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'networked civil society', Hassan argues that the network society is . The Issues in Cultural and Media Studies series aims to facilitate a.
Table of contents

The foremost western theorist of cultural imperialism in the West was Herbert Schiller. The concepts of cultural and media imperialism were much critiqued during the s and s, and many scholars preferred alternative concepts such as globalization and cultural globalization to analyze issues of intercultural contact, whether asymmetrical or otherwise. Both are influential in the 21st century.

This process is commensurate with forms of democracy that provide the appearance but not the reality of choice and control. Fissures within the ranks of the elites and within the masses create spaces for resistance and change.

The Evolution of New Media

Culture encompasses the totality of social practices of a given community. Social practices are manifest within social institutions such as family, education, healthcare, worship, labor, recreation, language, communication, and decision-making, as well as their corresponding domains. Analysis of cultural imperialism often incorporates notions of media imperialism with reference to 1 print, electronic, and digital media—their industrialization, production, distribution, content, and capital accumulation; 2 cultural meanings that media evoke among receivers and audience cultures; 3 audience and media interactions in representations of topics, people, and ideas; and 4 relationships between media corporations and other centers of power in the reproduction and shaping of social systems.

Media are logically subsumed as important components of cultural imperialism. Yet the significance of media can be understated. Social practices that are experienced as direct may themselves be formed through exposure to media representations or performed for media. Keywords: capitalism , culture , dependency , globalization , hegemony , hybridity , imperialism , modernity , modernization , nation , propaganda. Access to the complete content on Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication requires a subscription or purchase.

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For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us. The table shows a discontinuous decline between and , but a steady increase since , and a decline in the last three years, which in any case is not lower than the recovery of This setback cannot be considered significant due to the fact that data from February which is the highest average to October , put the daily average above the year This recovery is in agreement with the adaptation of television to digital technology, the expansive increase in the use of social networks, and the progressive competition from small and medium-sized screens.

Comment on whether the increase in activity in the networks modifies the audience by age ad C. Table 3. Source: Nielsen Sofres. The purpose of the commentary is to verify whether there is a significant variation in the distribution of age-specific audiences for children and young people compared to those referred to as mature, adults, and seniors, which gives cause for thinking that a change could be occurring in cultural patterns of children, adolescents and young people.

A condition for the hypothesis of discontinuity is that the distinction between mass culture, based on analogue diffusion of content, and a democratic and egalitarian digital culture, would be manifested in a rapid yet gradual disaffection of child and youth audiences. If the spontaneous adaptation of the child to digital technology means a cultural rupture that also has an impact on the political environment, then television audiences, considered to be the main characteristic of mass culture, would have to clearly drop, so that the withdrawal by the child and youth target audiences would have to be reflected in the distribution of the historical evolution.

For these purposes, we have gathered from our data provider through Kantar the corresponding audiences per target age group an annual basis since In the table below, we disregard the monthly distribution, and in order to simplify the table, we have limited ourselves to annual data. Table 4.


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The viewing time of children reflects a decline from its highest point in of minutes as a daily average to in It is not possible to say that the reason for this fall, rather slow and oscillating, resulted from the rise of the audiovisual society, which was still in its infancy in those years at a time when mobiles were still not widely used and tablets had not yet appeared on the market.

In addition, it was then rectified in the registers until when it reached its third highest level in the data series of minutes, which had only been exceeded in and If we refer to the group that is composed of children and youth, there were four years, from to , that exceeded the minutes of in this series. The decline began as of February , so it is possible to consider that a change of trend is taking place. As of February , the month in which the audience reached its maximum level, a progressive decline in the audience as a whole began. The descent has been shared among all of the target age groups, except for seniors.

Although a five-year period is not a sufficient time frame for the purpose of verifying a trend, it is clear that there has been a continuous decline, and even more pronounced than the one in the fluctuations that occurred before , especially the oscillations from to This contrast between the data series of children under 24 and those over 64 may be indicative of a progressive abandonment by the younger audience, and may also mean that the future continuity of audiences is dependent on the older age groups.

This fact is confirmed because only in the target group over 64 is there resistance, even upward, of the downward trend produced as of February These data reinforce the hypothesis of convergence between media. They are also compatible with the hypothesis of discontinuity and attenuate the one of the continuity of adaptation.

