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This chapter on society and the media deals with a number of topics of a sociological nature—in the broadest sense of the term. The discussion addresses systems of mass communication, some of the functions of mass communication (such as surveillance, integration, entertainment, the ensuring of cultural continuity, and mobilization), and a number of the common criticisms of mass media and mass communication (i.e., that the media lead to fragmentation, escapism, addiction, cultural homogenization, privatization, and stereotyped thinking, among other things)—some people blame everything that goes wrong on television, the medium “we love to hate.” On the other hand, some theorists argue that people use the media in an emancipatory manner, to resist domination, surveillance, and so on. Some Russian jokes serve as examples of ...

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