But those who bring technology to less developed nations — whether they are nongovernment organizations, businesses, or governments — usually have an agenda. A functionalist, in contrast, might focus on how technology creates new ways to share information about successful crop-growing programs, or on the economic benefits of opening a new market for cell phone use. Interpretive sociologists might emphasize the way in which the global exchange of views creates the possibility of mutual understanding and consensus. In each case, there are cultural and societal assumptions and norms being delivered along with those high-speed connections.
Cultural and ideological biases are not the only risks of media globalization. In addition to the risk of cultural imperialism and the loss of local culture, other problems come with the benefits of a more interconnected globe. One risk is the potential censoring by national governments that let in only the information and media they feel serves their message, as can be seen in China. In addition, core nations such as Canada have seen the use of international media such as the internet circumvent local laws against socially deviant and dangerous behaviours such as gambling, child pornography, and the sex trade.
Offshore or international websites allow citizens to seek out whatever illegal or illicit information they want, from hour online gambling sites that do not require proof of age, to sites that sell child pornography. These examples illustrate the societal risks of unfettered information flow. Today, the internet is used to access illegal gambling and pornography sites, as well as to research stocks, crowd-source what car to buy, or keep in touch with childhood friends. Can we allow one or more of those activities, while restricting the rest?
And who decides what needs restricting? In a country with democratic principles and an underlying belief in free-market capitalism, the answer is decided in the court system. China is in many ways the global poster child for the uncomfortable relationship between internet freedom and government control. Microblogging, or weibo , acts like Twitter in that users can post short messages that can be read by their subscribers. And because these services move so quickly and with such wide scope, it is difficult for government overseers to keep up.
This tool was used to criticize government response to a deadly rail crash and to protest a chemical plant. But the government cannot shut down this flow of information completely. Foreign companies, seeking to engage with the increasingly important Chinese consumer market, have their own accounts: the NBA has more than 5 million followers, and probably the most famous foreigner in China, Canadian comedian and Order of Canada recipient Mark Rowswell boasts almost 3 million Weibo followers The government, too, uses Weibo to get its own message across.
Technological globalization is impacted in large part by technological diffusion , the spread of technology across borders. In the last two decades, there has been rapid improvement in the spread of technology to peripheral and semi-peripheral nations, and a World Bank report discusses both the benefits and ongoing challenges of this diffusion. In general, the report found that technological progress and economic growth rates were linked, and that the rise in technological progress has helped improve the situations of many living in absolute poverty World Bank, The report recognizes that rural and low-tech products such as corn can benefit from new technological innovations, and that, conversely, technologies like mobile banking can aid those whose rural existence consists of low-tech market vending.
In addition, technological advances in areas like mobile phones can lead to competition, lowered prices, and concurrent improvements in related areas such as mobile banking and information sharing. However, the same patterns of social inequality that create a digital divide in the West also create digital divides in peripheral and semi-peripheral nations.
While the growth of technology use among countries has increased dramatically over the past several decades, the spread of technology within countries is significantly slower among peripheral and semi-peripheral nations. In these countries, far fewer people have the training and skills to take advantage of new technology, let alone access it. Technological access tends to be clustered around urban areas, leaving out vast swaths of peripheral-nation citizens.
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While the diffusion of information technologies has the potential to resolve many global social problems, it is often the population most in need that is most affected by the digital divide. Bad roads, limited electricity, minimal schools — the list goes on. Access to telephones has long been on that list. With access to mobile phone technology, a host of benefits are available that have the potential to change the dynamics in these poorest nations.
Sometimes that change is as simple as being able to make a phone call to neighbouring market towns. By finding out which markets have vendors interested in their goods, fishers and farmers can ensure they travel to the market that will serve them best, avoiding a wasted trip. Others can use mobile phones and some of the emerging money-sending systems to securely send money from one place to a family member or business partner elsewhere Katine, Not all access is corporate-based, however. Other programs are funded by business organizations that seek to help peripheral nations with tools for innovation and entrepreneurship.
