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University of Leicester - Faculty of Mass Communication New Media and Society - Distance Learning 2 Assignment

st

Option
1

To what extent would you agree with the statement that „rapid rates of technological change in communications media are leading to an intense need for regulatory changes, creating new media markets and affecting quite radical social change“? Is technological change the primary force of such momentous changes or do we need to look at „social change“ from a different perspective? Word count: 2603

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social
necessities?
 The
 answer
 comes
 out
 of
 the
 presentation
 of
 two
 opposing
 theories.
accepting
the
positive
aspects
of
 both
 theories.
whether
the
 technological
 change
 affects
 changes
 in
 other
 parts
 of
 the
 society.
 however.
 especially
 the
 rapid
 ones.
Is
the
technological
development
of
communications
media
 the
primary
force
for
social
change?
Does
the
rapid
technological
change
create
the
 need
for
changes
in
media
regulation?
Does
it
create
new
markets?
 
The
first
part
of
this
paper
attempts
to
give
an
answer
to
the
question. 
 . The
 following
 part
 examines
 the
 question
 of
 how
 technological
 changes
 occur.
 At
the
end
of
the
paper
I
give
my
personal
opinion.
 The
 necessary
 coexistence
 of
 media
 and
 technology
 raises
 the
 question
 of
 the
 relationship
 between
 technological
 developments.
which
combines
elements
from
both
theories
in
an
effort
to
avoid
dogmatisms
 and
determinisms.
 the
 adoption
 of
 a
 more
 relaxed
 attitude
 to
 the
 issue.
 suggesting.
 Do
 they
occur
on
their
own
account
or
are
they
the
result
of
other.
 2
 Introduction
 The
 development
 of
 communications
 media
 as
 devices
 is
 a
 technological
 one.
 and
 the
 comparison
of
their
main
points
of
view.
 based
 on
 examples
taken
from
the
media
history.
 and
 changes
in
the
society.
 the
 theory
 of
 technological
 determinism
 and
 the
 theory
 of
 cultural
 determinism.


high
quality
of
content.
diversity
etc.
p.
Unit
11.
 Unit
 8.
Unit
11.
but
not
regulated
at
all
in
their
content
(McQuail.
 Technological
 change
 is
 regarded
 as
 a
 factor
 that
 simply
 exists
 and
 is
 associated
 with
 specific
 changes.
 while
 telecommunication
 media
 are
 heavily
 regulated
 in
 their
 infrastructure
 ‐to
 ensure
 their
proper
functioning‐.
 p.
but
also
in
economic
terms.
 such
 as
 economic
 or
 political.
p.)
 and
state
interests
(security.
 .
 
The
 evolution
 of
 video
 and
 the
 DVD
 has
 caused
 concern
 both
 in
 terms
 of
 the
 exposure
of
minors
to
explicit
sex
scenes
and
violence.
 infrastructure.
maintenance
of
social
order)
(Mc
Quail.

 The
regulation
of
communications
media
depends
on
their
technological
structure.
 p.
 Radio.
 10).
 19).
 for
 the
 moment
 we
 will
 focus
 on
 the
 factor
 "technological
 development".
 conduct
 and
 content.
Unit
11.
 for
 example.
 Technological
 changes.
 3
 Technological
change
and
media
regulation.

Although
the
need
for
new
regulations
or
for
reform
of
the
 existing
 ones
 may
 result
 from
 other
 factors.
 creating
 the
 need
 for
 laws
 to
 protect
 copyright
 and
 avoid
 piracy
 (Ward.

 Let
 us
 take
 as
 example
 the
 emergence
 of
 radio
 and
 television.
 such
 as
 structure.
26).
 
(The
 reasons
 for
 technological
 development
 are
 examined
 later
 in
 this
 paper).
National
and
international
laws
against
piracy
of
films
and
music
is
nothing
but
 regulation
of
the
new
media.
 is
 highly
 regulated
 in
 all
 aspects
 of
 its
 performance.
 distribution.
 access.
 therefore.
35).
 (McQuail.
 create
 the
 need
 for
 regulatory
 changes.
 From
 the
 very
 beginning
 of
 their
 existence
 they
 are
 subject
 to
 strict
 controls
 to
 protect
 both
 the
 interests
of
the
public
(universal
availability.


