Theoretical Approach 1: Structuration Theory

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Theoretical Approach 1: Structuration Theory. Mevit 3220 / 4220 Media and Globalisation Sarah Chiumbu – 20 September 2007. Last Lecture. Discussed the political economy and cultural studies approaches to global media. This lecture. First in the series of the Theoretical approaches:
Theoretical Approach 1: Structuration Theory

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Theoretical Approach 1:Structuration Theory

Mevit 3220 / 4220

Media and Globalisation

Sarah Chiumbu – 20 September 2007

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Last Lecture

  • Discussed the political economy and cultural studies approaches to global media

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This lecture

  • First in the series of the Theoretical approaches:

    • Structuration theory

    • Network & Information society theories

    • Global Flows theories

    • Time-space disjuncture

  • First part of the lecture: Introducing structuration theory

  • Second part of the lecture: How it relates to media studies

  • Third part: summaries from the the curriculum

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Theory of Structuration

  • Outlined by Anthony Giddens, Professor of Sociology in a book The Constitution of Society: Outline of a Theory of Structuration (1984).

  • Theory attempts to reconcile the theoretical dichomities of social systems:

    • Agency/structure

    • Subjective/objective

    • Micro/macro

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Theory of Structuration

  • Structuration theory aims to explain social practices across space and time by viewing action and social structure as linked by their interdependency

  • Human agency (human action) and social structure each act as an enabling condition of the other

  • The balancing of agency (action) and structure is referred to as the duality of structure: social structures make social action possible, and at the same time social action creates those very structures

  • Duality of structure is always the main grounding of continuities in social reproduction across time and space

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Theory of Structuration II

  • Giddens identifies 3 types of structures in social systems:

    • Signification: producing meaning through discursive practices

    • Legimitation: produces moral order via societal norms, values and standards

    • Domination: produces power, originating from the control of resources

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Structural dimensions of social systems:

Theory of Structuration III

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Theory of Structuration IV

  • Knowledgeable agency:

    • People (“actors”) in structuration theory are ‘knowledgeable agents’ with the capacity to transform situations. They are not merely passive or ‘ cultural dopes’ of institutional or structural arrangements

    • As knowledgeable agents, humans use interpretive schemes to constitute and communicate meaning and then take action with intentional and unintended consequences

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Theory of Structuration V

  • Allocative and authoritative resources:

    • Allocative resources:Material resources involved in the generation of power, including the natural environment and physical artifacts; allocative resouorces derive from human domination over nature.

    • Authoritarian reosurces:Non-mateialresources, meaning the power to harness the activities of other people.

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Theory of Structuration

  • Key Terms, Concepts & Definition

    • Institutions: the practices that have the greatest time-space extension within societal totalities (Giddens, 1984: 17)

    • Structure: Rules and resources, recursively implicated in the reproduction of social systems (p.6). Structure is the medium & outcome of action.

    • Structuration: The production and reproduction of the social systems through members’ use of rules and resources in interaction (p.25)

    • Agency: Humans’ ability to take action; the specific behaviours or activities in which humans engage

    • Rules: techniques applied in the enactment/reproduction of social practices

    • Resources: anything that can be used as a source of power in a social interaction

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How does this all relate to media?

  • To understand the media as an institutional and symbolic power, media theory must be based upon general social theory. The double character of the media institutions – both concrete enterprises of financial, political and social significance, and makers of products of symbolic character requires theories with a corresponding double character (duality of structure) (James Lull, 1995, 2001).

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How does this all relate to the media?

  • Ideology, hegemony, rules, power, popular culture, media effects, the active audience, social institutions, technology & globalisation can be analysed through the broad parameters of structuration theory.

  • For e.g. ideological expression and power relations contained in and suggested by large-scale structures, intersect local environments, each with its own resources, relations and rules

  • While people may select, interpret and use media programming in clever ways socially and culturally, their selections and interpretation, and uses are influenced by their domestic relationships, social relationships and the cultural contexts in which particular social relations are embedded (James Lull, 1995:169-170).

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How does this relate to the media?

  • Structuration theory useful to study ‘mediated’ globalisation across time and space. Giddens is concerned not only with the experience of the individual, nor the existence of any form of societal totality, but social practices. Hence media and communication practices are essential in the process of which the outcome is mediated globalisation. A focus on ‘mediated globalisation’ takes into account both global awareness and experiences- focuses on both micro worlds (people’s experience) and macro processes (globalisaiton).

    (Rantanen, 2005: 12)

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Class discussion

  • How can structuration theory be used to analyse new media use?

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Structuration theory and new media

  • People interpret, integrate and use different forms of ICT for the creation, storage & distribution of information & knowledge across space and time

  • ICTs as a non-living resource, dependent on human agency for incorporation into the structuring of human institutional life

  • Interaction between human agent & technology -ICTs are created and changed by human action, yet they are also used by humans to accomplish some action (duality of structure).

  • Communication technologies consist of and is reproduced by rules and resources (Rasmussen, 2000:24)

  • The concept of time-space distanciation/compression useful to study new social relations and new forms of interaction made possible by ICTs.

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Mass Media & Society

  • Two chapters from ‘Mass Media & Society’ are relevant for this lecture:

    • Chadha & Kavoori

    • Hallini & Mancini

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Chanda & Kavoori

  • Globalisation and National Media Systems

    • Media and globalisation intertwined and their relationship is not merely instrumental- the media play an important role as drivers of globalisation, they simultaneously engage with and transformed by its dynamics

    • Chadha & Kavoori focus on the interplay between the processes of globalisation and the media systems in the context of the nation states.

    • They move beyond the global-local dichotomy in analysing national media systems

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Hallini & Mancini

  • Comparing Media Systems

    • Identifies and compares three media systems models. Agents and structures can be identified in the three models

      • The Polarised Pluralistic Model (Southern Europe)

      • The Democratic Corporatist Model (north/central Europe)

      • The Liberal Model (North America)

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  • No lecture on 27 September

  • Lecture on 4 October “Globalisation & Hollywood” has been moved to 8 November. So no lecture on 4 October.

  • Opening of the “Films From the South” week on 4 October at 18h00 (running from 4 -11 Oct)

  • Guest lecture on 18 Oct by Elizabeth Eide has changed to “The Caricature Controversy: A Local Media Event turning Global”

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