Media and Social Inequality Essay

903 Words Sep 27th, 2013 4 Pages
Media and Social Inequality

The Media promotes and reproduces societal values and norms, establishing common meanings and understandings among groups and individuals. These common meanings are portrayed in the media and put forward by the dominant culture; and for this reason the patterns of inequality that benefit the dominant culture are produced and reproduced. The media today are not only entertaining the people but also favor the spreading of certain information. The different media thus convey the messages of the dominant culture and provide subcultures with justifications for these relations of ruling. These patterns of inequality can be interpreted through four major sociological angles: structural functionalism, conflict
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Furthermore, media are functional because “they contribute to the socialization process and help to ensure that the culture of a society or group will continue across time” (Curtis 305). This theory puts weight in media’s contribution to stability and social order as well as cohesion between different groups of society. Structural Functionalism, although admits to the contribution of media to creating acceptance and legitimization of the current status quo, it deems it as a positive factor and not as promoting a social problem.

In contrast with the Structural Functionalism approach of media’s role in society’s structure, is the perspective of Conflict Theory in the sense that it emphasizes the need for contesting social norms rather than maintaining the social order. “Conflict theory is rooted in the work of Karl Marx. (…) Marx theorized that social change occurs through conflict in society” (Curtis 305). Marx focuses on the inequality that is inherent in capitalism being interpreted as the relations of production based on unequal private ownership of the means of production. These same unequal relations have been seen to reinforce class separations by reproducing and normalizing them, through TV shows, magazine and other media. However, Conflict Theory pays more attention to the inequality portrayed in terms of social classes, while media promotes not only these disparities, but also others in terms

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