Media Anthropology represents a convergence of issues and interests on anthropological approaches to the study of media. The purpose of this reader is to promote the identity of the field of study; identify its major concepts, methods, and bibliography; comment on the state of the art; and provide examples of current research. Based on original articles by leading scholars from several countries and academic disciplines, Media Anthropology provides essays introducing the issues, reviewing the field, forging new conceptual syntheses.

News Stories and Myth—The Impossible Reunion?

News stories and myth—The impossible reunion?

The various studies focusing on the interface between media and myths lead to a natural question: Are all mass media products “symbolic instances” and therefore creations with mythic status? If not, what types of media, at what moments, for what reasons, by what means, and with what consequences become generators or bearers of mythic phenomena?

The opinions of researchers who have tackled the issue illustrate two significant approaches. One group (Barthes, 1957; Goethals, 1993; Koch, 1990; Lule, 2001; Martin-Barbero, 1997; Real, 1996; and others) proposes that mass media—as a system—have taken over the functions of the institutions that produced and circulated myths and mythologies in ancient societies. Outlining this position, Gripsrud (2000) states:

The media are ...

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