9).
 for
 example.
 p.
p.
 until
 the
 present
 time
 with
 computers.
etc.
 all
 perform
within
a
specific
social
context.
by
 the
way
they
are
adopted
and
institutionalized
and
by
the
social
groups
that
adopt
 .
cultural.
 The
 creation
 of
 new
 or
 advanced
devices
can
put
an
end
to
previous
existing
markets
(the
music
cassette.
they
are
industries
themselves
 (McQuail.
political.
 desktop
 computers
 and
 laptops.
 is
 almost
 disappeared).
 every
 development
 in
 the
 communications
 media
 is
 associated
 with
 economy.
camera.
 which
 began
 as
 a
 means
 of
 entertaining
 the
 public
 and
 quickly
 became
 an
 autonomous
 art
 and
 commodity
 (Ward
 1989.
 the
 emergence
 of
 cinema.
 56).
a
small
 computer
with
Internet
access
capabilities.
 Science.
 creating
 a
 new
 market
 rather
 than
 addressing
 existing
 needs.
 or
 create
 new
 markets
 that
 coexist
 with
 the
 previous
 ones
 (today
 we
 still
 use
 both
 CDs
 and
 the
 DVDs.
 mobile
 phones.
Starting
with
the
invention
of
the
print.
 4
 
Technological change and new
markets

 The
media
are
a
major
economic
factor
in
a
society.
 means
 of
 production.
are
largely
influenced
by
the
communications
media
available.
that
mobilized
the
 book
 and
 press
 market.)

 
Technological change and social
change

 
Rapid
 technological
 developments
 in
 the
 communications
 media
 affect
 the
 society.
 research.
although
the
trend
is
towards
the
gradual
substitution
of
desktop
by
smart
 mobile
 devices.
 which
 is
 their
 creator
 and
 recipient.
video
camera.
All
aspects
of
the
society.
Unit
11.
social.
 We
 just
 have
 to
 take
 a
 short
 look
 at
 the
 development
 of
 mobile
 phones
 the
 last
 ten
 years
 to
 understand
 the
 gradual
 trend
 towards
 the
 concentration
of
many
features
in
one
device
(phone.
 etc.
 economic..


 5
 and
institutionalize
them
(Mohammadi
2005).
 for
 example.
the
communication
among
human
beings
was
necessarily
face‐to‐face
and
 the
respective
societies
were
bound
in
time
and
space.
but
until
the
next
breakthrough. Modern
electronic
and
digital
media
are
fully
integrated
into
our
daily
lives.
 which
 consisted
 of
 those
 persons
 who
 could
 write
 and
 read
 and
 who
 were
 responsible
for
the
bookkeeping
and
practices
related
to
taxes.
24).
33).
 On
the
 other
hand.
 important
 factor.
 In
 the
 oral
 period.
raising
 debates
and
concerns
about
their
effects
on
society
and
the
individual.
 The
 discovery
 of
 writing
removed
these
obstacles
and
allowed
the
extension
of
the
written
message
 over
 time
 and
 space.
 p.
the
invention
of
 .
because
the
messages
could
 not
be
transferred
over
time
and
could
not
survive
without
the
physical
presence
of
 that
 the
 person
 who
 carried
 them
 (Mohammadi
 2005.
 namely
 the
 distribution
 of
 technological
 innovations
 over
 time.
 26).
p.
 subsequently.
 The
 present
 time
 is
 characterized
 by
 an
 unprecedented
 speed
of
technological
innovations.
 in
 my
 opinion. 
I
 would
 like
 to
 draw
 attention
 to
 an.
Through
these
elite
 groups
a
new
social
order
was
created
(Mohammadi
2005.
The
invention
of
writing
was
revolutionary
and
 changed
the
course
of
the
world.
it
 created
an
 elite
knowledge
community.
 form
 the
 type
 of
 communication
 on
 the
 given
 societies.

 
In
 each
 period
 one
 or
 more
 communications
 media
 dominate
 and.