The New Media’s Role in Politics

The question is whether or not the use of networks alters the propensity of mass culture to stratify the cultural entertainment industry in order to channel it toward the enjoyment of cultural leisure that is equally demanding and selective. Having confirmed that the television set maintains universal coverage and that television audiences sustain, though in a downward direction for the last five years, the voluminous consumption of mass industry, it is very risky to consider that there will be is discontinuity that transforms the specific cultural stratification of mass culture into an egalitarian heterogeneity of selective cultural demands.

As there are no statistical data available to show a trend in transfers from one media to another, or from couplings between audiences of television and networks, it is not possible to evaluate trend periods. Kantar announced this service years ago, but it has not yet begun in Spain. Although we cannot yet quantify it, we nevertheless know that an amalgam is produced by coupling. Through mobile phones, tablet computers, Internet, and now through watches and other gadgets, network users are coupled to television, regardless of any other use they make of the networks.

We presume that this coupling more than compensates for the downward trend of television audiences over the last five years. Although it does not compensate these audiences fully, it is undeniably true that it reinforces them to some degree. Evidently, this means that the continuity and discontinuity hypotheses are not very compatible with the amalgam scenario of television network audiences.

If it is not possible to resort to the registers to confirm it, there is no doubt that both hypotheses yield to the convergence hypothesis, which is obviously reinforced. There are other practices related to the use of networks that support this inference. It is a novel use of digital interactivity.


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This is a use of networks for the purpose of discussing products offered on audio-visual screens. This is different from coupling, since it does not refer to viewing through non-television screens content offered in television programming, but rather refers to the way in which two or more different screens are used simultaneously to comment on the same content among groups composed of individuals in absentia , although this content may be seen by some users on one type of screen, and by other users on another type.

This is a coalescence of the interactivity facilitated by digital technology among members of the audience, who can also interact with the broadcaster in some types of programs. Some additions to televisions allow for direct interaction. As a recent manifestation of convergence, complementarity, or reciprocal coupling among the media, there is a coexistence or amalgamation of the transfer of audiences from television screens to medium-size and small screens. Considered separately, this is compatible with the hypothesis of continuity and convergence and an assumption of refutation of the discontinuity hypothesis of the cultural process.

However, if the features are taken into account in their entirety, this reinforces above all the continuity of the culture industry by convergence in the use of digital networks, either through the concurrence of screens, or through a concurrence more focused on the commentary of content among distant users. Both phenomena have helped to define a new scenario in which the user can access multimedia content from anywhere, and in which consumption becomes an individual act. There are many other recent phenomena that have contributed to maintaining within the digital society the stratification of the trend toward the uniformity of a culture based on entertainment.

Phenomena that call into question the presumption of some that the egalitarian exercise of networks strengthens direct democratic discursive activity. Increased interest in politics by young people in times of economic crisis has no effect on the cultural sequence.

This interest can be an indication of alterations in political orientation compatible with the continuity of cultural patterns. The study is reflected in the following table which shows the level of interest toward politics according to age group. Enquiry from November 21 to 30, Prepared by the authors. This same report confirms television as the main source of political information for people between 15 and 30 years of age. Television is not only established as a distributor for the culture industry aimed at entertainment, it was also the main source of information on political issues among young people during the period with the greatest degree of political high-spiritedness in Spain in the last decade on the part of youth.

Through the association between networks and television, this trend has not decreased. It has been strengthened. This variation should amount to approximately 1. The bibliographic citations that refer to each of the different aspects mentioned are abundant. We have indicated relevant specific research references. We allude to them as a whole in order to show the difficulty of interpreting a process of change from a normative approach based on the presumption that a technological imperative acts as a predictive determinant of the course of the process.

The selective homogeneity of exigent tastes not only expresses a rhetorical oxymoron. In the conjunction of these phenomena, the hypothesis of cultural discontinuity has reasons to be refuted. The available data show that audience culture can easily be blended with network culture. The use of networks does not diminish the production of cultural goods for entertainment consumption, but rather reinforces it, and explains the adaptability of the television set by means of its coupling with the network in order to converge with the new screens.