But this wave of innovation and potential business comes with costs. Whether well intentioned or not, the vision of a continent of Africans successfully chatting on their iPhone may not be ideal. As with all aspects of global inequity, technology in Africa requires more than just foreign investment.
There must be a concerted effort to ensure the benefits of technology get to where they are needed most. It is difficult to conceive of any one theory or theoretical perspective that can explain the variety of ways that people interact with technology and the media. Technology runs the gamut from the match you strike to light a candle all the way up to sophisticated nuclear power plants that might power the factory where that candle was made. Media could refer to the television you watch, the ads wrapping the bus you take to work or school, or the magazines you flip through in a waiting room, not to mention all the forms of new media, including Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube, and the like.
Are media and technology critical to the forward march of humanity? Are they pernicious capitalist tools that lead to the exploitation of workers worldwide? Each perspective generates understandings of technology and media that help us examine the way our lives are affected. Because functionalism focuses on how media and technology contribute to the smooth functioning of society, a good place to begin understanding this perspective is to write a list of functions you perceive media and technology to perform.
As you might guess, with nearly every U. Television advertising is a highly functional way to meet a market demographic where it lives. Sponsors can use the sophisticated data gathered by network and cable television companies regarding their viewers and target their advertising accordingly. Commercial advertising precedes movies in theatres and shows up on and inside of public transportation, as well as on the sides of buildings and roadways.
Major corporations such as Coca-Cola bring their advertising into public schools, sponsoring sports fields or tournaments, as well as filling the halls and cafeterias of those schools with vending machines hawking their goods. With the rising concerns about childhood obesity and attendant diseases, the era of pop machines in schools may be numbered. But not to worry. An obvious manifest function of media is its entertainment value.
Most people, when asked why they watch television or go to the movies, would answer that they enjoy it. Clearly, enjoyment is paramount. On the technology side, as well, there is a clear entertainment factor to the use of new innovations. From online gaming to chatting with friends on Facebook, technology offers new and more exciting ways for people to entertain themselves. Even while the media is selling us goods and entertaining us, it also serves to socialize us, helping us pass along norms, values, and beliefs to the next generation.
In fact, we are socialized and resocialized by media throughout our life course. All forms of media teach us what is good and desirable, how we should speak, how we should behave, and how we should react to events.
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Media also provide us with cultural touchstones during events of national significance. How many of your older relatives can recall watching the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger on television? How many of those reading this textbook followed the events of September 11 or Hurricane Katrina on the television or internet? But debate exists over the extent and impact of media socialization. Krahe and colleagues demonstrated that violent media content has a desensitizing affect and is correlated with aggressive thoughts.
Another group of scholars Gentile, Mathieson, and Crick, found that among children, exposure to media violence led to an increase in both physical and relational aggression. Yet, a meta-analysis study covering four decades of research Savage, could not establish a definitive link between viewing violence and committing criminal violence. It is clear from watching people emulate the styles of dress and talk that appear in media that media has a socializing influence. What is not clear, despite nearly 50 years of empirical research, is how much socializing influence the media has when compared to other agents of socialization, which include any social institution that passes along norms, values, and beliefs such as peers, family, religious institutions, and the like.
Like media, many forms of technology do indeed entertain us, provide a venue for commercialization, and socialize us. For example, some studies suggest the rising obesity rate is correlated with the decrease in physical activity caused by an increase in use of some forms of technology, a latent function of the prevalence of media in society Kautiainen et al. Without a doubt, a manifest function of technology is to change our lives, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Think of how the digital age has improved the ways we communicate.
Have you ever used Skype or another webcast to talk to a friend or family member far away? Or maybe you have organized a fund drive, raising thousands of dollars, all from your desk chair. Of course, the downside to this ongoing information flow is the near impossibility of disconnecting from technology, leading to an expectation of constant convenient access to information and people.
