crafting your identity (Walter Smith , 2017). Itrefers to the global spread and integration of: ideas, values, norms,behaviours, and ways of life. Globalisation is fuelled by technologicaldevelopment, the global integration of communication technologies, and theglobal distribution of media provides a medium which is used to inform peopleof the wider society which provides a continuous process of learning. (NickiLisa Cole Ph.
D. , 2017). For this project I have been researching the effect the massmedia has had on different cultures through the process of globalisation.
Whilst undergoing this research project I found many ways in whichglobalisation has changed the norms and values of various cultures and the waythey have advanced over the years. Even though there are a number of differentways this has occurred through extensive analysis of my initial research Imanaged to conclude the largest impact of globalisation has occurred throughthe Mass Media. In the new millennium, we are seeing a need to redefine someof our most basic communication formats, this due to the rise of technologicaldevelopment and is redefining the media industry. “At one time, media and massmedia 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 massmedia is a means of communication that is spread globally. Additionally,included in this group are such media as advertising, the Internet, socialmedia and television” 1.
The mass media can be accessed worldwide and has influenced11 millions of people by broadcasting messages from one hemisphere to another (EugeniaSiapera , 2012). This process has encouraged globalisation as every day we arewitnessing what is happening around the world, absorbing information of oneculture and adding it to our own lives. However, the Mass Media derives from aglobal scale and I therefore cannot describe how all parts of the Mass Mediahas influenced globalisation however over recent years I have noticed the twolargest impacts of globalisation to be the internet and television. 330 million people in the US alone, that amounts tobillions of decisions everyday: what jeans to wear, what bank to trust, whatcoffee to order or even what phone to buy, globalisation has a hand in all ofit, everywhere we look, every day that goes by billions of people witness anadvertisement or even simply talk to a friend or colleague and havesubconsciously been influenced to commit an action or make a simple decisionthat could change everything.
To expand on this, I will be using a book writtenin 1977 by Jerry Mander an American activist and author who worked in the mediaindustry for 15 years and in his book Four arguments for Eliminating Televisiondescribed the mass media as: “hypnotizing, energy sucking, brain-washing,vegetative, concentration-killing, addictive, zombie-like, mind destroying… andyet somehow a relaxing activity, and so we like it.” 2 SimilarlyIn 1977, Marie Winn wrote a book with anecdotal evidence ofTV’s effects called “The Plug-In Drug.” It asserted that TV viewing by childrenwas addictive, turning them into passive, incommunicative “zombies” who couldn’tplay, couldn’t create, and couldn’t think clearly; they couldn’t solve problemsand couldn’t fill their free time.
It broke down family communication, andfiltered even direct affection through the TV, to everyone’s harm. It is aninstrument of “fixation technology,” and it aids in implanting imagery in theviewer.” I will expand on this point further on in my investigation andidentify and explain sociological theories proving this effect has been takingplace in our society’s, however I will also argue other factors responsible forthe shift in values in our cultures and explore in detail whether this trulydoes exist in our society today and if we are really being manipulated by themedia. 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 ofa difference in their norms and values, wouldn’t you? If you think the answer tothis question is yes you would be incorrect, as even neighbouring states suchas New York and New Jersey share different values, one of the mostcontroversial being incest. Even though incest is considered to be disgusting inNew York and illegal it is considered normal in New Jersey and is completelylegal. When considering cultures many would think of eastern and westerncivilisations, if even neighbouring sates can have such vast differences invalues how different could the norms and values of different hemispheres be.
Thewestern civilisation has always drawn controversy towards its influence on therest of the world, any music, fashion or movie that has been produced in thewest always manages to spread globally and influence cultures around the world.Eastern hemisphere consists of many countries, the entirety of Asia, acontinent larger than the US but still seems to have less influence then the westernhemisphere. Throughout this research project I will identify how much of animpact western civilisation has had on the east and will identify why this hasoccurred and what effect this might have on the future. How does mass media influenceglobalisation to take place? Since the internet was released in 1991 it hasrevolutionized globalisation and the impact it has had on the mass media. Overthe years the contribution of the internet towards the role of the media haschanged dramatically, in our society the digital media is transforming the behaviourof its consumers and the traditional media business models. Today because ofthe ease of internet access users are able to freely roam the internet and useit to gratify their needs. Reliance on the internet has become a key part ofour lives and is used every day by a large percentage of the world’spopulation, and has caused a shift in our cultures which has been said byexperts has begun to change our attitudes, behaviour and possibly beliefs. Thishas been investigated further by sociologists Bulmer and Katz who havedescribed this as the uses and gratification approach.
