• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The SAGE Handbook of Media Studies examines the theories, practices, and future of this fast-growing field. Editor John Downing and associate editors Denis McQuail, Philip Schlesinger, and Ellen Wartella have brought together a team of international contributors to provide a varied critical analysis of this intensely interesting field of study. The Handbook offers a comprehensive review within five interconnected areas: humanistic and social scientific approaches; global and comparative perspectives; the relation of media to economy and power; media users; and elements in the media mosaic ranging from popular music to digital technologies, from media ethics to advertising, and from Hollywood and Bollywood to alternative media.

Advertising: A Synthetic Approach
Advertising: A synthetic approach
Introduction: The Growing Centrality of Advertising

What was once a localized industry associated with a certain kind of economy in specific societies has now become a core societal institution in a wide range of contexts around the world. By 2000, advertising had grown from an American-centered industry in the 1950s1 into a mega-billion-dollar global industry.2 In the process, advertising has been transformed into a medium through which many of society's key entities and their publics communicate. O'Barr (1994) states that “advertising both reflects and constitutes social order” (p. 4), but I think we must go even further: Advertising has become a major force in ongoing societal re/production.

This re/productive role is rendered all the more weighty as society globalizes. To ...

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