Mohammadi
proposes
the
division
of
 communications
history
in
three
main
epochs:
the
epoch
of
oral
communication.
 in
 order
 to
 identify
the
relationship
between
media
and
society:
it
is
the
speed
of
technological
 developments
 in
 communication
 media.
p.
the
 epoch
of
print
and
the
advent
of
the
electronic
media
(Mohammadi
2005.


 and
 is
 not
 technology‐driven?
 This
is
only
a
little
food
of
thought
before
we
go
to
the
next
part.
 while
 advanced
 and
 improved
 versions
 of
 the
 same
 device
 appear
 within
 a
 few
 months.
“the
medium
is
the
message”
(Scannell
1995.
 is
 that
 not
 a
 reason
 to
 think.
 that
 society
 has
 its
 own
 “rules”
 of
 change.
 radio.
the
communications
media
are
extensions
of
the
human
body.
 The
 breaks
 among
 great
 innovations
 are
 only
 some
 decades.
 The
 technology
 determines
 the
 form
 of
 a
 society
 and
 triggers
 social
 change
 (Winston
 2005.
14.
p.
 television.
who
argues
that
the
communications
media
 that
 are
 available
 in
 a
 society
 determine
 its
 form
 (Hartley
 2002.
 p.
 McLuhan’s
famous
sentence.
 Internet.
 New
 York:
 McGraw‐Hill)
 stresses
 the
 importance
 of
 the
 medium
 itself
 and
 gives
 less
 attention
 to
 the
 .
 6
 printing.
 referring
 to
 McLuhan
 1964.
 Technological
determinism
 
The
 theory
 of
 technological
 determinism
 argues
 that
 technology
 is
 the
 main
 force
 for
 social
 development.
 they
 are
 tools
 that
 help
 the
 human
 beings
 to
 overcome
 their
 inabilities.
 Famous
 representative
 of
 technological
 determinism
 in
 relation
 to
 the
 communication
 media
 is
 Marshall
 McLuhan.
 Understanding
 Media.
Today
one
technological
innovation
follows
the
 other:
 telegraph.
 225‐226).
 computer.
 How
 can
 the
 society
 adapt
 to
 the
 rapid
 pace
of
technological
development?
How
much
"technology"
can
the
daily
life
stand?
 And
 if
 the
 social
 changes
 occur
 with
 a
 “delay”
 to
 the
 technological
 changes.56).
 According
to
him.
 p.
a
Canadian
media
theorist.
there
intervened
centuries.


 The
 medium
 itself
 is
 more
 important
 than
 the
 content.
 technological
 changes
 bring
 necessarily
 social
 changes.
 Under
 which
law
is
technological
change
subject?
Does
it
take
place
because
of
a
natural
 necessity.
 
According
 to
 the
 theory
 of
 technological
 determinism.
would
 mean.
 natural.
 political.

If
we
accept
that
technological
development
is
the
primary
force
of
social
 change.
that
all
human
societies
should
have
similar
technological
progress.
 e.
for
all
its
insights
 into
the
specific
properties
of
technologies.
 economic
 and
 cultural
 context
 in
 which
 it
 was
 created.
 
The
 question
 here
 is
 whether
 the
 technology
 can
 be
 seen
 outside
 the
 social.
In
 this
 way
 the
 medium
 influences
 and
 forms
 us.
which
 is
 not
 the
 case.
 
As
 Andrew
 Murphy
 and
 John
 Potts
 in
 Culture
 and
 technology
 argue:
“
it
is
readily
apparent.
 because
 the
 receivers
 concentrate
 on
 the
 content
 and
 accept
 the
 medium
 as
 a
 fact.
that
technological
determinism.
 as
if
they
come
into
existence
of
their
own
accord
and
proceed
to
mould
societies
 .g.
 Exactly
 at
 this
 point
 lies
 the
 idea
 of
 technological
 determinism.
 7
 content.
In
removing
specific
technologies
from
 their
social
and
political
contexts.
namely
our
inability
to
reject
the
medium.
this
approach
treats
technologies
in
isolation.
 In
 this
 sense
 the
 technology
is
neutral
and
affects
the
society
from
outside.
 or
 is
 it
 the
 product
 of
 social
 circumstances?
 The
 theory
 of
 technological
 determinism
 seeks
 to
 explain
 and
 interpret
 the
 results
 of
 technological
development
but
does
not
give
an
adequate
explanation
about
its
 origins.
then
we
should
assume
that
technology
exists
independently
of
society
 and
 that
 its
 development
 is
 subject
 to
 other
 laws.
This.
offers
a
one‐sided
perspective
on
the
 relation
between
technology
and
culture.
 without
 doubt
 and
 without
 concern.
since
it
is
all
we
have.
however.


 cultural
 and
 technological
 context.e.
 According
 to
 him.
 economic.
p.

