This article provides information about the impact of mass media on the socio-cultural life of people:
The impact of mass media on the socio-cultural life of people: Television and other medium of mass communication is an integration of technology, culture, commerce and politics.
As a cultural product using audio-visual codes it projects the cultural values of their producers and the social realty in which they are produced. It is argued viewing television is not merely an act of consumption but is “rather complex process of decoding cultural meanings”.
This increased internationalisation of media has had an impact on the economic, socio-cultural and political spheres of society, which created “imagined societies”. By the 1990s several scholars of globalisation had begun to address consumption and the formation of transnational consumption communities, as key issues and foci for media study.
Post-1990s witnessed onslaught of Transnational television also referred to as “international satellite broadcasting”, “television without border”, “cross border television”, “trans-border television”, “global television” or “satellite television”.
That lead to unique process of communication where though most audiences were located within confines of one country the media became transnational creating transnational audiences. Varied concepts like cultural dependency, cultural imperialism; media imperialism communication imperialism, electronic colonialism etc. came into being. All these concepts dealt mainly with the flow of transnational television programmes from West to the other parts of the world.
McLuhan visualisation of “global village” also was inspired by the penetration of alien culture into local/ regional culture mediated by this process of internationalisation of mass media. His vision of a global village was the first substantial attempt to analyse the profound impact of internationalisation of cultural techniques on various dispersed societies, which are exposed to the same signals and messages.
His view inspired the vision of an unknown transformation of cultures and societies into a “global village,” a new cultural space of ‘sameness’ and ‘uniformity’. In recent decades, technological developments have triggered a new complexity and diversity of globalisation, not only of a ‘global culture’, which is still today the central topic of the sociological globalisation debate, but also of political communication.
Notions of a global ‘public’ sphere – a new dimension of the globalisation process have gained a new awareness since September, 11, 2002. In the public spheres there also arose private and individual spheres. The Internet, following Manuel Castells’ argument, has increased the dynamics and complexity of the political globalisation process and has created a new global “network society” or what he calls “Networked Individualism”.
To him although media have become indeed globally interconnected, and programmes and messages circulate in the global network, we are not living in a global village, but in customised cottages globally produced and locally distributed. Appadurai also argued that the central problem of globalisation is the “dialectic tension” between cultural homogeneity and heterogeneity a dilemma perpetuated mainly by media. And today’s ‘dialectic tension’ invariably affects life-worlds.
There is also a growing belief that the spread of culture through mass media is unbalanced and thus has led to the term cultural imperialism being applied in society. Tomlinson defines cultural imperialism as the use of political and economic power to exalt and spread the values and habits of a foreign culture at the expense of a native culture.
Cultural imperialism theory suggests that one culture (usually the developed countries) exports cultural products (electronic/mass media productions) to another society (usually developing countries) with the goal of (a) eliminating native cultural representations and (b) replacing them with “alien” representations which in turn are supposed to (c) transform the culture so that it loses its autonomy and becomes ‘assimilated’ into the global capitalist world-system. In many ways, it arises out of the critique of media and ideology from people like Herbert Marcuse.
For Marcuse and others, the media are used as an instrument to promote the ideology of the ruling classes, and to perpetuate the “false consciousness” of the masses. While they argue electronic media are a threat to indigenous peoples by way of making them to give up their traditional customs, rituals, and practices in favour of the new technology, undermining the strong “oral” character of indigenous societies. Some scholars argue that television, radio, and other electronic media are allowing indigenous people to reassert themselves on the global stage and have their voices heard.