Study of the impact of the mass media as the driving force of...

Study of the impact of the media as a driving force for the development of the science of communication

I do not like poetry, - said Lunin, - captivate and lie, scammers.

Thoughts move in them like soldiers in a parade, but they do not suit a war: only prose fights and wins.

Napoleon wrote and defeated her. Dmitry Merezhkovsky. The Kingdom of the Beast

The reflection of human consciousness about the communication existing in the society was born, apparently, together with the same word which "was in the beginning". Indeed, mankind has always been concerned with the question of how this word functioned: who produced it, how it spread and on whom, what views it voiced ...

The theory of communication in this subject is, as it were, a parallel history of humanity - parallel to the political, economic, culturological paradigm. Factually, this story is traced to Aristotle, who in his "Rhetoric", containing a number of examples that are very interesting for the theorist of communication, noted that for any act of human communication, at least three elements are needed: the person who speaks; the speech that person pronounces; the person who listens to this speech; before the works of Plato, where ethics is considered in propaganda; to Mill's writings "System of Logic", where the structure of persuasive argument is analyzed.

In the works of scientists and public figures, the first signs of public attention to the press as a social phenomenon refer to the XVII-XVIII centuries. J.P. Marat, A.Saint-Simon, V.Vejtling, G.V.F. Hegel make chronologically the earliest stratum in the sphere of knowledge that interests us in this case.

Today's state of the science of mass information processes is characterized by some fundamentally new features. They are related to the fact that at the end of the XIX century. there is a sociological theory of mass communications. By this time we attribute this fact to the fact that on the one hand, the selection of sociology itself has ended in science, and on the other, a social press institute has developed, the real functioning of which became a social fact, which made it possible to view it as an object of sociology.

Indeed, in the second half of the XIX century. In the science of society, sociological trends began to dominate, namely: the consideration of social reality in all the diversity of social ties - economic, political, moral, religious, etc .; the consideration of reality through the prism of human activity; consideration of reality as an aggregate of social facts that must be established empirically by using methods previously inherent only in natural exact sciences; the analysis of quantitative parameters of social phenomena in indissoluble connection with their qualitative side.

There were prerequisites that allowed the new science - sociology - to view the press as a social institution;

- the functioning of the press and at the pole of information production, and at the pole of consumption it gradually acquired an increasingly mass character;

- As the bourgeois society, which came in a number of countries to replace the relatively homogeneous structures of feudal society, the society was extremely stratified, the activity of producing and consuming information became very diverse in different social groups and strata;

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- as the complicated political life in bourgeois society and market relations have led to ever-increasing mobility of members of society, information activity, like any other, has become changeable throughout the life of one individual,

- the complication of the political structure and the economic opportunities of society presented the individual with ever greater opportunities for choosing in information activities

- with the development of democracy in society, the independent role of the institution of the press in society became more and more distinct, therefore, the degree of this independence and/or its dependence on other social institutions was problematic, and, therefore, interesting for the science of society, which sociology became increasingly aware of itself;

- the nature of the command of individuals in the information space increased the value of the subjective factor - socio-demographic characteristics of the individual in this type of activity;

- all of the above circumstances make the individual necessary, and sometimes the only source of information about communication processes, i.e. a source of new knowledge about this segment of society.

We will point out that the sociology of the QMS did not arise from nothing: as an object of attention, the institute of the press was interested in other social science disciplines. So, in American science by the beginning of the 20th century. the press was included in the niche of the interests of social and political sciences, then social psychology (the very term "sociology" and the first principal postulates of it arose in the bowels of the European social science thought (see O. Comte, E. Durkheim)). In addition, the QMS sociology was preceded by the science of journalism, research in journalism ( journalism research), with which the historical, monographic, review approaches to the object under study are connected in the western branch of research in the sphere of QMS. Nevertheless, for a long time there was a confusion of these departmental territories, and even in the 1940s-1950s. It was not uncommon to discuss the difference between these approaches to a single object in the specialized literature.

For the first time the concept of "sociology of the press" was used by sociologist M. Weber in 1910, speaking at the session of the German Sociological Society. He formulated the general theoretical program for studying the functioning of the press: the economic aspect of the existence of the press, public opinion, sources of news, attitude to consumer information, a quantitative analysis of press materials.