 “Supervening
 social
 necessities
 are
 the
 accelerators
 that
 push
 the
 development
 of
media
and
other
technology.
 arguing
 that
 the
 social
 and
 economic
 context.
 technological
 changes
 are
 accelerated
 by
 “supervening
 social
 necessities”.
 8
 in
their
image”.
and
a
“weaker”
 one.
 It
 can
 only
 answer
 the
 question.
technology
plays
the
key
role.

 Winston
 proposes
 that
 the
 theory
 of
 cultural
 determinism
 as
 more
 complete
 theoretical
basis
for
the
explanation
and
interpretation
of
technological
change.
 that
 explains
 technological
 change
as
the
biography
of
great
men
and
a
history
of
inventions.
In
both
cases.
i.
 p.
p.
(Culture
and
technology.e.
 situations
 that
 makes
 an
 existing
 invention
 necessary.
 when
a
technological
change
takes
place.
 i.
In
the
same
article
he
analyses
two
 forms
 of
 technological
 determinism.
the
trend
that
 ensures
 that
 a
 new
 invention
 will
 not
 disturb
 the
 given
 social.
 is
 ignored.
 that
 explains
 technological
 change
 as
 a
 series
 of
 major
 events
 and
 circumstances.
68
‐69).
 a
 strict
 one.
 political.
 in
 which
 technological
 changes
 occur.
59).
p.
however.
but
provides
no
answer
to
the
question
 “how”
it
takes
place
(Winston
2005.
 because
 it
 takes
 in
 account
 the
 social.
 economic
 and
 political
conditions
(Winston
2005.
 in
 which
 a
 change
 occurs
 (Winston
 2005.
17)

 

 Social
determinism
 Brian
 Winston
 in
 his
 article
 “How
 Are
 Media
 Born
 and
 Developed”
 criticizes
 technological
 determinism.
 and
 is
 slowed
down
by
the
“law
of
suppression
of
radical
potential”.”
 .
 65‐67).

.
 "Railroad
 development
 required
 instant
 signaling..
 or
 would
 it
 be
 more
 relevant
 to
 regard
 them
 as
 technological
 necessities?
 Is
 not
 in
 some
 cases
 the
 technology
 itself
 that
 leads
 to
 further
 innovations.
 political.
that
I
think
is
worthy
to
be
discussed:

 The
 reason
 of
 technological
 development
 is
 a
 social
 necessity
 (supervening
 social
necessity).
when
they
become
supervening
social
necessities.
68)

 “
..

There
is
a
point
here.
The
reasons
for
the
 adoption
 of
 a
 new
 technology
 can
 be
 social.
p.
Can
we
regard
such
cases
as
social
 necessities.
 9
 “
 
.
p.
which
could
cause
subsequent
social
changes?

 ..
 an
 so
 enabled
 telegraph
to
develop"
(Winston
2005.
This
statement
puts
technology
under
the
influence
of
society
 and
 assumes
 that
 an
 innovation
 will
 necessarily
 experience
 a
 state
 of
 “delay”.
 when
 they
 do
 not
 disturb
 the
 social
 and
 economic
 status
 quo.
 But
 if
 there
 are
 accelerators.”
(Winston
2005.
 i.
p.
 there
 are
 also
 breaks.
68).
 before
"it
is
seen
to
have
a
real
use”
(Winston
2005.e.
 economical.
69).
 
Technological
changes
occur.
 or
 another
 technology.
 the
 dominance
 of
 the
 nuclear
 family
 .
 These
 work
 to
 slow
 the
 disruptive
 impact
 of
 new
 technology.
 Because
 of
 these..
 The
 brakes
 ensure
 that
 a
 technology’s
 s
 introduction
does
not
disrupt
the
social
or
corporate
status
quo..
 the
 device
 finally
 moved
 out
 of
 the
 limbo
 of
 being
 an
 experiment
to
being
a
widely
diffused
consumer
product.
 and
when
they
manage
to
overcome
the
limitations
of
the
law
of
suppression
of
 radical
 potential.
 the
 supervening
 social
 necessities
 that
 influenced
 the
 development
 of
 television
 include
 the
 rise
 of
 the
 home.”
(Winston
2005.
 p.
68).


