“Arthur Asa Berger provides a succinct, accurate, and enjoyable introduction to the mass communications field. Although the book covers the same topics as other introductory works… his writing and organization make the material seem like a light repast rather than an overbearing meal…. Essential for all undergraduate collections in mass communication theory and mass media studies.”
Arthur Asa Berger combines his broad knowledge of the field with his unique ability to translate difficult theories into comprehensible terms and accessible language. He uses illustrations related to popular genres to make these theories relevant to students” lives. The concluding chapter provides questions for further work and discussion and is designed to help the student further contemplate the implications and applications of mass communication theory. An up-to-date bibliography and glossary provide a comprehensive resource on mass communication theory.
Chapter 4: The Audience
There are, as we have seen, a number of conflicting theories about the effects of media, but media need audiences to have effects. Is there a “mass” audience of alienated and separated individuals who are susceptible to indoctrination and brainwashing, or do members of an audience have the power to subvert messages brought to them by the mass media and use them for their own purposes? In this chapter I begin with a discussion of cultures and subcultures in the United States. I then consider Erik Erikson's ideas about life cycles and the crises individuals face at each stage in their development. I use Erikson's theory to offer some personal hypotheses about music and television addiction. This leads to a discussion of ...