Such a fast-paced dynamic is not always to our benefit. Some sociologists assert that this level of media exposure leads to narcotizing dysfunction , a term that describes when people are too overwhelmed with media input to really care about the issue, so their involvement becomes defined by awareness instead of by action about the issue at hand Lazerfeld and Merton, In contrast to theories in the functional perspective, the critical perspective focuses on the creation and reproduction of inequality — social processes that tend to disrupt society rather than contribute to its smooth operation.
When taking a critical perspective, one major focus is the differential access to media and technology embodied in the digital divide. Critical sociologists also look at who controls the media, and how media promotes the norms of upper-middle-class white demographics while minimizing the presence of the working class, especially people of colour. Powerful individuals and social institutions have a great deal of influence over which forms of technology are released, when and where they are released, and what kind of media is available for our consumption, a form of gatekeeping.
Shoemaker and Voss define gatekeeping as the sorting process by which thousands of possible messages are shaped into a mass media—appropriate form and reduced to a manageable amount. In other words, the people in charge of the media decide what the public is exposed to, which, as C. With a hegemonic media, culturally diverse society can be dominated by one race, gender, or class through the manipulation of the media imposing its worldview as a societal norm.
New media renders the gatekeeper role less of a factor in information distribution. Popular sites such as YouTube and Facebook engage in a form of democratized self-policing. Users are encouraged to report inappropriate behaviour that moderators will then address. In addition, some conflict theorists suggest that the way North American media is generated results in an unbalanced political arena.
Those with the most money can buy the most media exposure, run smear campaigns against their competitors, and maximize their visual presence. The Conservative Party began running attack ads on Justin Trudeau moments after his acceptance speech on winning the leadership of the Liberal Party in It is difficult to avoid the Enbridge and Cenovus advertisements that promote their controversial Northern Gateway pipeline and tar sands projects.
What do you think a critical perspective theorist would suggest about the potential for the non-rich to be heard in politics? Social scientists take the idea of the surveillance society so seriously that there is an entire journal devoted to its study, Surveillance and Society.
The panoptic surveillance envisioned by Jeremy Bentham and later analyzed by Michel Foucault is increasingly realized in the form of technology used to monitor our every move. This surveillance was imagined as a form of complete visibility and constant monitoring in which the observation posts are centralized and the observed are never communicated with directly.
Today, digital security cameras capture our movements, observers can track us through our cell phones, and police forces around the world use facial-recognition software. Take a look at popular television shows, advertising campaigns, and online game sites. In most, women are portrayed in a particular set of parameters and tend to have a uniform look that society recognizes as attractive. Most are thin, white or light-skinned, beautiful, and young. Why does this matter? Feminist perspective theorists believe it is crucial in creating and reinforcing stereotypes. For example, Fox and Bailenson found that online female avatars the characters you play in online games like World of Warcraft or Second Life conforming to gender stereotypes enhances negative attitudes toward women, and Brasted found that media advertising in particular promotes gender stereotypes.
The gender gap in tech-related fields science, technology, engineering, and math is no secret. A U. Department of Commerce report suggested that gender stereotyping is one reason for this gap, acknowledging the bias toward men as keepers of technological knowledge U. Department of Commerce, But gender stereotypes go far beyond the use of technology. Press coverage in the media reinforces stereotypes that subordinate women, giving airtime to looks over skills, and disparaging women who defy accepted norms.
Recent research in new media has offered a mixed picture of its potential to equalize the status of men and women in the arenas of technology and public discourse. A European agency, the Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women , issued an opinion report suggesting that while there is the potential for new media forms to perpetuate gender stereotypes and the gender gap in technology and media access, at the same time new media could offer alternative forums for feminist groups and the exchange of feminist ideas. Still, the committee warned against the relatively unregulated environment of new media and the potential for antifeminist activities, from pornography to human trafficking, to flourish there.
