The Mass Media

1. What is the definition of and what are the forms of the mass media?

2. What three key questions about the mass media do sociologists focus on?

3. According to the functionalist perspective, what four positive functions do the media serve? Be able to recognize examples of each of these functions. Also see p. 143 under Table 6-2 “Sociological Perspectives on the Mass Media.”

4. What dysfunction(s) can be caused by the media (according to the functionalist perspective, not the conflict perspective)? Look for these dysfunctions in pp.133-134.

5. What is the basic conflict perspective on the media? Also see p. 143 under Table 6-2.

6. What are the two problems with gatekeeping, according to the conflict perspective?

7. In what form of the media is gatekeeping less prevalent, and why?

8. Know the two meanings of media monitoring and be able to recognize examples.

9. What’s the problem with media monitoring from the conflict perspective?

10. What is the digital divide that is of concern to conflict theorists?

11. What does dominant ideology refer to – and specifically whose ideology controls media “decisions” and perpetuates stereotypes, often offending U.S. minority groups and citizens of other countries?

12. In terms of U.S. domination, what is the trend in motion pictures as compared to television programming?

13. What are three primary criticisms of the media from a feminist viewpoint?

14. What stereotypes of women have educators and social scientists taken note of?

15. What dilemma faces feminists with regard to pornography?

16. In what two ways do men and women make different use of the Internet?

17. What functions of the media are pointed out by interactionists?

18. What concerns about the media do interactionists have?

19. How have the mass media been distinguished from other social institutions?

20. What populations make the most use of the Internet?

21. Why have some scholars questioned the “mass” part of the term mass media?

22. How does the gatekeeping process in the U.S. differ from the gatekeeping process in totalitarian countries?

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