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Utilization of Mass Communication by the Individual
Elihu Katz, Jay G. Blumler, and Michael Gurevitch
An Israeli-American sociologist. He has spent most of a lifetime in research on communication, his main focus being the interplay between media, conversation, opinion, and action in the public sphere. He is a Trustee Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Communication at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Scientific Director of the Guttman Institute of Applied Social Research. He is winner of the UNESCO-Canada McLuhan Prize, the Burda Prize (in media research), and other distinctions, including honorary degrees from the Universities of Ghent, Quebec in Montreal, Paris and Haifa. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Notable Works (with Paul F. Lazarsfeld) Personal Influence: The Part Played by People in the Flow of Mass Communications, Glencoe: The Free Press, 1956 (with Jay G. Blumler), eds. The Uses of Mass Communications: Current Perspectives on Gratification Research, Beverly Hills: Sage, 1974. (with Michael Gurevitch) The Secularization of Leisure: Culture and Communication in Israel, London: Faber and Faber, and Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1976.
Social Research on Broadcasting: Proposals for Further Development, London: BBC, 1977. (with Daniel Dayan) Media Events: The Live Broadcasting of History, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992 (with ItzhakYanovitzky) eds. Readings in Leisure, Culture and Communication 2 vols.). Ramat Aviv: Open University Press, 1999.
He is an American-born theorist of communication and media. He is now Emeritus Professor of Public Communication at the University of Leeds, and also Emeritus Professor of Journalism at the University of Maryland, having spent his early academic life largely in the UK. He was a political science graduate of Antioch College, and a doctoral student from 1947 at the London School of Economics. . He taught at Ruskin College, Oxford, before taking a position in Leeds in 1963, as Granada Television Research Fellow.
Notable Works: Television in Politics: Its Uses and Influences (1968) with Denis McQuail The Uses of Mass Communications: Current Perspectives on Gratifications Research (1974) with Elihu Katz The Challenge of Election Broadcasting. Report of an Enquiry by the Centre for Television Research, University of Leeds (1978) with Michael Gurevitch and Julian Ives Communicating to Voters: Television in the First European Parliamentary Elections (1983) editor with Anthony D. Fox
He is a Professor in the College of Journalism, and Affiliate Faculty, Department of Communication, University of Maryland. Notable Works: The Challenge of Election Broadcasting. Report of an Enquiry by the Centre for Television Research, University of Leeds (1978) with Jay G. Blumler and Julian Ives The Secularization of Leisure: Culture and Communication in Israel (1976) with Elihu Katz Culture, Society, and the Media (1982) Mass Media and Society (1991) Defining Media Studies: Reflections on the Future of the Field (1994)
The uses and gratifications approach examines the process of communication starting from the audience members’ individual perceptions. It investigates why individuals choose to use media. Identifies how people use media to satisfy their needs. It does not consider the power of media; more audience-centered.
Researcher Type of study Function (need gratified)Lazarsfeld-Stanton (1942, Program Analyzer ; to record 1944, 1949) viewer reactions as people were listening to certain radio programs. To match one’s wit against other, to get advice for daily Herzog (1942) On quiz programs and living, to provide a listening to soap operas framework for one’s day, to prepare oneself culturally for Suchman (1942) Motives for getting the demands of upward interested in serious music mobility, or to be reassured on radio about the dignity and usefulness of one’s role Wolfe and Fiske (1949) Development of children’s interest in comics Berelson (1949) Functions of newspaper reading
1. A basically similar methodological approach whereby statements about media functions were drawn out from the respondents in an essentially open-ended way.2. They shared a qualitative approach in their attempt to group gratification statements into labelled categories.3. They did not attempt to explore the links between gratifications.4. They failed to search for the interrelationships among the various media functions.5. The aforementioned studies did not result in an increasing detailed picture of media gratifications conducive to the formulation of theoretical statements.
The social and psychological origins of Needs which generate Expectations of The mass media and other sources, which lead to Differential patterns of media exposure (or engagement in other activities), resulting in Need gratifications and Other consequences, perhaps mostly unintended onesAll studies strive toward an assessment of media consumption in audience-related terms
Five assumptions were set that served as guidelines for conducting uses and gratifications research, based from Lundberg and Hulten’s model:1. The audience is active.2. The audience member links his/her need gratifications to media content.
3. The media compete with other sources of need satisfaction.4. People are aware of their needs and can indicate them media researchers.5. Judgments about the value of what people attend to should not be part of the research on uses and gratifications.
The assumptions do not, and were not intended to, provide a formal theory. They were only intended to “explain something of the way in which individuals use communications among other resources in their environment, to satisfy their needs and achieve goals.” They provided a broad set of ideas that helped the uses and gratifications as an emerging perspective.
