Monday, November 29, 2010

Hallin & Mancini: The Forces and Limits of Homogenization by Krista Tietjen

This chapter focuses on the process of homogenization in European media systems. Hallin and Mancini begin by discussing the increasing success of the Liberal Model, which we have previously discussed this semester, in Europe. Party newspapers have declined in favor of commercial papers whose goal is to make a profit. Broadcasting has similarly shifted from informational forms that center around the political party system to the dramatized style that was pioneered in the United States. Politics have become more media centered as well, with television-centered campaigning directed at mass audiences.

The first term discussed in this chapter is differentiation, meaning simply that European media systems have become increasingly separated from political institutions. This does not mean that media loses all relationship with the political world, but instead that media operates on it’s own media logic that displaces the logic of party politics and bargaining.
Hallin and Mancini then introduce four processes that have affected European media systems and their relation to one another.

1.) Americanization, which means two things. First, it means that European media and communication processes have come to resemble American patterns in important ways. Second, it means that there is clear evidence of direct American influence where American forms of journalism are widely imitated. An example of this influence is the American owned French newspaper, Le Matin, which shows that the practice of interviewing was spread to Europe by American reporters.

Under Americanization, it is also important to point out that American models of journalistic education have played an important role in worldwide trends for formal training in journalism, creating a global journalistic culture.

2.) Modernization is connected to structural-functionalism, which argues that societies tend to evolve toward greater functional specialization among social institutions, and greater differentiation of those institutions from one another. Under modernization, professionalism is highly important.

3.) Secularization relates to the separation of citizens from attachments to religious and ideological beliefs. It also represents the decline of institutions based on these faiths that were once widely seen throughout Europe. Secularization means the decline of a political and social order based on these religious institutions, and its replacement by a more fragmented and individualized society. Individual leaders have also become more important to a political party’s appeal, replacing the importance of ideology and group loyalty.

4.) Commercialization is what Hallin & Mancini believe to be the most powerful force for homogenization of media systems. In relation to the print media, there was an increasing dominance of “omnibus” commercial newspapers instead of party press. In the realm of broadcasting, there was the transformation of European broadcasting from an almost purely public service system to a system in which commercial broadcasting is increasingly dominant. Finally, economic globalization combined with various broadcasting policies facilitated the transnationalization of media industries, where ownership is internationalized. Commericialization is also related to the process of political communication, as there is now a tendency to reach out to the common and ordinary citizen. Commercialization also clearly means that there is a drive to entertain in order to sell, which can be seen in the amount of political scandals that are being reported.

Finally, Hallin and Mancini discuss the importance of differentiation theory is relation to homogenization. This theory is relevant and consistent with secularization.

No comments:

Post a Comment