Undoubtedly, for the theory of journalism (the term that has settled in our country) remained the substantive side of journalistic activity, the specificity of individual means: print, radio, television, the genre structure of journalistic works, to some extent, factors of journalistic skill, etc. Sociology QMS expands this knowledge to the analysis of the basic laws of real fuiktsirovanija mass communications in a society, mechanisms of mutual relations between the subjects entering into a communication chain, forms and methods of expression and formation of public opinion, factors and conditions of the held communicative contact.

I must say that the development of sociology of QMS was carried out not only (rather, not so much) in purely scientific interests. The development of science coincided with the production needs. The beginning of XX century. It was marked by a jump in technological progress, which led to the need to specifically deal with marketing problems. The mass production and the level of labor productivity led to the fact that the products had to be specially and professionally promoted to the consumer, which required the use of mass information sources. It was through them that the information substitute for the product - advertising - reached its destination, its future customers, consumers of the product.

This is how the additional, in addition to purely scientific, very powerful pragmatic interest in this type of research was defined. Press research coincided with the general ideology of consumer research; the need to study the impact of advertising has become a powerful engine of research in the QMS. Advertisers in the West funded a lot of research related to the study of the audience of individual channels, subsidized experiments that study the processes of information impact on the listener, the reader and the viewer.

There is one more reason that the institute of the press demanded study - let's call it ideological. Newspapers, radio and television are an area where active actors interact: on the one hand, the state, power structures, social institutions, on the other - broad segments of the population. The nature of this interaction is different in different types of society: it is described in terms of the formation and expression of public opinion, the total impact of the state and the satisfaction of the vital information needs of members of society. Both sides are objectively interested in studying these processes: one is to know how to act; another - to understand the extent to which their interests are realized.

Historically, both in quantitative and in a number of other relationships, for example, in the field of research funding, American sociology has grown faster and has developed more than sociology in any other country. " This also applies to the sociology of the QMS. But this is a quantitative explanation. The development of this science in the United States seems to have several qualitative features, since sociology has developed widely, covering the most diverse spheres of society, and a wealth of empirical material about the life of society has accumulated. Observations of the way of life of different groups are useful for the researcher analyzing the consumption of television; it may be useful to find the factors found in the course of studies of the cinema audience: what and how people of different generations look at, how the representatives of different levels of education evaluate the film; the study of the conformity of the members of a brass band can be very heuristic for understanding the influence of the reference group on the individual's assessment of radio news.

The interdisciplinary nature of research was originally conditioned by the objective development of social sciences: in the range of research objects "man-society" Psychology, social psychology, sociology proper, anthropology, statistics were used. Hardly a modern researcher of the effectiveness of the press will do without acquaintance with the draft of the 40's. XX century. on the influence of interpersonal communication on the character of personality behavior during the presidential election, although this study was conducted by the social psychology department. Within the framework of various social science sciences methods of studying social objects were developed, which were transformed into the arsenal of the means of all researchers.

The well-known American sociologist P. Lazarsfeld noted this fact: "Although no one will argue that the social sciences led to the emergence of completely new mathematical ideas, they certainly contributed to the development of the theory of probability." Some modifications of probability theory allowed in the 30-ies. XX century. go to the professional study of public opinion on the basis of representative samples. But without these samples, the sociologist will not be able to manage the audience research. These components of sociological culture, sociological thinking - in the baggage of today's sociologist QMS.

To the same baggage is and all accumulated by today in the very sociology. The history of these studies is calculated from the beginning of the 20th century. - it is this period of time that is characterized by features that, apparently, will remain decisive for the world community and for the present century: industrial and post-industrial development of the economy, expansion of the sphere of civil society, mass information processes. Consequently, the probability of a repetition of the social situations characteristic of the 20th century in the future is great. The principles of the study of social subjects that carry out communicative processes, and empirical data obtained in the twentieth century, will be useful to today's sociologist. At the same time, the research path was a trial and error laboratory - a fact that undoubtedly increases the value of the information received for the researcher.

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