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Technology, Industries, Content, and Users

Sixth Edition

August 2018 | 488 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

“The best text to help students understand the often-complicated, ever-changing relationship between media and society.”

—Seong-Jae Min, Pace University

Providing a framework for understanding the relationship between media and society, this updated Sixth Edition of Media/Society helps students develop the skills they need to critically evaluate both conventional wisdom and their own assumptions about the social role of the media. The book retains its acclaimed sociological framework but now includes additional discussions of new research and up-to-date coverage of today’s rapidly changing media landscape. Now featuring streamlined content and a more engaging narrative, this edition offers expanded discussions of the “new media” world, including digitization, the internet, the spread of mobile media devices, the role of user-generated content, the potential social impact of new media on society, and new media’s effect on traditional media outlets.

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Use ISBN: 9781544361246 

Chapter 1. Media/Society in a Digital World
The Importance of Media

Models of Communication Media

A Sociology of Media

A Model of Media and the Social World

Applying the Model: Civil Rights in Two Media Eras


Discussion Questions

Chapter 2. The Evolution of Media Technology
The History of Media Technology

Technological Determinism and Social Constructionism

From Print to the Internet


Discussion Questions

Chapter 3. The Economics of the Media Industry
Media Companies in the Internet Era

Changing Patterns of Ownership

Consequences of Conglomeration and Integration

The Effects of Concentration

The Impact of Advertising


Discussion Questions

Chapter 4. Political Influence on Media
Media and Democracy

Free Speech to Free Markets: The Evolution of U.S. Regulatory Policy

Regulation in International Perspective

Competing Interests and the Regulation Debate

Regulating Ownership

Regulating Content

Regulating Access and Distribution

Informal Political, Social, and Economic Pressure


Discussion Questions

Chapter 5. Media Organizations and Professionals
The Limits of Economic and Political Constraints

Decision Making for Profit: Imitation, Hits, and Stars

The Organization of Media Work

Occupational Roles and Professional Socialization

Norms on the Internet, New Media, and New Organizations


Discussion Questions

Chapter 6. Media and Ideology
What Is Ideology?

Theoretical Roots of Ideological Analysis

News Media and the Limits of Debate

Movies, the Military, and Masculinity

Television, Popularity, and Ideology

Rap Music as Ideological Critique?

Advertising and Consumer Culture

Advertising and the Globalization of Culture

Internet Ideology


Discussion Questions

Chapter 7. Social Inequality and Media Representation
Comparing Media Content and the “Real” World

The Significance of Content

Race, Ethnicity, and Media Content: Inclusion, Roles, and Control

Gender and Media Content

Class and the Media

Sexual Orientation: Out of the Closet and into the Media


Discussion Questions

Chapter 8. Audiences and Creators
The Active Audience: Balancing Agency and Structure

Decoding Meanings and Social Position

The Pleasures of Media: Celebrity Games

The Social Context of Media Use

The Limits of Interpretation

From Active Audience to Resistant Actors

Content Creation and Distribution


Discussion Questions

Chapter 9. Media Influence
Learning from Media Effects Research

Early Works: Establishing the Agenda

Mitigating Media Effects

Highlighting Media Influence


The Mediatization of Politics

Digital Dilemmas: Online Media Influence


Discussion Questions

Chapter 10. Globalization and the Future of Media
What Is Globalization?

The Global Media Industry

Interpreting Global Media Content

Regulating Global Media

Global Media Users: Limits of the “Global Village”

The Ubiquity of Change and the Future of Media

Discussion Questions

About the Authors


Instructor Site
  • Microsoft® Word® test bank is available containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course. Highlight essential content, features, and artwork from the book.
  • Lecture notes summarize key concepts on a chapter-by-chapter basis to help with preparation for lectures and class discussions.
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses provide suggested models for use when creating the syllabi for your courses.
  • Chapter-specific discussion questions help launch classroom interaction by prompting students to engage with the material and by reinforcing important content. 
  • Lively and stimulating ideas for class activities that can be used in class to reinforce active learning. The activities apply to individual or group projects.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected for each chapter. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the chapter. This feature also provides questions to focus and guide student interpretation. Combine cutting-edge academic journal scholarship with the topics in your course for a robust classroom experience.
  • Web exercises direct both instructors and students to useful and current web sites, along with creative activities to extend and reinforce learning or allow for further research on important chapter topics. 
Student Site
  • Mobile-friendly web quizzes allow for independent assessment of progress made in learning course material.

  • Study questions reinforce key concepts in each chapter for self-review. 

  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles have been carefully selected for each chapter. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the chapter. This feature also provides questions to focus and guide your interpretation.
  • Multimedia content includes links to video, audio, web pages to enhance exploration of key topics

“The best text to help students understand the often-complicated, ever-changing relationship between media and society.”

Seong-Jae Min
Pace University

“I have finally found a textbook that places media research in a historical perspective and that also includes a comprehensive section on the media and its relationship to ideology, politics, and culture.”

Jane Bloodworth Rowe
Old Dominion University

Media/Society gives students a comprehensive picture of the present-day media, media-related issues, and the future. Current controversial issues like electronic surveillance, privacy and national security, and political influence on the media have been carefully explained by the authors.”

Abhijit Sen
Winston-Salem State University

“It comes at the sociology of media from every angle, providing in-depth discussion of how media are shaped, consumed, and disseminated.”

Stephen Hagan
McKendree University

“The book provides a sound analysis of the contemporary issues in media representations and conceptual approaches to the understanding of media and media technology.”

Ola Ogunyemi
University of Lincoln, UK

Great textbook, very user friendly student and instructor resources

Volkan Aytar
Sociology/Anthropology Dept, Virginia Commonwealth Univ
August 12, 2020
Key features


  • An expanded discussion of media technology and a deepened historical overview now appear earlier in the book to better frame later discussions that emphasize how social influences ultimately determine the ways technology is used.
  • New coverage of the array of players in the contemporary media environment, including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Netflix—even Amazon and Apple—is included, as are older and now integrated telecommunications firms such as Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon.
  • Updated research, the latest industry data, and current examples from popular media illustrate enduring themes in the sociology of media.
  • A new exploration of the meaning of content in an era of abundance considers the impact of today’s countless streaming options, deep on-demand catalogs, lower production costs, and diversifying producers.
  • A focus on the expanded role of users encompasses everything from consumption and interpretation of media to commenting on and creating media content.
  • We take a look at media as lived experience, fully integrated into a lifestyle where digital media and face-to-face interactions are interwoven. 
  • In-depth coverage of recent issues, including privacy, internet consolidation, the rising influence of algorithms, new monopolies, “fake news,” online safety, and invasive marketing, help readers understand key media issues.
  • An expanded introduction to simple media models considers what “media” are and what constitutes “mass” media in our time.
  • A global perspective throughout the book includes a focus on topics such the global media industry, regulation of media globally, and social media use around the world
  • SAGE edge provides students helpful tools, including eFlashcards, practice quizzes, and more, in one easy-to-use online environment. 


  • A “big picture” sociological approach examines overarching relationships between the various components of the media process (the industry, its products, audiences, technology, and the broader social world) to help students develop a broad understanding.
  • Integrated coverage of media technologies, collective influences, and connections between mass media issues that are often treated as separate provide a clear picture of media today.
  • An emphasis on how economic and political constraints shape the media and how audiences actively construct their own interpretations of media messages helps students understand key concepts.
  • A wide range of current examples connect theory to everyday life.
  • A variety of tables, helpful figures, and stimulating photos enhance student understanding.

For instructors

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