It is today a populartheory and is widely known by many sociologists. It is believed to be theprocess through which media users play an active role in choosing and using the mediathey actively witness through the day. Bulmer and Katz believed that members ofsociety seek out the media source that best fulfils their needs and use it togain their desired results. The theory places more focus on the consumer, oraudience, instead of the actual message itself by asking “what people do withmedia” rather than “what media does to people” (Katz , 1959). It assumes that members of the audience arenot passive but take an active role in interpreting and integrating media intotheir own lives. The theory also holds that audiences are responsible for choosingmedia to meet their needs, the approach suggests that people use the media tofulfil specific gratifications. This theory would then imply that the media conglomeratescompete against other information sources for viewers’ gratification (Katz ,Blumler & Gurevitch , 1974).
Furthermore this explains why mediaconglomerates exaggerate news story’s as it is an attempt to get the publicsattention which in return would increase profits for the media conglomeratesand increase their average audience. An example of this would be if a terroristattack had occurred in London, and several people had died due to a bomb going off, on the one hand onenews station may report the headline as “Terrorist attack in London causespanic” however another news station who is also reporting the same story butwants to receive more public attention and increased profits will exaggeratethe story and report the headline as “Muslim radical creates mass panic by bombingcapital and killing several innocent bystanders”, from looking at both of theseheadlines it is clear which one will receive more attention this will alsoachieve viewers gratification thus raising public awareness by having peopleshare and talk about the story and thus increase the news stations averageaudience and profit margins. However the uses andgratification theory works in many ways and states when we use the media it isusually because it has to fulfil one the following, firstly to educate themedia will gratify our needs to be educated as we are able to acquireinformation, knowledge and understanding from it, secondly entertainment, forenjoyment many would use the internet or television to gratify their needs forentertainment, the media would fulfil this by providing content such as music,movies or games which would provide us with enjoyment and can in many casescreate ‘escapism’ enabling us to forget about our worries temporarily and behappy, finally social interactions, the media provides us with topics ofconversation 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 ofconversation which can be discussed between them and can also be the source forsparking debates. An example of this theory would be a teenager using theinternet to watch a movie which would gratify their need for entertainment,from this example we can see that media users are responsible for what theywitness as they intend to use the media for a purpose whether that beinformation, entertainment or general gossip to talk to your friends about themedia will provide you with what you want it to which you will in return use togratify your needs. Therefore, can it truly be said that the media isinfluencing globalisation and changing our cultures or is it us who wants tochange who we are? In order to answer this question, I found anothersociological theory, first found by Dr James Wood in 1990 called the hypodermicsyringe model which states the media is responsible for our change in behaviourand values. Originally this theory was called the magic bullet theory this waswhen sociologists first started to explore this theory and has been aroundsince the 1920s to explain how mass audiences might react to the mass media.According to University of Twent in the Netherlands, the theory states thatmass media has a direct, immediate and powerful effect on its audiences. Severalfactors, including widespread popularity of radio and television, led to thistheory being developed.
Other factors which were also responsible for thisoccurring was the development of the “persuasion industries” of advertising andpropaganda being utilized by industries and governments to persuade the public/ viewers in to giving in to their demands. In the 1930s many research studieswere conducted into whether the magic bullet theory really existed, one of themost notable studies conducted was by The Payne Fund, developed by the MotionPicture Research Council, which studied the impact of motion pictures onchildren to see if the magic bullet effect was controllable and if it couldmanipulate the audience who were viewing the content. Even Hitler monopolizedthe mass media in the belief that he could use it unify the German publicbehind the Nazis as during this period of time Hitler waged a modern whirlwindcampaign in 1930 unlike anything ever seen in Germany he travelled the countrydelivering dozens of major speeches, attending meetings, shaking hands, signingautographs, posing for pictures, and even kissing babies. This was all craftedby his chief of propaganda Joseph Goebbels who brilliantly organized thousandsof meetings, torchlight parades and even plastered posters everywhere so thatthe public would never stop thinking about the Nazi party, many believe it wasbecause of Hitler’s use of the mass media which led to him being idolised by somany (Dana Griffin , 1999). The magic bullet theory suggested that the massmedia was producing messages in the form of bullets, which would be fired fromthe ‘media gun’ and into the viewer’s head (University of Twente , 2017).
