Mass society

Mass society is any society of the modern era that possesses a mass culture and large-scale, impersonal, social institutions.[1] A mass society is a "society in which prosperity and bureaucracy have weakened traditional social ties".[2] Descriptions of society as a "mass" took form in the 19th century, referring to the leveling tendencies in the period of the Industrial Revolution that undermined traditional and aristocratic values.

In the work of early 19th century political theorists such as Alexis de Tocqueville, the term was used in discussions of elite concerns about a shift in the body politic of the Western world pronounced since the French Revolution. Such elite concerns centered in large part on the "tyranny of the majority", or mob rule.

In the late 19th century, in the work of Émile Durkheim, the term was associated with society as a mass of undifferentiated, atomistic individuals. In 20th century neo-Marxist accounts, such as those of the Frankfurt School, mass society was linked to a society of alienated individuals held together by a culture industry that served the interests of capitalism.

Conservative accounts in the 20th century critiqued mass society from a different perspective. José Ortega y Gasset, for instance, lamented the decline of high culture in mass society.

Concept

Mass society as an ideology can be seen as dominated by a small number of interconnected elites who control the conditions of life of the many, often by means of persuasion and manipulation.[3] This indicates the politics of mass society theorists- they are advocates of various kinds of cultural elite who should be privileged and promoted over the masses, claiming for themselves both exemption from and leadership of the misguided masses.[4]

"As technological innovation allowed government to expand, the centralized state grew in size and importance." "Since then, government has assumed responsibility for more and more areas of social life: schooling, regulating wages and working conditions, establishing standards for products of all sorts, and providing financial assistance to the elderly, the ill, and the unemployed." "In a mass society, power resides in large bureaucracies, leaving people in local communities with little control over their lives. For example, state officials mandate that local schools must meet educational standards, local products must be government-certified, and every citizen must maintain extensive tax records. Although such regulations may protect and enhance social equality, they also force us to deal more and more with nameless officials in distant and often unresponsive bureaucracies, and they undermine the autonomy of families and local communities."[5]

Mass society theory has been active in a wide range of media studies, where it tends to produce ideal visions of what the mass media such as television and cinema are doing to the masses. Therefore, the mass media are necessary instruments for achieving and maintaining mass societies. "The mass media give rise to national culture that washes over the traditional differences that used to set off one region from another." "Mass-society theorists fear that the transformation of people of various backgrounds into a generic mass may end up dehumanizing everyone."[6]

Sociologist C. Wright Mills made a distinction between a society of "masses" and "public".

As he tells: "In a public, as we may understand the term,

  1. virtually as many people express opinions as receive them,
  2. Public communications are so organized that there is a chance immediately and effectively to answer back any opinion expressed in public.
  3. Opinion formed by such discussion readily finds an outlet in effective action, even against – if necessary – the prevailing system of authority.
  4. And authoritative institutions do not penetrate the public, which is thus more or less autonomous in its operations.

In a mass,

  1. far fewer people express opinions than receive them; for the community of public becomes an abstract collection of individuals who receive impressions from the mass media.
  2. The communications that prevail are so organized that it is difficult or impossible for the individual to answer back immediately or with any effect.
  3. The realization of opinion in action is controlled by authorities who organize and control the channels of such action.
  4. The mass has no autonomy from institutions; on the contrary, agents of authorized institutions penetrate this mass, reducing any autonomy it may have in the formation of opinion by discussion".[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ http://bitbucket.icaap.org/dict.pl?term=MASS%20SOCIETY
  2. ^ (Macionis, J. p. 496)
  3. ^ McQuail, 2005, p. 449.
  4. ^ Hartley, 1982
  5. ^ (Macionis, J. p. 498)
  6. ^ (Macionis, J. p. 498)
  7. ^ C. Wright Mills, on Democracy in The Power Elite (1956)

Bibliography

  • Biddiss, M. 1977, The Age of the Masses, Penguin, Harmondsworth.
  • Hartley, J. 1982, Understanding News, Methuen, London.
  • Macionis, John J. (2009). Culture, society: The basics. 10th edition (pp. 496–98). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall Publishers.
  • McQuail, D. 2005, McQuail's Mass Communication Theory (fifth edition), Sage, London.
  • Mills, C.W. 1956, The Power Elite, Oxford University Press, New York.
  • Swingewood, A. 1977, The Myth of Mass Culture, Macmillan, London.

