Intersecting Narratives of Media Influence


This week I am working away on my MSc dissertation, Suicide and the Media.  The reading, literature searching, reviewing is hard work, but a lot of fun. I sometimes wonder if my mind can expand to cope with and assimilate all the things I am learning!

Today, in one paper I read this:

Members of each of these subdisciplines of media research tend to act as if their camp has the one ‘‘true’’ approach, which leads them to turn their focus inward. Criticisms from outside, rather than encouraging openings to alternative approaches, tend to lead to enhanced fortifications. Disciples are trained to carry on the faith and defend it from heretics. Probing questions from neophytes [beginners – but I had to look it up!] are greeted with exhortations to read more deeply into the founding ‘‘holy’’ texts or more recent exegeses of them. Although many interesting extended media debates and discussions still occur, they are usually bounded debates in the sense that they tend to occur within groups that share basic worldviews about media. As a result, many major assumptions are left unquestioned and unchallenged, and each research camp tends to insulate itself from the possibility of learning from the other camps. Even when some crisis of faith within a research camp occurs—such as when there is a sense of hitting a conceptual dead end or being unable to explain some significant social phenomenon—adherents tend to search for the solutions deeper within their own faith’s narrative of origin, rather than by looking outward to the potential contributions of the other camps.

Joshua Meyrowitz (2008) Power, Pleasure, Patterns: Intersecting Narratives of Media Influence. Journal of Communication 58: 641–663

good stuff eh?


2 Responses to “Intersecting Narratives of Media Influence”

  1. Yeah, very interesting.

    Lots of parallels to other parts of life. And belief systems. Followers of Jesus wouldn’t have any problem with it tho, right ;-p

    On the topic of Media, I’ve been listening to Mitch Joel for over a year (he runs a digital media agency in “beautiful Montreal”. He’s been looking at the power struggle in mainstream media as digital has become so pervasice. I’d recommend his blog to ANYONE interested in this stuff, and the Media Hacks podcast can be quite entertaining too. (I think)

    Hope this helps,



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