Functional Theory

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  • A theory that suggests that the mass media are part of a complex social system and each medium serves a necessary function within that system. A functional analysis examines each component or sub system of the system to determine whether it contributes to the stability of the system. If it has a negative influence on the system, it is said to be dysfunctional. In performing a functional analysis on the mass media, there are four approaches. The first is to analyze the functions of the mass media as a system. The second is to analyze each type of mass media—that is, newspapers, movies, and television—as a system. The third approach looks at each organization as a system—that is, a large urban newspaper, a movie studio, ...

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