Further reading

  • Kornhauser, William. "The Politics of Mass Society", (1959). New York: The Free Press.
  • Ortega y Gasset, Jose. The Revolt of the Masses, anonymous translation (1932). The Spanish original: La Rebellion de las Masas (1930).
  • Tuttle, Howard N. The Crowd is Untruth: The Existential Critique of Mass Society in the Thought of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Ortega y Gassett (1996). (American University Studies: Ser. 5, Philosophy; Vol. 176) New York: Peter Lang. ISBN 0-8204-2866-3
Anarcho-naturism

Anarcho-naturism (also anarchist naturism and naturist anarchism) appeared in the late 19th century as the union of anarchist and naturist philosophies. In many of the alternative communities established in Britain in the early 1900s, "nudism, anarchism, vegetarianism and free love were accepted as part of a politically radical way of life". In the 1920s, the inhabitants of the anarchist community at Whiteway, near Stroud in Gloucestershire, "shocked the conservative residents of the area with their shameless nudity". Mainly, it had importance within individualist anarchist circles in Spain, France, Portugal and Cuba.Anarcho-naturism advocates vegetarianism, free love, nudism, hiking and an ecological world view within anarchist groups and outside them. Anarcho-naturism also promotes an ecological worldview, small ecovillages, and most prominently nudism as a way to avoid the artificiality of the industrial mass society of modernity. Naturist individualist anarchists see the individual in their biological, physical and psychological aspects and try to eliminate social determinations.

Anarcho-primitivism

Anarcho-primitivism is an anarchist critique of the origins and progress of civilization. According to anarcho-primitivism, the shift from hunter-gatherer to agricultural subsistence gave rise to social stratification, coercion, alienation, and overpopulation. Anarcho-primitivists advocate a return of non-"civilized" ways of life through deindustrialization, abolition of the division of labor or specialization, and abandonment of large-scale organization technologies. Many traditional anarchists reject the critique of civilization while some, such as Wolfi Landstreicher, endorse the critique but do not consider themselves anarcho-primitivists. Anarcho-primitivists are often distinguished by their focus on the praxis of achieving a feral state of being through "rewilding".

Catholic Women's League

The Catholic Women's League (CWL) is a Roman Catholic lay organisation founded by Margaret Fletcher aimed at women in England and Wales.Through emigration in the past, the CWL may be found in some Commonwealth countries. It is especially flourishing in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

Culture industry

The term culture industry (German: Kulturindustrie) was coined by the critical theorists Theodor Adorno (1903–1969) and Max Horkheimer (1895–1973), and was presented as critical vocabulary in the chapter "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception", of the book Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944), wherein they proposed that popular culture is akin to a factory producing standardized cultural goods—films, radio programmes, magazines, etc.—that are used to manipulate mass society into passivity. Consumption of the easy pleasures of popular culture, made available by the mass communications media, renders people docile and content, no matter how difficult their economic circumstances. The inherent danger of the culture industry is the cultivation of false psychological needs that can only be met and satisfied by the products of capitalism; thus Adorno and Horkheimer especially perceived mass-produced culture as dangerous to the more technically and intellectually difficult high arts. In contrast, true psychological needs are freedom, creativity, and genuine happiness, which refer to an earlier demarcation of human needs, established by Herbert Marcuse. (See Eros and Civilization, 1955).

Culture jamming

Culture jamming (sometimes guerrilla communication) is a tactic used by many anti-consumerist social movements to disrupt or subvert media culture and its mainstream cultural institutions, including corporate advertising. It attempts to "expose the methods of domination" of a mass society to foster progressive change.Culture jamming is a form of subvertising. Many culture jams are intended to expose questionable political assumptions behind commercial culture. Culture jamming makes use of the technique détournement, which uses the language and rhetoric of the mainstream paradigm or culture to subversively critique the paradigm or culture. Tactics include re-figuring logos, fashion statements, and product images as a means to challenge the idea of "what's cool". Culture jamming often entails using mass media to produce ironic or satirical commentary about itself, commonly using the original medium's communication method.

