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GCSE Sociology 2012-2013

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GCSE Sociology 2012-2013. 28 Teaching Weeks until your exam. What is different in year 11?. Weekly homework 2 Assessments per half term Compulsory intervention if you achieve less than a C. Homework due Monday 17 th September

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GCSE Sociology 2012-2013

28 Teaching Weeks

until your exam

what is different in year 11
What is different in year 11?
  • Weekly homework
  • 2 Assessments per half term
  • Compulsory intervention if you achieve less than a C
Homework due Monday 17th September

Bring in a newspaper that you have read. You will be tested!


Mass Media: What are the Mass Media?

  • L.O:
  • Define mass media
  • Identify examples of traditional forms of mass communication
  • Identify examples of the new mass media
  • Explain why sociologists say that the mass media is an important agency of social change

Key terms: mass communication, technological change, agency of social change

Mass Communication

Reaching an audience of thousands or perhaps millions



How do you communicate with your friends and family?

How many times a day do you phone someone, send a text or email?

When did you last write a letter?


Task: Copy & complete this table:

What are the key differences between old and new forms of media?



  • Easier to maintain contact with friends and relatives living in different parts of the country or the world
  • In the past
  • Family ties were broken by separation
  • Friends lost contact
  • News travelled slowly

Benefits of new technology


Agency of social change: influencing social attitudes and government policy

Did you know?

Publishers of the first books were motivated by religious reform. They wanted people to have an immediate and personal contact with God.

Why do sociologists argue that the development of communication is the most important agency of social change?

the mass media as an agency of social change
The mass media as an agency of social change

The mass media are one of the secondary agencies of socialisation. They are part of the way individuals learn about the social world beyond the immediate (primary) influence of the parents.

The mass media can offer alternative answers to some of the questions that we may ask ourselves beyond the immediate circle of our family and friends. What does it mean to be a man or a woman in the modern world? How should we behave towards others? What can we aspire to achieve?

Obviously our family, our peer groups, our school or college will all have a powerful formative influence on our aspirations and our behavior. However, above and beyond this the mass media present us with powerful images that dominate our waking moments.

Some people argue that the media have a responsibility to represent the social world in such a way that they avoid biased or stereotypical representations of reality. However, it is still the case that much of what we see in the media, particularly on television or in films, relies heavily on stereotypes and exaggerated representations of the social world.


Mass Media: Information overload?

  • L.O:
  • Explain the relationship between media and its audience
  • Critically analyse the advantages and disadvantages of the internet

Key terms: information overload, hyperreality, culture of simulation

Starter: Looking at these pictures, what do you think is meant by the phrase “Information overload”?

hands up if
Hands up if…
  • You feel lost without your mobile phone
  • You check your mobile phone at least once an hour
  • You check facebook at least once a day
  • You send at least one instant message a day (e.g. text, facebook, MSN messenger, blackberry)

Are we suffering from information overload?

  • We live in a world where people are instantly available and instant communication continues 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • In the past communication was time consuming and expensive so people thought carefully before contacting each other.
  • Consider the following……
  • How many of your telephone conversations, texts and emails are really necessary?
  • Is it not a burden that that you cant get away from family, friends or employers?

TASK - Answer the following questions

Are we suffering from information overload? In your answer cover both sides of the argument.

How have new technologies benefited politicians images and campaigns.


The original purpose of the internet.


Internet – a global system of interconnected computers.


Old media – print media and electronic communications developed during the mid 20th century or earlier.

New media – computerised communications technology

Not designed for social and commercial communication.

Began in the Cold War as a way of sharing and safeguarding electronic information stored on early mainframe computers.

The US military commissioned a system that used linked computers in different places, computer data was protected from the danger of nuclear attack.

It quickly became clear that it could be used to communicate messages


What is a hyper reality?

Watch the clips and explain the meaning of the keyword.

Why might a hyper reality appeal to people who feel alienated in every day life?

Some sociologists have suggested that relatively new forms of communications technology have completely swamped people with information.

They have become overloaded with ideas and images, to such an extent that the difference between reality and images of reality has begun to breakdown, creating a form of alternative reality or hyperreality.

In other words, some people appear to be unable to distinguish between what they see on television and encounter in the virtual world of the internet, and the everyday world of lived experience. We are creating a culture of simulation.

People who feel alientated from people in the real world begin to place great value on what they see on the television

This is one explanation for the popularity of soap operas or reality television programmes like The Only Way is Essex.


The internet – danger or opportunity?

Do you have unsupervised access to the internet?

Do your younger siblings have unsupervised access to the internet?

List the dangers of the internet.

Do the opportunities offered by the internet outweigh the dangers?

Give reasons for your answer.


Mass Media: Active/Passive Audience?

  • L.O:
  • Explain the ways in which audiences can relate to the new mass media

Key terms: hypodermic needle theory

Starter: Are we manipulated by the media?


These images represent how in the past sociologists have explained the relationship between the media and individuals

How could Politicans use the hypodermic needle theory to manipulate people?

Syringe = Newspapers, internet, television etc

Drug = Media content

Patient = Audience

i.e. we are passive consumers and can be manipulated


An alternative theory is that the audience are active consumers.

i.e. we engage in media because we want to.

Why do social networking sites make it more difficult for politicians to influence people?

How do social networking sites and blogs support this argument?

testing key terms
Testing key terms

Define these key terms:

  • Agency of social change
  • Hyperreality
  • Hypodermic needle theory
  • Passive consumers
  • Active consumers