 The
 model
 of
 supervening
 social
 necessities
 and
 of
 the
 law
 of
 suppression
 suggests
 the
 primacy
 of
 social
 factors
 upon
 technology.
in
order
to
explain
social
change.
In
the
first
case
we
can
talk
about
a
revolutionary
change.
technology
determined.

 Conclusion
 
As
 shown
 in
 the
 paper.
gradual
changes
(such
as
the
improvement
of
 telecommunication
 device
 or
 a
 new
 generation
 of
 computers
 with
 improved
 features).


 .
 whether
 they
 are
 the
 primary
 force
 of
 all
 these
 changes.
 since
 it
 takes
 many
 factors
in
account.
 which
 develops
 internally
and
is.
while
in
the
 last
 case
 of
 a
 small
 change
 within
 a
 technological
 process.
 I
 suggest
a
combination
of
the
theories
of
technological
and
cultural
determinism.
 I
 believe
 that
 technological
 changes
 are
 closely
 associated
 with
 changes
 in
 the
 media
 regulation.
 To
 the
 question.
assuming
that
social
changes
are
always
the
 reason
 for
 technological
 changes
 is
 also
 an
 absolute
 position.
 ignores
 the
 social
 context
 and
 provides
 an
 one‐sided
 explanation
to
the
issue.
 This
 point
 of
 the
 theory
 of
 cultural
 determinism
 seems
 to
 me
 problematic.
in
my
opinion.
Technological
determinism
 on
 the
 other
 hand.
However.
 since
 it
 does
 not
 distinguish
 between
 intensive
 changes
 (such
 as
 the
 discovery
 of
 the
 internet.
 with
 emerging
 new
 markets
 and
with
social
changes.
 that
 there
 was
 previously
the
oldest)
and
smaller.
 10
 I
 regard
 cultural
 determinism
 as
 a
 more
 flexible
 theory.


 11
 
Although
 both
 theories
 have
 much
 to
 offer
 regarding
 the
 relationship
 between
 technology
 of
 communications
 media
 and
 society.
in
some
cases.
I
believe
that
in
a
society
with
such
rapid
 technological
 development. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 .
 A
 more
 flexible
 way
 of
 thinking
 could
 be
 the
 adaption
of
the
main
points
of
each
theory
and
the
inclusion
of
more
factors
of
 influence.
 there
 still
 remain
 questions
 without
 a
 satisfactory
 answer.
rather
than
absolute
and
exclusive.
 the
 contribution
 of
 personalities
 and
 the
 technological
necessity.
 theoretical
 approaches
 should
 be
 flexible
 and
 inclusive.
 such
 as
 the
 individual
 will.

Unit 8 of the MA in Mass Communications. A critical introduction. Anabelle (1995) Forms of Media and Ways of Knowing. London: MACMILLAN PRESS LTD. Ken (1989) Mass Communications and the Moder World. Levinson. London: Sage.
Cultural
and
Media
Studies.
 John
 (2003)
 Culture
 and
 Technology. 54 – 74.
 McQuail. Unit 11 of the MA in Mass Communications. Denis (2005) Mc Quail’s Mass Communication Theory (5 Edition). Brian (1995) (eds) How are Media Born and Developed? In Questioning the Media. ND Ward. Centre for Mass Communication Research. London: Sage. Themes in Comparative History. th McQuail.
 12
 References
 Hartley. Winston. University of Leicester.
 Paul
 (1999)
 Digital
 McLuhan. Unit 9 of the MA in Mass Communications. Ken (2006) Issues in the History of Mass Communications 1970 – 2005. Centre for Mass Communication Research. 23-38. A critical introduction.
 London:
Routledge.
 Andrew
 and
 Potts. pp.
John
(2002)
 Communication.
 Routledge. University of Leicester. Denis (2005) Media Regulation. Centre for Mass Communication Research. Ward.
The
Key
Concepts. London: Sage. ND 
 . In Questioning the Media. University of Leicester.
 A
 guide
 to
 the
 information
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