Understanding Contemporary Society: Theories of the Present is a comprehensive textbook to guide students through the complexities of social theory today. Over 30 chapters, written by an international team of contributors, demonstrate clearly the practical applications of social theory in making sense of the modern world. Students are both introduced to the most significant theories and guided through the major social developments which shape our lives. Key features of the book are: clearly structured and readable prose; bullet pointed summaries and annotated further reading for each topic; makes complex issues accessible to undergraduates; focuses on relevance and practicality; chapter lay-out which is ideal for t
Mass media occupy today such a central place both in people's everyday lives and in society's political and economic life that they cannot be ignored in any effort to understand the present. The point is not whether they should be included in a repertoire of vital themes which determine the theory of society in the contemporary Western world. The key point is, rather, how they relate to other social factors – are they just technical carriers of political, cultural and economic forces (literally media), or do they possess independent and substantive qualities which make them a social factor in their own right (a fourth branch of government, cultural industry, etc.)?
In this chapter, I will first outline the emergence of mass communication during ...