Increasingly prominent in the discussion of new media and feminism is cyberfeminism , the application to, and promotion of, feminism online. Research on cyberfeminism runs the gamut from the liberating use of blogs by women living in Iraq during the second Gulf War Pierce, to the analysis of postmodern discourse on the relationship between the body and technology Kerr, Technology itself may act as a symbol for many. The kind of computer you own, the kind of car you drive, whether or not you can afford the latest Apple product — these serve as a social indicator of wealth and status.
Neo-Luddites are people who see technology as symbolizing the coldness and alienation of modern life. But for technophiles , technology symbolizes the potential for a brighter future. For those adopting an ideological middle ground, technology might symbolize status in the form of a massive flat-screen television or failure in owning a basic old mobile phone with no bells or whistles.
Meanwhile, media create and spread symbols that become the basis for our shared understanding of society. Theorists working in the interactionist perspective focus on this social construction of reality, an ongoing process in which people subjectively create and understand reality. Media constructs our reality in a number of ways. For some, the people they watch on a screen can become a primary group, meaning the small informal groups of people who are closest to them. For many others, media becomes a reference group: a group that influences an individual and to which an individual compares himself or herself, and by which we judge our successes and failures.
We might do very well without an Android smartphone, until we see characters using it on our favourite television show or our classmates whipping one out between classes. While media may indeed be the medium to spread the message of the rich white males, Gamson, Croteau, Hoynes, and Sasson point out that some forms of media discourse allow the appearance of competing constructions of reality.
For example, advertisers find new and creative ways to sell us products we do not need and probably would not want without their prompting, but some networking sites such as Freecycle offer a commercial-free way of requesting and trading items that would otherwise be discarded. While Twitter and Facebook encourage us to check in and provide details of our day through online social networks, corporations can just as easily promote their products on these sites.
Even supposedly crowd-sourced sites like Yelp which aggregates local reviews are not immune to corporate shenanigans. That is, we think we are reading objective observations when in reality we may be buying into one more form of advertising. Facebook, which started as a free social network for college students, is increasingly a monetized business, selling you goods and services in subtle ways. But chances are you do not think of Facebook as one big online advertisement.
What started out as a symbol of coolness and insider status, unavailable and inaccessible to parents and corporate shills, now promotes consumerism in the form of games and fandom. For example, think of all the money spent to upgrade popular Facebook games like Farmville. But if it means a weekly coupon, they will, in essence, rent out space on their Facebook page for Pampers to appear. Thus, we develop both new ways to spend money and brand loyalties that will last even after Facebook is considered outdated and obsolete. What cannot be forgotten with new technology is the dynamic tension between the liberating effects of these technologies in democratizing information access and flow, and the newly emerging corporate ownership and revenue models that necessitate control of the same technologies.
Technology Today Technology is the application of science to address the problems of daily life. The fast pace of technological advancement means the advancements are continuous, but that not everyone has equal access. The gap created by this unequal access has been termed the digital divide. Media and Technology in Society Media and technology have been interwoven from the earliest days of human communication. The printing press, the telegraph, and the internet are all examples of their intersection.
Mass media has allowed for more shared social experiences, but new media now creates a seemingly endless amount of airtime for any and every voice that wants to be heard. Advertising has also changed with technology. New media allows consumers to bypass traditional advertising venues, causing companies to be more innovative and intrusive as they try to gain our attention. Global Implications Technology drives globalization, but what that means can be hard to decipher.
While some economists see technological advances leading to a more level playing field where anyone anywhere can be a global contender, the reality is that opportunity still clusters in geographically advantaged areas. Still, technological diffusion has led to the spread of more and more technology across borders into peripheral and semi-peripheral nations. However, true technological global equality is a long way off. Theoretical Perspectives on Media and Technology There are myriad theories about how society, technology, and media will progress. Functionalism sees the contribution that technology and media provide to the stability of society, from facilitating leisure time to increasing productivity.