Inthis model, the audience is passive and stated that the viewers are like sittingducks with no chance to avoid or resist the impact of the message. In this viewthe Mass media was considered to be extremely dangerous because people would believethe messages being sent by the media as there was no other sources ofinformation. However, many did not believe the magic bullet theory was real andconsidered it as circumstantial research as it did not consider the fact thatthe audience might actually challenge the information given out by the mediaand furthermore label it as unreliable or fake, but the most notable and classicexample of the magic bullet theory in action was illustrated on the day October30th 1938 when Orson Welles (actor) and the newly formed Mercury Theatregroup broadcasted their radio edition of H.G. Wells’ “War of theWorlds.
” It all began on the evening of Halloween when viewers thoughtradio broadcasting was being interrupted by Martians who were going to attackthe earth. In reality this was the theatre group who were performing theirradio edition of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” a book aboutMartians 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 tothe University of Twente approximately 12 million people in the United Statesheard the broadcast and about one million of those actually believed that aserious alien invasion was underway. This led to a wave of mass hysteria whichdisrupted households, interrupted religious services, caused traffic jams andclogged communication systems. People began fleeing their cities and homes toseek shelter in more rural areas, they raided grocery stores and began toration food.
The nation was in a state of chaos, and this broadcast was thecause of it. The effects of the broadcast suggested that the media couldmanipulate a passive and gullible public, leading theorists to believe this wasone of the primary ways media authors shaped audience perception. Overtime themagic bullet theory was considered to be too cumbersome to test and was foundto offer inaccurate results. Modern researchers wanted more empiricalexplanations for the relationship between the media and its audience which ledto the development of the hypodermic syringe model. This theory suggests theaudience accepts messages that are injected in to them by the mass media. Thekey difference between this new theory and the previous Magic Bullet theory isthat whereas the magic bullet theory states the impact of messages from themedia is instant and take effect immediately the hypodermic syringe approachbelieves the subconscious messages we are receiving from the media is more likea drug, which is being injected in to us and like a drug needs to be updatedregularly to take effect and may take effect faster depending on whether or notwe have has more exposure to the ‘drug’ and will eventually over a certainperiod of time this has had on peoplecan range from something as simple as a change in behaviour to a change inbeliefs. Evidence has shown there is a direct correlation between violentbehaviour shown on TV, video games etc.
and antisocial and criminal behaviourin 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 wasabducted by two 10-year-old boys and beaten to death. When psychologistsinvestigated the reason behind why these two 10-year-old boys would commit sucha horrendous crime found the death to have intimated one presented in a moviecalled “child’s play 3” which the two boys who carried out the crime hadwatched prior to these events. Many newspapers at the time including “The Sun”began debating whether this type of violence in movies should be tolerated andwhether there should be more restriction on media content. Even though this theory has been adapted through the yearsthe concept remains the same.
The theory believes every time we watch TV usethe internet or expose ourselves to any form of media we are making ourselves unreliableto the influence of the mass media. This theory was investigated further by researcher AlbertBandura and I will be using this experiment to answer the question of how muchof an effect can what we witness really have on our behaviour, beliefs and attitudes? In 1961 Albert Bandura conducted a study to investigate ifsocial behaviours such as aggression can be acquired by observation andimitation. They tested 36 boys and 36 girls from the Stanford UniversityNursery School aged between 3 to 6 years old.
The researchers pre-tested thechildren for how aggressive they were by observing the children in the nurseryand judged their aggressive behaviour on four 5-point rating scales. It wasthen possible to match the children in each group so that each group would bemade 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 teamand then done again from scratch by an independent observer using the same 5-pointrating scales Bandura used, furthermore the independent observer was unaware ofthe groups bandura and his team had made to stop the researcher from labelling thechildren as aggressive and from being influenced by banduras results. Thegroups created by the independent observer and the groups created by Bandura andhis team were compared, the results showed the groups created by both Banduraand the independent observer were similar in their choosing there was a similarityand reliability of 89% which suggested that both Bandura and the observers hada good agreement about the behaviour of the children. Alab experiment occurred where in which the research’s observed the behaviour ofeach group and compared the results, the independent variable was the decidedas the “type of model” which the children would be exposed to, this was manipulatedin three conditions: an aggressive model was shown to 24 children (group 1), a Non-aggressivemodel 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 anddivided.
During the experiment the children were individually showninto a room containing toys which they played with for 10 minutes while either: · 24 children (12 boys and 12 girls) watched amale or female model behaving aggressively towards a toy called a ‘Bobo doll’. Inthe film the adults were shown attacking the Bobo doll in an aggressive and particularmanner, this consisted of them using a toy hammer to hi the doll and throw thedoll in the air shouting “Pow, Boom.” · Another 24 children (12 boys and 12 girls) wereexposed to a non-aggressive model, this film showed the adults playing in aquiet and subdued manner for 10 minutes, acting calmly and playing with a toy setand 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.