As Sociology (Instant Revision) by Rob Webb, Hal Westergaard

By Rob Webb, Hal Westergaard

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There are two main ways of measuring the distribution of wealth: the survey method and the estates method. The survey method involves asking people how much they own, while the estates method looks at how much the dead have left in their estate. Both methods tend to underestimate the extent of wealth. Respondents to surveys may play down the true extent of their wealth and statistics about inheritance tax tell us little about the extent of wealth owned by people who are alive or the extent of tax evasion.

Pluralists argue that there has been a divorce between ownership and control. Companies used to be owned and controlled by an individual or family, but now shareholders are the legal owners of large companies, whilst day-to-day control rests with managers and professionals. Pluralists believe in consumer sovereignty: the view that the consumer is king. Media corporations are geared to providing what the consumer wants, so it is ultimately the consumer who controls what media companies produce. This means that media professionals, such as editors and journalists, are aware of what their readers and viewers want and have to compete with each other for a share of the audience.

1) 3 Explain what sociologists mean by ‘deviance amplification’. (1) 4 Why does Hall argue that the mass media play a secondary role in the labelling process? (1) 5 What, in McRobbie’s view, has given moral panics a new dimension? (1) 6 Briefly define and illustrate what postmodernists mean by ‘pastiche’. (2) The answers are on pages 111–12. 35 M ASS M EDIA (6) Representations of social groups in the media Studies of representation examine images of social groups in the media. News and documentaries provide some examples, but other areas are drama and sitcoms, music, magazines, cinema, etc.

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