Conflict theorists are more concerned with how technology reinforces inequalities among communities, both within and among countries. They also look at how media typically give voice to the most powerful, and how new media might offer tools to help those who are disenfranchised. Symbolic interactionists see the symbolic uses of technology as signs of everything from a sterile futuristic world to a successful professional life. Jerome is able to use the internet to select reliable sources for his research paper, but Charlie just copies large pieces of web pages and pastes them into his paper.
Media and Technology in Society 5. When it comes to technology, media, and society, which of the following is true? If the U. Which of the following is the primary component of the evolutionary model of technological change? Global Implications In the mids, the U. The movie Babel featured an international cast and was filmed on location in various nations. When it screened in theatres worldwide, it introduced a number of ideas and philosophies about cross-cultural connections.
Theoretical Perspectives on Media and Technology Introduction to Media and Technology Vlessing, Etan. Technology Today Guillen, M. Explaining the global digital divide: Economic, political and sociological drivers of cross-national internet use. Social Forces, — Kedrosky, Paul. Cars vs cell phone embodied energy. Liff, Sonia, and Adrian Shepard. An evolving gender digital divide? Looker, Dianne and Thiessen, Victor. The digital divide in Canadian schools: factors affecting student access to and use of information technology.
OECD: Paris. Pew Research Center. Demographics of internet users. Pew Internet and American Life Project. The Economist. Planned Obsolescence. The Economist Newspaper Limited. Sciadas, George. Monitoring the digital divide … and beyond. Canada: Overview of E-waste related information. Washington, Jesse. Media and Technology in Society Anderson, C. Effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and prosocial behavior: A meta-analytic review of the scientific literature.
Psychological Science, — Anderson, Craig. Violent video games: Myths, facts and unanswered questions. American Psychological Association.
Anderson, Philip and Michael Tushman. Technological discontinuities and dominant designs: A cyclical model of technological change. Administrative Science Quarterly, — Cisco Connected world technology report PDF. Claburn, Thomas. Google has plans for Titan drones. Information Week. Google invester relations: Financial tables Perel is a practising couples and family therapist who lives in New York.
Aside from her clinical work — she counsels around 12 couples or individuals each week — she has two best-selling books: one about maintaining desire in long-term relationships Mating in Captivity , the other about infidelity The State of Affairs. She has released two fascinating podcast series, called Where Should We Begin? On top of all this, she hosts workshops and lectures as well as the inevitable TED talks , one of which has been watched more than 5m times.
I went to one of her London appearances earlier this year. She says, rightly, that we expect much more from our marriages and long-term relationships than we used to. For centuries, marriage was framed within duty, rather than love. But now, love is the bedrock. Some of us will have them with the same person. This is because her thinking went against long-established relationship wisdom, namely that if you fix the relationship through talking therapy, then the sex will fix itself.
Perel does not agree. But if you fix the sex, the relationship transforms. We meet in a boutique hotel in Amsterdam, where Perel orders her food in fluent Dutch. A relationship therapist who you might fancy, shocker! We begin talking about her podcast series. Series three, released next month, is slightly different to the last two. This time round Perel very deliberately chooses couples at different stages, because she wants to show an arc of a relationship, all the way to its end.
That context often gives a script about how one should think about suicide, about gender, about divorce and so forth. Another is a mother and her child, who does not identify as either gender. Another couple, with a young child, have divorced, but seem to get along much better now: why? Perel finds her podcast therapees via her Facebook page: they apply in their thousands.
Her podcast producers sift through, using guidelines that Perel suggests them: this time round she knew she wanted to cover infertility and also suicide. You will be giving so much to others, as well.
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She loves the format. You hear them but you see you. It reflects you in the mirror. But when you write a book, that is the first part of exposure. Then comes TED and the podcast. Perel is 60 now; I wondered how she found being a relationship therapist when she was younger, in her 20s. If you prefer not to be contacted at all, you may opt out of receiving any communications from us at any time by notifying us at emailoptout bonniercorp.
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