The fact that they are able to coexist while competing is significant in itself. However, the fact that there is an amalgam between networks and television in social use is even more notable. In the section of results and discussion, it has been shown that in order to consolidate a hypothesis regarding the continuity between mass culture and digital culture, it is not enough to verify whether the increasing expansion of Internet interferes with the continued use of television sets or not, but it is necessary to confirm that it is incompatible with the discontinuity hypothesis.

It is also not enough to confirm the maintenance of audiences for consumption of mass culture entertainment products through transfers to screens other than those of television sets in order to ensure the continuity hypothesis, but such confirmation is sufficient to rule out that of discontinuity. It does suffice, however, to study the stability of television use and the continuity of audiences through coupling in order to confirm the hypothesis of convergence between media that disseminate mass culture through digital media, due to the fact that the data analysed show continuity in the habits of culture industry consumption.

Although the hypothesis of discontinuity may be partially compatible with a change in the democratic perception of youth during the period of crisis, and with the rise of participatory movements, there is no indication that this change, which may have been due to a combination of factors, reinforces the deliberative and reflective potential of an egalitarian, participatory, and democratic society. Appeals to participation reflect attitudes and ideologically-focused responses, more emotional than discursive.

Theorizing New Media in a Global Context

The hypothesis of cultural discontinuity does not find, at present, any descriptive foundation. The television set is not only universal, but the most common household appliance. However, if one takes into account the evolution of audiences and the coupling with media, there are signs, though still in the early stages, that this coverage might decrease.

We refer to the progression of the adult audience in relation to the decrease in the number of youth audiences. Those under 24 years of age do not have the capacity to buy home appliances, yet they are the ones that show the most detachment from television audiences. This does not mean that such a detachment shows a trend of cultural change, as it could be entirely due to the convergence of different media in the predominant patterns of the culture industry, so it would not indicate substantial changes.

This phenomenon is similar to that of the film industry. The fact that film production is not exhibited in specific cinemas, but is intended to go directly to television for viewing by cable or DTT, does not alter the cultural pattern of the film industry. Rather, this situation consolidates it. This is a phenomenon of convergence. The same would occur if production were intended for direct consumption through mobile phones and tablets instead of TV screens. The screen change does not imply a change in the consumption trend of the culture industry. From this point of view, the available data confirm that the most consistent hypothesis is that of convergence, though if only universal TV coverage is taken into account, this would not be enough to invalidate the continuity hypothesis.

Similarly, if only the decrease in the daily consumption average of audiences under 24 years of age is taken into account, this would also not be enough to rule out discontinuity. Television audiences were progressing until February when they started to fall.

The Evolution of New Media

The decline has not been enough to determine a significant drop, nor can it even be assured that there has been a change in trend until there is data available on media coupling. However, there are other additional factors that must be pointed out. We have listed the most significant as follows:. In order to assess whether the progressive amplitude and competence of the networks can be a factor in causing this decline in the audience, we must also consider contextual aspects. An example is the closing of nine specialized channels in the month of May by a Supreme Court Decision.

The audiences of these channels had to be transferred to others, so there was an inversion of the fragmentation process between audiences and access habits. These alterations might have influenced the decline of average annual daily consumption. As the records did not offer transfer and access data by screen type, it is not possible to verify that the drop is significant. Kantar plans to begin processing this data as restricted access information.

It is possible that the company already has this data, but they have not yet commercialized it. In short, the convergence hypothesis is also confirmed. The measurement gap of the coupling and the nuances with which the decrease in audiences must be interpreted since March allow us to minimize the hypothesis of discontinuity and lessen that of continuity. Ad C Since February , there has been a more pronounced fall in the target groups of children and adolescents than in the mature and adult groups, and an increase in television audience numbers among seniors.

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The turning point coincides with a sudden attitude of disaffection toward conventional politics of representative democracy, mainly on the part of young people, and with an abrupt modification of the socio-political environment caused by the economic crisis. The disaffection returns in reaction. This change also appears statistically in the variation of audiences by age group in and The convergence hypothesis has been confirmed. The continuity of the audience culture cannot be assured if its stability ceases to depend on access to the television set because of its replacement by access through other means.

The hypothesis of discontinuity is open to the conjecture of whether or not political change is an episode caused by a variety of circumstances. Ad D Cultural change driven by emotional factors tests the aspiration of transposing it to a system of direct democracy. The data show that increased interest in participation in citizen movements in which indifference is perceived in ideologically-biased sectors due to the limitations of the representative system are driven by emotional attitudes. Calls for a breach are concentrated in disillusioned focal movements, not in cultural patterns of a generalized selective egalitarianism.

