Senin, 12 Desember 2011

Alternative traditions of analysis: structural, behavioral and cultural

          Putting the matter simply, there are essentially three main alternative approaches: structural, behavioral and cultural.
          The structural approach derives mainly from sociology but includes perspective from history, law and economics. Its starting point is society-centric rather than media-centric and its primary object of attention is likely to be media system and organizations and their relationship to society. In so far as questions of content arise, the focus is likely to be on the effect of social structure and media systems on patterns of content. In so far as questions of media use and effect are concerned, the approach favours the analysis of representative aggregate data derived from surveys or complete sets of statistic. Fundamental dynamics of media phenomena are sought in differences of power and live-chances in society.
          The behavioral approaches has its principal roots in psychology and social psychology but is also represented by a sociological variant. In general, the object of interest is individual human behavior, especially in matters to do with choosing, processing and responding to communication messages (thus mass media use  and effect). Psychological approaches  are more likely to use experimental methods.  The sociological variant focuses on the behavior of members of socially defined populations and favours the multi-variate analysis of representative survey data collected in natural conditions. Individuals are classified according to relevant variables of social position, disposition and behavior, and the variables can be statistically manipulated. In the study of organizations, participant observation is commonly adopted. Context analysis is often practiced as a form of behavioral research. treating media documents (text) as the equivalent of populations which can also be sampled and submitted to statistical variable analysis.
          The cultural approach has its roots in the humanities, in anthropology and sociolinguistics. While very broad in potential, its has been mainly applied to questions of meaning and language, to the minutiae of particular social context and cultural experiences. It is more likely to be ‘media-centric’ (although not exclusively), sensitive to differences between media and settings of media making and perception, more interested in the in-depth understanding of particular or even unique cases and situations than in generalization. Its methods favour the qualitative and depth analysis of social and human-signifying practices.


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