Culture jamming is employed as a reaction against social conformity. Prominent examples of culture jamming include the adulteration of billboard advertising by the Billboard Liberation Front (BLF), and contemporary artists such as Ron English. Culture jamming may involve street parties and protests. While culture jamming usually focuses on subverting or critiquing political and advertising messages, some proponents focus on a more positive (often musically inspired) form which brings together artists, scholars, and activists to create new types of cultural production that transcend – rather than merely criticize – the status quo.

Cynicism (contemporary)

Cynicism is an attitude characterized by a general distrust of others' motives. A cynic may have a general lack of faith or hope in the human species or people motivated by ambition, desire, greed, gratification, materialism, goals, and opinions that a cynic perceives as vain, unobtainable, or ultimately meaningless and therefore deserving of ridicule or admonishment. Cynicism is often confused with skepticism, perhaps due to either inexperience or the belief that man is innately good. Thus, contemporary usage incorporates both a form of jaded prudence (when misapplied) and realistic criticism or skepticism. The term originally derives from the ancient Greek philosophers, the Cynics, who rejected all conventions, whether of religion, manners, housing, dress, or decency, instead advocating the pursuit of virtue in accordance with a simple and idealistic way of life.

By the 19th century, emphasis on the ascetic ideals and the critique of current civilization based on how it might fall short of an ideal civilization or negativistic aspects of Cynic philosophy led the modern understanding of cynicism to mean a disposition of disbelief in the sincerity or goodness of human motives and actions. Modern cynicism is a distrust toward professed ethical and social values, especially when there are high expectations concerning society, institutions, and authorities that are unfulfilled. It can manifest itself as a result of frustration, disillusionment, and distrust perceived as owing to organizations, authorities, and other aspects of society.

Gabriel Marcel

Gabriel Honoré Marcel (1889–1973) was a French philosopher, playwright, music critic and leading Christian existentialist. The author of over a dozen books and at least thirty plays, Marcel's work focused on the modern individual's struggle in a technologically dehumanizing society. Though often regarded as the first French existentialist, he dissociated himself from figures such as Jean-Paul Sartre, preferring the term philosophy of existence or neo-Socrateanism to define his own thought. The Mystery of Being is a well-known two-volume work authored by Marcel.

Latin Mass Society of England and Wales

The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales is a Catholic society dedicated to making the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, also known as the Tridentine Mass, more widely available in England and Wales. The group organised a petition for the Latin Mass in England and Wales which the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal John Heenan, presented to Pope Paul VI, who granted a papal indult in 1971.The current chairman is the academic Joseph Shaw.

List of anarchist communities

This is a list of anarchist communities representing any society or portion thereof founded by anarchists that functions according to anarchist philosophy and principles. Anarchists have been involved in a wide variety of community experiments since the 19th century. There are numerous instances in which a community organizes itself along philosophically anarchist lines to promote regional anarchist movements, counter-economics and countercultures. These have included intentional communities founded by anarchists as social experiments and community oriented projects, such as collective organizations and cooperative businesses. There are also several instances of mass society "anarchies" that have come about from explicitly anarchist revolutions, including the Free Territory of Ukraine and the Shinmin autonomous region in Manchuria.

Low culture

"Low culture" is a derogatory term for forms of popular culture that have mass appeal. Its contrast is "high culture", which can also be derogatory. It has been said by culture theorists that both high culture and low culture are subcultures.

The boundaries of low culture and high culture blur, through convergence. Many people are "omnivores", making cultural choices from different menus.

Mass movement

A mass movement denotes a political party or movement which is supported by large segments of a population. Political movements that typically advocate the creation of a mass movement include the ideologies of communism and fascism. Both communists and fascists typically support the creation of mass movements as a means to overthrow a government and create their own government, the mass movement then being used afterwards to protect the government from being overthrown itself.

The social scientific study of mass movements focuses on such elements as charisma, leadership, active minorities, cults and sects, followers, mass man and mass society, alienation, brainwashing and indoctrination, authoritarianism and totalitarianism. The field emerged from crowd or mass psychology (Le Bon, Tarde a.o.), which had gradually widened its scope from mobs to social movements and opinion currents, and then to mass and media society.

