Monday, August 19, 2013

What is this course -- Mass Media & Society -- about?

This course examines the relationship between mass media and society. According to most sources, its been a pretty rocky relationship. Society has blamed mass media for ruining politics, dumbing down several generations, massive social upheaval, and even the Columbine shootings. Probably some parts of these accusations are fair. On the other hand, mass media has been critiquing, engaging, unifying, shocking and condemning society – for the general welfare -- for quite a while, too.

The purpose of this course is to provide students with a broad survey of the relationship between the mass media industries and society. We will explore the general trends in the history of media industry development, analyze several media texts, and the chart the politics of production and distribution of media. Hopefully our study will lay a groundwork for a more complicated and specific understanding of the ways mass media and society relate to one another. I want every student to come out of this course with a clearer sense of how you can engage mass media and society (and their relationship to each other) as thoughtful, ethical consumers and producers of media.

The course here at Malone College is similiar to many Mass Media & Society courses taught in other colleges and universities around the nation. There are differences, too, though. Like many media courses, a concept we stress in this course is "media literacy." Like some colleges, Malone's version of this course pays special attention to the ways that the Christian tradition influences our thoughts and practices related to Mass Media & Society. Like some courses around the nation, my particular interests, predispose me to teach this class from a cultural - studies perspective, though I'll try to let you know how some other thinkers (particularly those in the social sciences) might diverge from my approach.