Once the circumstantial causes that gave new life to breach activism had been reduced, interest in politics then varied among young people and became directed toward new electoral options. What stands out is its ability to make an appeal and efficiently bring people together who are inclined toward a certain point of view, and this is accomplished through face-to-face relationships at a distance when there are alterations in socio-political circumstances Deltell, A breach is an emotional indication that does not alter the social tendency to organize by stratification and to preserve the decisions of power in social leadership, which change or are renewed, thereby confirming stratification in the decision-making processes of any kind of complex social organization.

Breach emotionalism confirms the hypothesis of convergence as a verifiable explanation of the continuity and discontinuity of the culture of entertainment from a mass society to a digital culture. Attempting to change emotionality by deliberation is useless when the actors of change themselves appeal or yield to emotional simplifications and shun those that are deliberative.

The continued use of television sets would be compatible with the continuity hypothesis if it were confirmed that the same mass entertainment industry is common to the screens that connect the networks to the television. The selective preferences of young people indicate that the transfer of television audiences to the networks does not modify the predominant patterns of cultural taste established by stratification in the mass consumption industry, but rather contributes to the adaptation of the television to digital technology and to its renewal, favouring new stratification processes such as the fragmentation of audiences by thematic preferences and access to the audio-visual industry through other screens.

Television is confirmed as a great means of communication that dispenses audio-visual entertainment culture to vast audiences, although it is possible that in February a point of saturation had been reached. This still needs to be verified with the data regarding the interconnection of screens.

This demonstrates continuity by convergence between the preceding mass culture and the predominant digital culture. Forecasts on the direction of change cannot be explained as historically inherent tendencies guided by a technological imperative. Rather, they anticipate trends that may or may not be confirmed as resulting from an implied anthropology of a realistic nature.

We presume that normative interpretations of technological mediation are based on an anthropological error with a Cartesian basis Damasio with regard to the condition of the human being as part of nature in a material sense, of which humans form part as a result of their conscious intelligence. They do not respond to the peculiarity of the insertion of the human species into common nature. They respond to a presupposed anthropology inaccessible to research and verification, not to an approach compatible with the scientific and explanatory description of the empirical reality of natural anthropological conditioning.

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Media, politics and the network society / Robert Hassan. - Version details - Trove

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Barcelona: G Gili. G Lipovetsky : De la ligereza. P Mason : Postcapitalismo. Hacia un nuevo futuro. Las extensiones del ser humano. Nielsen : Informe sobre el estado de los social media. Conflictos morales en la posmodernidad CEC. Pamplona: Eunsa. Barcelona: UOC. Madrid: Universitas. Periodismo y democracia en el entorno digital. Las nuevas revoluciones de las multitudes conectadas.

Madrid: Catarata. JB Thompson : Los medios y la modernidad. DOI: En Ad Comunica , 6. Hacker and J. London: Sage. P ublic Administration in the Information Age. Article received on 30 November Accepted on 26 January. Published on 1 February Index h of the journal, according to Google Scholar Metrics,. Introduction In this article we deal with a facet of the issue in which the research group that supports this publication is working: the political and cultural effects of the spread of face-to-face relationships by distance in digital networks.

State of the art regarding research Continuing along this line of inquiry that phenomenological associates constructivism with relational realism Donati, , in the aforementioned projects we address specific themes of this common program. By reviewing the most conclusive academic literature, they can be outlined in two major areas as follows: A. To investigate how cultural change affects the re-adaptation of political processes through changes of opinion, it is necessary to distinguish between the following: A. Within these, it is worth mentioning the following: A.

Those that forecast that new phenomena, such as political activism linked mainly to the use of social networks by young people Rubio Gil, , are manifestations linked to specific circumstances especially the economic crisis ; A. In relation to this digression of empirical projections, we will formulate in the methodological section three specific hypotheses that we later call coexistence, convergence and cultural change B.

Therefore, two types of projections can be distinguished: B. Specification of the hypotheses under study This text specifically attempts to grasp the political implications of the cultural change associated with the use of networks.