One influential early text was the double essay on the herd instinct (1908) by British surgeon Wilfred Trotter. It also influenced the key concepts of the superego and identification in Massenpsychologie (1921) by Sigmund Freud, misleadingly translated as Group psychology. They are linked to ideas on sexual repression leading to rigid personalities, in the original Mass psychology of fascism (1933) by Freudo-Marxist Wilhelm Reich (not to be confused with its totally revised 1946 American version). This then rejoined ideas formulated by the Frankfurt School and Theodor Adorno, ultimately leading to a major American study about The authoritarian personality (1950), as a basis for xenophobia and anti-Semitism.

Another early theme was the relationship between masses and elites, both outside and within such movements (Gaetano Mosca, Vilfredo Pareto, Robert Michels, Moisey Ostrogorski).

Mass politics

Mass politics is a political order resting on the emergence of mass political parties.

The emergence of mass politics generally associated with the rise of mass society coinciding with the Industrial Revolution in the West. However, because of the extent of popular participation in the Protestant Reformation, it has been called the first mass political movement, which "other ideologies, ultimately more secular in tone" superseded.Mass politics was essentially the inclusion of the masses in the political process. The first of these mass movements was arguably that for Catholic Emancipation in Ireland, led by Daniel O'Connell. There was a major rise in this from 1880 to 1914, when the vote in Europe was expanded to all men and in some countries, even women were allowed to vote. Mass based political parties emerged as sophisticated vehicles for social, economic, and political reform.

Neotribalism

This article concerns the sociological concept of neotribalism and not the reemergence of ethnic identities that followed the end of the Cold War.Neotribalism (a.k.a. neo-tribalism and modern tribalism) is a sociological concept which postulates that human beings have evolved to live in tribal society, as opposed to mass society, and thus will naturally form social networks constituting new "tribes".

Philip Selznick

Philip Selznick (January 8, 1919 – June 12, 2010) was professor of sociology and law at the University of California, Berkeley. A noted author in organizational theory, sociology of law and public administration, Selznick's work was groundbreaking in several fields in such books as The Moral Commonwealth, TVA and the Grass Roots, and Leadership in Administration.

Popular culture studies

Popular culture studies is the study of popular culture from a critical theory perspective combining communication studies and cultural studies. The first institution to offer bachelor's and master's degrees in Popular Culture is the Bowling Green State University Department of Popular Culture founded by Ray B. Browne.Following the work of the Frankfurt School, popular culture is taken as a terrain of academic inquiry and has helped change the outlooks of more established disciplines. It broke down conceptual barriers between so-called high and low culture which led to people's escalated interest in popular culture and encompasses diverse media as comic books, television, and the Internet. Divisions between high and low culture have been increasingly seen as political distinctions rather than as defensible aesthetic or intellectual ones.

Social movement

A social movement is a type of group action. There is no single consensus definition of a social movement. They are large, sometimes informal, groupings of individuals or organizations which focus on specific political or social issues. In other words, they carry out, resist, or undo a social change. They provide a way of social change from the bottom within nations.Social movements can be defined as "organizational structures and strategies that may empower oppressed populations to mount effective challenges and resist the more powerful and advantaged elites".Political science and sociology have developed a variety of theories and empirical research on social movements. For example, some research in political science highlights the relation between popular movements and the formation of new political parties as well as discussing the function of social movements in relation to agenda setting and influence on politics. Sociologists distinguish between several types of social movement examining things such as scope, type of change, method of work, type of change, range, and timeframe.

