By Rob Webb, Hal Westergaard
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Deviance is an example of behaviour about which audiences often lack direct experience. This helps to explain why media coverage of deviance can create moral panics. The effect of moral panics is to reinforce the moral boundaries of society. From a functionalist point of view this creates social solidarity by reinforcing the shared values of the community, but Marxists argue that scapegoating of minority groups deflects attention from class inequality and protects the position of the powerful. Hall’s encoding/decoding model examines the relationship between media production and effects.
This results in stereotypes that perpetuate prejudice and discrimination. Women’s magazines have been a focal point for studies of gender in the media. Ferguson found that from 1949 to 1974 the magazines’ main themes were love, marriage and self-improvement, reflecting a cult of femininity. By 1980, however, there was a new emphasis on self-esteem and mutual support, reflecting the struggle for women’s independence. Women were not represented solely as housewives. McRobbie observes a similar change of approach in magazines aimed at teenage girls.
Applying the deviance amplification model, they show how news and documentaries tend to focus on ethnic minorities mainly when they are in confrontation with authority. This results in stereotypes that perpetuate prejudice and discrimination. Women’s magazines have been a focal point for studies of gender in the media. Ferguson found that from 1949 to 1974 the magazines’ main themes were love, marriage and self-improvement, reflecting a cult of femininity. By 1980, however, there was a new emphasis on self-esteem and mutual support, reflecting the struggle for women’s independence.
As Sociology (Instant Revision) by Rob Webb, Hal Westergaard