What is the role of the mass media in the socialisation process
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What is the role of the mass media in the socialisation process?. Learning objective: To examine the media’s role in the socialisation process. Socialisation.

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What is the role of the mass media in the socialisation process?

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What is the role of the mass media in the socialisation process?

Learning objective: To examine the media’s role in the socialisation process


  • Socialisation describes the process through which we learn the culture of society or group we are born into. The agencies of socialisation include: families, schools, peer groups, religions, workplaces and the mass media.

Mass media as an agency of socialisation

  • The mass media play an important role in the socialisation process. They are powerful sources of information and knowledge about the world. For example, magazines have advice about personal relationships.

Mass media as an agency of socialisation

Gauntlett (2008)


Gunter pointed out that the media’s influence may be subtle, and if repeated over time certain stereotypes can be promoted, such as Fairy showing women over generations doing the washing up.

  • Found that in 2007, Iceland was using the slogan ‘That's why mum’s go to Iceland’ in TV adverts. By providing messages about the role of women, the media can be seen as contributing to gender socialisation.

Socialisation, Identity and the mass media

  • Identity refers to how we see ourselves (our self identity) and how other people see us. This can include our: gender, age, ethnicity, social class, religion an sexuality.

  • Our identity can be influenced by the media: e.g. which clothes and make-up to wear, which leisure activities to take part on, forming friendships (e.g. facebook), our careers, political beliefs, etc.

Examine the following images and state how the individual’s is expressed through their dress sense


I've been seeing a girl behind my girlfriend's back. Is it possible to love two women at the same time?

I'm 17. I've been with my girlfriend for just over a year and I've never been happier. She is lovely and the kindest, sweetest person that I've ever met. She's always telling me how much she loves me and I feel the same.

Last week we had a work experience girl start at work for a week. She's 16. I didn't look twice at her at first. She wanted to be my friend on Facebook so I added her. I also added her on MSN.

She then also asked for my mobile number. I didn't see any harm in it until she told me that she fancied me. I was shocked at first but I was also extremely flattered. I saw her Facebook pictures and she looks totally different out of her work clothes.

I couldn't stop thinking about her. She asked me to cheat on my girlfriend with her and after work one day we went to a park where we hugged and kissed.

It was amazing but I thought it was a one-off as I didn't think I'd be seeing her again. Now my boss has offered her a Saturday job. This girl is starting to get upset because I told her I can't be with her all the time.

I don't want to hurt my girlfriend. She would be devastated. My dad cheated on my mum in the past and everyone has always said how much I'm like him.

Now it seems that I am just as bad as he is. I really don't know what to do.

What advice would you offer?

In pairs:

  • Write a letter to your partner expressing some type of personal problem:

  • It can be based on a relationship, friendship, family matter, etc.

  • When you have finished, swap your books.

  • The person reading the problem, then has to reply to the problem they have just read and offer advice on how to solve the problem.

The mass media, lifestyle and identity

A young person interested in dance music and clubbing might ‘learn’ about this scene first of all from glossy dance music magazines. Real-life experience might lead this view to be adapted or replaced. But the magazines would still exert an influence by associating the lifestyle with glamour, or drugs or whatever.

Explain briefly one way in which the mass media can spread ideas about modern lifestyles

Check your understanding:

  • Identify and explain one way in which the media play a role in the socialisation process

  • What do sociologists mean by the term ‘identity’?

  • Describe one way in which the mass media may play a part in the development of people’s identities

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