Typologies of Audience Gratifications1. UNIFUNCTIONAL Function of Media McDonald (1957) To serve escapist desires Stephenson (1967) of audience Depriving it of more beneficial uses of communication Nordenstreng (1970) Gratifies need for social contact
2. BIFUNCTIONAL Function of Media Weiss (1971) Fantasist-escapist/informational- educational Schramm (1949) Distinguished between sets of Schramm, Lyle, and Parker (1961) immediate and deferred Pietila (1969) gratification Furu (1971) Distinction between informational and entertainment materials Distinction between surveillance and escape use of the media
3. FOUR FUNCTIONAL Function of Media Laswell (1948) Surveillance Correlation Cultural transmission/Socialization Wright (1960) Includes entertainment Dysfunctional equivalents of Lasswell’s typology
4. RECENT INVESTIGATIONS Function of Media McQuail, Blumler, and Brown Diversion (Escape from constraints of (1972) routine and burdens of problems) Emotional release Personal relationships (Substitute companionship and social utility) Personal identity (Personal reference, reality exploration and value reinforcement) Surveillance Katz, Haas, Gurevitch (1973) To connect or disconnect themselves (Via instrumental, affective, or integrative relations with different kinds of others whether self, family, friend, or nations)
Gratifications and Needs The study of mass media use suffers at present from the absence of a relevant theory of social and psychological needs. Issue: the long-standing problem of social and psychological science: how to (and whether to bother to) systematize long lists of human and societal needs. Thus far, gratifications research has stayed closed to what we have been calling media-related needs (in the sense that the media have been observed to satisfy them, at least in part).
Sources of Media Gratifications Audience gratifications can be derived from at least three distinct sources: media content, exposure to the media per se, and the social context that represents the situation of exposure to different media. Researcher Need Media Waples, Berelson, Need to relax or Television and Bradshaw (1940) kill time Radio Berelson (1949) Need to feel that one’s spending time worthwhile Mendelsohn (1964) Need to structure Radio one’s day
Each medium seems to offer a unique combination of:(a) characteristic contents(b) typical attributes (Print vs. Broadcasting mode of transmission, Reading vs. Audio or audio-visual modes of reception)(c) typical exposure situations (Home vs. Out-of-home, Alone vs. With others) Issue: what combinations of attributes may render different media more or less adequate for the satisfaction of different needs.
Gratification and Media Attributes Two ways of division of labour among the media for the satisfaction of audience needs: taking media attributes as the starting point or utilizing the latent structure of needs as a point of departure.
1. Media attributes differ and are more likely to serve different or similar needs Researcher Findings Type of Media Robinson (1972) Interchangeability Television of media for learning Print purposesKatz, Gurevitch and Haas Five media in Books+Newspaper = Books+Cinema (1973) circumplex with their Radio+Newspaper = Radio+Television functional similarities (Books-newspapers- Books+Newspaper = technological radio-television- and informational function cinema-books) Books+Film = aesthetic function Radio+Television = technology & entertainment function Radio+Newspaper = information & reality orientation
2. Needs that are psychologically related or conceptually similar will equally served by the same media with similar attributes. Structurally related needs will tend to be serviced by certain media more often than by others. Type of Media Needs Books + Cinema Self-fulfillment and self- gratification Help connect individuals to themselves Newspaper + Radio + Connect individuals to society Television
Media dependency theory states that the more dependent an individual is on the media for having his or her needs fulfilled, the more important the media will be to that person. It has been explored as an extension of or an addition to the uses and gratifications approach . The theory was created by Melvin DeFleur and Sandra Ball-Rokeach.
DeFleur and Ball-Rokeach described dependency as the correlating relationship between media content, the nature of society, and the behavior of audiences. They suggested that active selectors’ use of the media to achieve their goals will result in being dependent on the media.
1. First, you will become more dependent on media that meet a number of your needs than on media that provide just a few.2. Second is social stability. When social change and conflict are high, established institutions, beliefs, and practices are challenged, forcing you to reevaluate and make new choices. At such times your reliance on the media for information will increase. At other, more stable times your dependency on media may go way down.
The intensity of media dependency depends on how much people perceive that the media they choose are meeting their goals. These goals were into three dimensions which cover a wide range of individual objectives:1. Social and self-understanding2. Interaction and action orientation3. Social and solitary play
The authors also suggested that more than one kind of goal can be activated (and satisfied) by the same medium.
Dependency on a specific medium is influenced by the number of media sources available to an individual. Individuals should become more dependent on available media if their access to media alternatives is limited. The more alternatives there are for an individual, the lesser is the dependency on and influence of a specific medium.
Ball-Rokeach, S. J. & DeFleur, M. L. (1989). Theories of Mass Communication (5th ed.). New York: Longman. DeFleur, M. (2010). Mass Communication Theories: Explaining Origins, Processes, and Effects. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. Rossi, E. (2002). Uses & gratifications/dependency theory. Retrieved January 7, 2012, from http://zimmer.csufresno.edu/~johnca/spch100/7-4- uses.htm.
Wikipedia (). Jay Blumler. Retrieved January 7, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Blumler Wikipedia (). Elihu Katz. Retrieved January 7, 2021, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elihu_Katz WorldCat Identities (). Michael Gurevitch. Retrieved January 8, 2012, from http://www.worldcat.org/identities/lccn-n50- 82078