One of the most controversial areas of research in contemporary media studies is the analysis of media effects on individuals, institutions, and societies at large. Since the 1920s, scholars have described the extent of media effects in relation to political, ethical, and cultural questions, thus proposing a wide range of alternative views ranging from soft to more powerful effects that mass media supposedly have on individual and collective behaviours. Since then, interest has shifted from an analysis of the consequences of media exposure to an observation of the relationship among media, audience reception, and everyday culture. This shift can be described as a paradigm change, where the emphasis is not on what media do to individuals but what individuals do with media.

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