Sociology of Mass Communication



Sociology is the scientific study of human social behavior.

As the study of humans in their collective aspect, sociology is concerned with all group activities: economic, social, political, and religious. Sociologists study such areas as bureaucracy, community, deviant behavior, family, public opinion, social change, social mobility, social stratification, and such specific problems as crime, divorce, child abuse, and substance addiction. Sociology tries to determine the laws governing human behavior in social contexts.

Mass communication refers to the process of transferring or transmitting a message to a large group of people. Typically, this requires the use of some form of the media, including newspapers, television, and the Internet. The study of mass communications is a broad, multidisciplinary field to which sociology has made major contributions.

Mass media is communication—whether written, broadcast, or spoken—that reaches a large audience. This includes television, radio, advertising, movies, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, and so forth.Mass media dominate the mental life of modern societies, and therefore are of intense interest to sociologists. Mass media is a significant force in modern culture and sociologists refer to this as a mediated culture where media reflects and creates the culture. As defined by an American sociologist C. Wright Mills in 1956, the mass media have two important sociological characteristics: first, very few people can communicate to a great number; and, second, the audience has no effective way of answering back.

Mass communication is a one-way process while sociological research reveals that mass communications are intermediated in complex ways, and that their effects on the audience depend on factors such as class, social context, values, beliefs, emotional state, and even the time of day. Public relations is a field concerned with maintaining a public image for businesses, non-profit organizations or celebrities and politicians. Public relations practitioners deliver information through the media to target audiences. PR technologies are bound up with sociological processes taken place in the society. To be effective PR specialists should use verbal and nonverbal methods to prepare public for the understanding of offered information. There are various tools that can be used in the practice of public relations. Traditional tools include press releases and media kits. 

With the creation of social networks, blogs, and even Internet radio public relations professionals are able to send direct messages through these mediums that attract the target audiences. Methods used to find out what is appealing to target audiences include the use of surveys, conducting research or even focus groups. PR specialists should know the basic theoretical frameworks to assess accurately the principal trends of the society`s development and interaction among people.

 

Questions:

1. What is Sociology?

2. What areas do sociologists study?

3. What does mass communication refers to?

4. What is mass media?

5. Why is mass media of intense interest to sociologists?

6. What are the two important sociological characteristics according to an American sociologist C. Wright Mills?

7. What is Public relation?

8. How do public relations practitioners deliver information?

9. Why should a PR specialist know the basic theoretical frameworks of sociology?

10. What are the tools that can be used in the practice of public relations?

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Market Economy    

A market economy is an economy in which prices of things are freely set based on the laws of supply and demand. It is also free from the influence of custom or tradition. In the real world, however, there is no such thing as a truly free market economy since the governments set limits in order to control the economy. The main characteristics of a market economy are its flexibility and decentralized nature.

A market or capitalist system contains six essential features. Main features of the market economy are: private property, freedom of choice and enterprise, self-interest as the dominating motive, competition, reliance on the price system, a very limited role for government.

Private property is a main feature of the market economy. The owners of the property have the right to own, control and dispose of buildings, machinery, and other natural and man-made resources. Private property provides the right to income from the property in the form of rent, interest and profit.

Freedom of enterprise is freedom to buy and hire economic resources, to organize them, and to sell their products in the markets. Freedom of choice is freedom of workers to enter and leave any occupations. Consumers are free to spend their incomes. Producers choose what to produce.

The motive for economic activity is self-interest. Each unit in the economy tries to do what is best: firms try to get maximum profits (or minimum losses). Owners try to obtain the highest possible rewards. Workers work there where they can have highest wages. Consumers spend their incomes on those things which yield the maximum satisfaction.

Competition is another feature of the market economy and the regulatory mechanism of capitalism. It limits the use of economic power in order to prevent to control a market and exploit the other buyers or sellers.

Price mechanism is the next feature of the market economy. The decisions of producers determine the supply of a commodity; the decisions of buyers determine the price. A change in demand and supply causes changes in market prices. The state plays little or no part in economic activity. The political authority is controlling prices or levying taxation. 

While most developed nations today could be classified as having mixed economies, they are often said to have market economies because they allow market forces to drive most of their activities

 

Questions:

1. What is property?

2. What kinds of property do you know?

3. Do you have private property?

4. Are all units free within the market economy?

5. What does freedom of enterprise mean?

6. What does freedom of choice mean?

7. What do you think self-interest means?

8. Is competition positive or negative feature of the market economy?

9. What causes a change of the market price?

10. There are six main features of the market economy. Can you name them?

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