• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

“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.


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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