Modern Western social movements became possible through education (the wider dissemination of literature) and increased mobility of labor due to the industrialization and urbanization of 19th-century societies. It is sometimes argued that the freedom of expression, education and relative economic independence prevalent in the modern Western culture are responsible for the unprecedented number and scope of various contemporary social movements. Many of the social movements of the last hundred years grew up, like the Mau Mau in Kenya, to oppose Western colonialism. Social movements have been and continue to be closely connected with democratic political systems.Occasionally, social movements have been involved in democratizing nations, but more often they have flourished after democratization. Over the past 200 years, they have become part of a popular and global expression of dissent.Modern movements often utilize technology and the internet to mobilize people globally. Adapting to communication trends is a common theme among successful movements. Research is beginning to explore how advocacy organizations linked to social movements in the U.S. and Canada use social media to facilitate civic engagement and collective action. The systematic literature review of Buettner & Buettner analyzed the role of Twitter during a wide range of social movements (2007 WikiLeaks, 2009 Moldova, 2009 Austria student protest, 2009 Israel-Gaza, 2009 Iran green revolution, 2009 Toronto G20, 2010 Venezuela, 2010 Germany Stuttgart21, 2011 Egypt, 2011 England, 2011 US Occupy movement, 2011 Spain Indignados, 2011 Greece Aganaktismenoi movements, 2011 Italy, 2011 Wisconsin labor protests, 2012 Israel Hamas, 2013 Brazil Vinegar, 2013 Turkey).

Stipend

A stipend is a regular fixed sum of money paid for services or to defray expenses, such as for scholarship, internship, or apprenticeship. It is often distinct from an income or a salary because it does not necessarily represent payment for work performed; instead it represents a payment that enables somebody to be exempt partly or wholly from waged or salaried employment in order to undertake a role that is normally unpaid (e.g. a magistrate in the United Kingdom) or voluntary, or which cannot be measured in terms of a task (e.g. members of the clergy).

Stipends are usually lower than what would be expected as a permanent salary for similar work. This is because the stipend is complemented by other benefits such as accreditation, instruction, food, and/or accommodation.

Some graduate schools make stipend payments to help students have the time and funds to earn their academic degree (i.e. master's and doctoral degrees). Universities usually refer to money paid to graduate students as a stipend, rather than wages, to reflect complementary benefits.

Subculture

A subculture is a group of people within a culture that differentiates itself from the parent culture to which it belongs, often maintaining some of its founding principles. Subcultures develop their own norms and values regarding cultural, political and sexual matters. Subcultures are part of society while keeping their specific characteristics intact. Examples of subcultures include hippies, goths and bikers. The concept of subcultures was developed in sociology and cultural studies. Subcultures differ from countercultures.

Totalitarianism

Totalitarianism is a political concept of a mode of government that prohibits opposition parties, restricts individual opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is regarded as the most extreme and complete form of authoritarianism. Political power in totalitarian states has often been held by rule by one leader which employ all-encompassing propaganda campaigns broadcast by state-controlled mass media. Totalitarian regimes are often marked by political repression, personality cultism, control over the economy, restriction of speech, mass surveillance and widespread use of state terrorism. Historian Robert Conquest describes a "totalitarian" state as one recognizing no limits to its authority in any sphere of public or private life and which extends that authority to whatever length feasible.The concept was first developed in the 1920s by both Weimar jurist (and later Nazi academic) Carl Schmitt and, concurrently, by the Italian fascists. Italian fascist Benito Mussolini said "Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state". Schmitt used the term Totalstaat in his influential 1927 work on the legal basis of an all-powerful state, The Concept of the Political. The term gained prominence in Western anti-communist political discourse during the Cold War era as a tool to convert pre-war anti-fascism into postwar anti-communism.Totalitarian regimes are different from other authoritarian ones. The latter denotes a state in which the single power holder – an individual "dictator", a committee or a junta or an otherwise small group of political elite – monopolizes political power. "[The] authoritarian state [...] is only concerned with political power and as long as that is not contested it gives society a certain degree of liberty". Authoritarianism "does not attempt to change the world and human nature". In contrast, a totalitarian regime attempts to control virtually all aspects of the social life, including the economy, education, art, science, private life and morals of citizens. Some totalitarian governments may promote an elaborate ideology: "The officially proclaimed ideology penetrates into the deepest reaches of societal structure and the totalitarian government seeks to completely control the thoughts and actions of its citizens". It also mobilizes the whole population in pursuit of its goals. Carl Joachim Friedrich writes that "a totalist ideology, a party reinforced by a secret police, and monopoly control of [...] industrial mass society" are the three features of totalitarian regimes that distinguish them from other autocracies.

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