A Dialogue: Media Bias

What is the media: The main means of mass communication (broadcasting, publishing, and the Internet) regarded collectively.

What is the purpose of the media: To serve as the fifth estate holding our politicians’ and other elites’ feet to the fire in the interest of plebeian citizens by fact checking and reporting the truth when communicating stories and analysis.

What is the media used for: Our mainstream network and cable news outlets, along with countless websites, serve the interests of the 1% by shining the “truth” through a curved capitalist lens.

But how?: Through the overtones and undertones expressed in every word and image.

So the media “message” is politically bent?: Of course. It serves the interest of the rich and powerful who own mass media.

How does it do this? It all looks on the up-an-up to me: Consider Gramsci’s cultural hegemony concept, in it’s best description:

“the ‘spontaneous’ consent given by the great masses of the population to the general direction imposed on social life by the dominant fundamental group; this consent is ‘historically’ caused by the prestige (and consequent confidence) which the dominant group enjoys because of its position and function in the world of production.”

Can we escape this media influence?: Of course not. We politically and culturally swim in it’s soup.

How can we change this?: If we recognize that there is a opaque pane in front of the truth.

Well, how do we get everyone else to see the truth: Organize, Comrade. Organize…

New Work: A Social Movement Theory Primer

Demonstration against G8 Summit in Le HavreToday I am providing the inaugural paper for our “New Work” section here at Sparking The Left: a brief primer on social movement theory from a sociological perspective.

Social movement theory is an important topic, and all those engaged in activism stand to learn a great deal from it. There is a vibrant academic community rigorously analyzing social movements and much is still to be learned. Yet, this is only a primer that will get you thinking about social movements and the dynamics present within and inside of the milieu around them.

It is an academic paper with cited sources from peer-reviewed journals, but do not be intimidated. I made it as accessible as possible.

You will be able to find the piece in its entirety beneath the “New Work” tab at the top of the STL homepage, but you can find the introduction below:

Below you will find a brief introduction to social movement (SM) theory and its main tenets from a sociological perspective. I include the three dynamics that serve as the foundation in the studies of SMs today: resource mobilization theory, political process theory, and framing processes. Hopefully this paper will inspire you to do some of your own research if you plan on engaging in contentious politics. I believe that all actors practicing collective action would be much aided with such a line of research.

All of the referenced material here can either be found in a downloadable .pdf format at Google Scholar or cited for reading at your local university’s library.

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