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Media, Technologies and Social Change Research Paper (Research Paper Sample)


choose an event, issue or movement since the eighteenth century that illustrates the role of media as an agent of political, social or culture change. Examples are books and pamphleteering during the American War of Independence, journalism and the French Revolution, music and the counter- culture of the 1960s or youth subcultures today, or new digital media and the 2008 American Presidential Election, Arab Spring or Wikileaks. You must draw on both theory and evidence to make your case.


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Studies have revealed that there exists numerous post 18th century events that can be used to illustrate role of media as an agent of political, social or culture change (Joachim, Plévert & Crisp, 2009). These changes can as well be understood by looking at journalism and the French revolution (Leepson, 2011). However, research indicates that preceding the last several decades’ scholars had failed to identify journalism as having played a major role in instigating changes as concerns the French revolution. Instead of identifying the role of the media in instigating the aforementioned changes, historians relied on published information about the revolution to derive sequential and sociological aid (Alcock, 2000). However, modern scholars have come to the realization that not only can such information be used in such matters but that the information can as well be used to understand how the media played a key role in birthing, sustaining, and propagating changes in the social, political, and cultural fronts (Brooman, 1992). It is also important to note that the French revolution has been viewed as an epochal journalism event because of two reasons.
The first reason is that the event basically occurred due to an unparalleled explosion of printed text, pictures, and oral media (Carlyle & Scurr, 2010). As Claire (2000, p. 2) indicates, these journalistic explosions led to the democratization of partisan mass communiqué that in turn served to accelerate the French revolution. The second reason has to do with the fact that the event was composed of a series of spectacular as well as sensational major historical events (Frey & Frey, 2004). The role of journalism becomes evident as he media took the responsibility of communicating these events throughout Europe by means of printed text, images translated from the happenings, and songs (Haine, 2000). Drawing from the above aforementioned reasons, Egendorf (2004) believes that the French revolution is actually the most conspicuous journalism happenings after the reformation (Haine, 2000). This research paper seeks to illustrate how the events surrounding journalism and the French revolution illustrate the role of media as an agent of political, social or culture change.
Prior to the revolution, the French society was mostly ruled by those who dominated the printing industry (Haine, 2000). However, the influence of the media just before the revolution brought about a form of equity in the society as writers from the lower and middle classes rose to enter the corridors of power (Jennings, 2011). The media played an irreplaceable role in this by shifting from comprehensive books that could only be afforded and written by the top cream of the society to short writings that could reach everyone. The young writers took note of the mass movements and the speeches given by those steering change in the change in France to produce excellent reports and consequently revolutionize the Journalism industry and the entire society as well (Leepson, 2011). Major changes in the society occurred in the form of people realizing the importance of using the channels provided by media to make their pinions known to the masses (Jennings, 2011). As Ross (2001) asserts, the increasing presence of pamphlets and newspapers caused the French population to realize that powerful people in the society were not the only ones who could be hard in the country but that journalism provided a conduit through which all could express their views. Consequently, the society transformed from one that denied citizens the right of participating in national politics to one that accepted citizen participation in the arena (Rudé, 1988).
Studies indicate that journalism through the provision of numerous channels of communication inclusive of songs in print form, posters, and even medallions helped the society transform socially and politically because it was no longer possible to suppress the voice of the masses (Zuckich, 2010). Hence, the political changes that gave the citizens the rights to participate in politics can only be explained by considering the roles played by the media. In support of the role of journalism in making the social and political changes possible, Ross (2001) argues that the fact that the media had made it possible for all people to access printed information informed the people of their political rights causing a societal change whereby people began to be segmented based on their political affiliations. This explains why prior to the revolution, public debates became common for the simple reason that journalism through the numerous channels helped mobilize supporters and opponents via dissemination of information (Zuckich, 2010).
According to Zuckich (2010), journalism brought about a major cultural change while considering the events surrounding the French revolution. This simply means that people living in France during this time were triggered in to adopting a reading culture that was not as common prior to the aggressiveness of the media industry. Pamphleteering can b used to explain this particular change in culture. A group of new and able writers sprung forth producing approximately 40,000 prints and pamphlets to meet the increasing demand for information in print in the course of the revolution (Joachim, Plévert & Crisp, 2009). Research indicates that although 60% of the population were previously not interested in much reading, by the time the revolution period was half underway the percentage had decreased to a mere 8% (Frey & Frey, 2004). This means that apart from the increasing levels of curiosity by a population that was eager to find out the proceedings of the revolution, journalism played a major role in altering the state of the reading culture in the country by providing the materials needed to instigate a reading culture (Alcock, 2000). This culture was further propagated by patriotic writers who produced pieces of print information that criticized the long-standing aristocracy expressing their contentment and appreciation of the revolution (Frey & Frey, 2004). As research indicates, since then French citizens adopted a culture of reading media prints. The media also played the role of changing the country from political dictatorship to democracy, which is the epitome of any advantageous political change (Brooman, 1992).
Attached to this political change also was a societal change that becomes evident considering the fact that the revolution came under the semblance of the Catholic Religious ceremonies. This change according to (Frey and Frey (2004) took place by pulling many of French residents at the time towards religion or the church. Research indicates that prior to the onset of the revolution although the Catholic churches were already erected in most parts of France, only 46% of the population paid regards (Brooman, 1995). However, as time went by and people began to realize that the only way out of the old aristocracy was the Catholic Liturgy, people began to attend masses in church increasing the percentile of church goers to 80% (Carlyle & Scurr, 2010). Although the percentile may have changed after the revolution, the statistics indicate the presence of a force that caused such a change in the society. As Brooman (1995) opines, the force behind this change was the ability of Catholic leaders to take advantage of the platform accrued by the media to propagate political change. Leaders from the religious front had realized the importance of using the media as a conduit of communicating to the masses on the ills of the present crisis and the need for a change in the political arena. Consequently, they published various prints such as the Gospel of Freedom in an attempt to illuminate the masses (Carlyle & Scurr, 2010). Because of this, most people who had negated going to church were drawn there in search of enlightenment and by the end of the revolution attending church had become a lifestyle for most of the people living in France. This is to indicate that journalism played an irreplaceable role in altering the people’s culture or way of life (Joachim, Plévert & Crisp, 2009).
Additionally, journalism changed the culture of the people during the revolution by using one of the common means of communicating at the time- theatrics (Brooman, 1995).
Since the enlightened in the community sought to have their counterparts understand the need and necessity for change, those who were gifted in acting or could not produce written information for print turned to a different channel of deploying journalism- acting. As research indicates, actors and producers of the time turned to newspapers in order to come up with scripts for their plays (Rudé, 1988). By so doing, they made picturesque depictions of the information in these newspapers by coming up with theatrical characters to represent those in power and others to represent the common man. These journalistic plays served to provide information to the public that was a necessary for the revolution (Jennings, 2011). Apart from churches, the citizens also turned to theaters for illumination. According to Alcock (2000), only 64% of the population during this time attended theaters prior to the onset of the revolution. However, the percentage grew to almost 88% as time went by. This means that journalism became a tool for bringing about social change and affecting the people’s way of life during the French revolution (Rudé, 1988).
The use of pictures by the media also played a major role in bringing about political changes in France in t...
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