This book is about fear and its expanding place in our public life. The author documents the rise of a "discourse of fear" in the present era: the pervasive communication, symÂbolic awareness, and expectation that danger and risk surround us. Altheide offers explanations of how this occurred and suggests some of its serious social consequences. In doing so, he focuses on the nature and use of social power and social control. The mass media play a significant role in shaping social definitions that govern social action. Relatedly, his methodological and theoretical foundation in classical social theory, existential-phenomenology, ethnomethodology, and symbolic interactionism leads him to view social power as the capacity to define situations for self and others.
Creating Fear is focused on sorting out the ways that the mass media and popular culture help define social situaÂtions. It helps understand the nature, process, and organizaÂtion of mass media operations, including news procedures, perspectives, and formats. It recognizes the need to expand our methodological frameworks to incorporate new inforÂmation technologies and databases and to ask different quesÂtions. This volume, which attempts to break the circle of fear discourse, will be of interest to sociologists, communiÂcations scholars, and criminologists.
This incisive examination of the power of information in society uses a new mathematical model, ideodynamics, to describe social responses to information and suggests that public opinion can be swayed in a predictable fashion by messages acting on the populace. In addition to mathematical modeling, this book also introduces a new method for computer content analysis able to score text for its support of different viewpoints. The method is highly flexible and adaptable, yielding great precision for any topic in any language. Although previous work has indicated that the press is able to set the agenda with regard to public opinion, this book is unique in demonstating that the press also is able to mold opinion within that agenda. Fan begins with a presentation of ideodynamics followed by an examination of the ability of the mathematical model to incorporate previous theories. He then considers data applications and discusses the conclusions to be drawn from the work. The empirical testing uses the ideodynamic equations and scores from the text analysis to predict time trends of public opinion which correspond strikingly well with actual poll measurements.
Some of the journal's most enduring essays appear in this volume. Among them are: "How Vast the Wasteland Now?" by Newton N. Minow; "In the South--When It Mattered to Be an Editor" by Dudley Clendinen; "Seething in Silence--News in Black and White" by Ellis Cose; "Requiem for the Boys on the Bus" by Maureen Dowd; "The Flickering Images That May Drive Presidents" by Robert MacNeil; and "The Inevitable Global Conversation" by Walter B. Wriston.
"Media and Public Life "reflects the diversity of issues and perspectives that has been a trademark of the "Media Studies Journal. "The chapters aptly depict the growing field of communication and media studies. Many ideas are taken into consideration, including the great functions of communication (like information, opinion, entertainment, and publicity), trends (such as news in the post-cold war period), and specific industries (such as radio and book publishing). Throughout the book the consequences and impact of media institutions on society and public life are maintained. "Media and Public Life "will be of value to communications specialists, media studies scholars, and sociologists.
Contents and Contributors: Theodore Peterson, "The Historical Framework"; James Rosse, "The Economic Setting"; Benno Schmidt, "The Media and Government: How Much Constraint to What End?"; Ithiel de Sola Pool, "The New Technologies: Their Promise of Abundant Channels at Lower Cost"; William Porter, "The Media Baronies: Bigger, Fewer, More Powerful"; Edward J. Epstein, "How Media Institutions Process Reality"; William Henry, "News as Entertainment: The Search for Dramatic Unity"; Michael Robinson, "Presidential Elections as TV Drama"; Robert L. Bartley, "The Business of News and the News of Business"; John Hulteng, "The Rights of Readers and Viewers: Avenues of Accountability"; George Comstock, "Social and Cultural Impacts"; Elie Abel, "Conclusion".
Articulated through an interactionist and non-deterministic focus, "An Ecology of Communication "offers a distinctive perspective for understanding the impact of information technology, communication formats, and social activities in the new electronic environment. As more routines, rituals, and activities incorporate such technologies within their organizational cultures, new sorts of activities are added and previous ones are changed according to an underlying logic explored in these pages. Various chapters illustrate some of these altered and redefined organizational cultures: bureaucracy, the mass media, computer formats, war, surveillance, and testing, among others.
Fear has become an ever-expanding part of life in the West in the twenty-first century. We live in terror of disease, abuse, stranger danger, environmental devastation and terrorist onslaught. We are bombarded with reports of new concerns for our safety and that of our children, and urged to take greater precautions and seek more protection. But compared to the past, or to the developing world, people in contemporary Western societies have much less familiarity with pain, suffering, debilitating disease and death. We actually enjoy an unprecedented level of personal safety.
When confronted with events like the destruction of the World Trade Centre, fear for the future is inevitable. But what happened on September 11th 2001 was in many ways an old fashioned act of terror, representing the destructive side of the human passions. Frank Furedi argues that the greater danger in our culture is the tendency to fear achievements representing a more constructive side of humanity. We panic about GM food, about genetic research, about the health dangers of mobile phones. The facts often fail to support the scare stories about new or growing risks to our health and safefy. Our obsession with theoretical risks is in danger of distracting society from dealing with the old-fashioned dangers that have always threatened our lives. In this new edition Furedi relates his own thinking on the sociology of fear to the thought of earlier thinkers such as Darwin and Fred and to the sociological tradition of Durkheim, C. Wright Mills, Anthony Giddens and others.
In this classic, the world's expert on language and mind lucidly explains everything you always wanted to know about language: how it works, how children learn it, how it changes, how the brain computes it, and how it evolved. With deft use of examples of humor and wordplay, Steven Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling story: language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution. The Language Instinct received the William James Book Prize from the American Psychological Association and the Public Interest Award from the Linguistics Society of America. This edition includes an update on advances in the science of language since The Language Instinct was first published.