The Hegemonic Role of the Media in Shaping Our View of the World
The aim of this paper is to discuss the hegemonic role of the media, the relationship of commercial culture and privatization of our life and culture and the system of production and consumption. The concept of hegemony has been defined in various ways, but for the purpose of this essay, we will use Antonio Gramsci’s definition which sees hegemony as “the domination of one social class over another through the consent of the led class rather than through force” Hegemony refers to the ways in which dominant groups or ideologies control the weaker ones. These groups become so influential by gaining the consent of the society. Hegemony to great extent determines social change, as it allows shaping individuals’ worldview and “program” their actions.
For instance, the film entitled “Minority Report” (2002) depicts a utopian society or society of the future where absolute safety is achieved through preventive justice. The Ministry of Interior hires three experts proven to have prophetic abilities, who can foresee crimes. This model, although it was tested before implementation, foreseeing possible problems with it, still presented certain unforeseen consequences. In this utopia, people are deprived not only of their civil liberties but also basic human rights such as privacy. Individuals are watched all the time, their behavior is controlled and any divergence from what is considered normal is immediately noticed and corrected. The society portrayed in “Minority Report” may seem unrealistic, however; if we take into consideration the current developments in surveillance technologies, it might not be that far from reality after all. At present, there are already systems in place which allow monitoring people’s behavior and tracking their every move. In China, for example, a social credit system is being piloted which will assign each citizen a score based on their behavior which will then determine their access to certain privileges such as loans or jobs
The hegemony exercised by corporations and media conglomerates is also evident when it comes to culture and leisure time activities. There is a growing trend of commercialization and privatization of culture which leads to its homogenization. This process can be observed when cultural events such as music festivals are increasingly becoming sponsored by corporations whose main goal is to make profit rather than to promote art or culture. As a result, these festivals are becoming more and more alike, offering less and less space for alternative or non-mainstream music genres. Moreover, ticket prices are becoming unaffordable for a large number of people which further perpetuates socio-economic divisions in society.
2. The Hegemonic Role of the Media
The media play a crucial role in shaping our perception of the world around us. They provide us with information and stories which help us make sense of our everyday lives. However, we must bear in mind that the media are also businesses whose primary aim is to make profit. Therefore, they are often biased and selective in what they present to us. This bias can be intentional or due to market competition which imposes certain standards on what is considered newsworthy. As a result, we are often presented with a distorted view of reality which does not reflect the true complexity of social issues.
One way in which the media exercise their power is through setting agenda. This means that they decide what topics will be discussed in public and which will be ignored. This way they can control public opinion by dictating what people should think about. Another way the media exert their influence is by framing, which is the process of presenting a story in a certain way in order to bias people’s opinion. For example, when reporting on a protest, the media can decide to focus on the most violent episodes and present them as representative of the entire event, even if they were in fact isolated incidents. This way they can create an image of the protesters as a dangerous and chaotic mob, even if that was not the case.
3. The Relationship of Commercial Culture and the Privatization of Our Life and Culture
As mentioned before, there is a growing trend of commercialization and privatization of culture. This process can be observed when cultural events such as music festivals are increasingly becoming sponsored by corporations whose main goal is to make profit rather than to promote art or culture. As a result, these festivals are becoming more and more alike, offering less and less space for alternative or non-mainstream music genres. Moreover, ticket prices are becoming unaffordable for a large number of people which further perpetuates socio-economic divisions in society.
This trend is also evident in the way leisure time is increasingly being commodified. We now have to pay for activities which used to be free or which we used to do ourselves such as going to the gym, playing sports or even spending time in nature. This privatization of leisure time makes us more dependent on corporations and less likely to engage in activities which do not directly benefit them.
4. The System of Production and Consumption
The system of production and consumption is another area where hegemony is evident. This system is based on the idea that we need infinite growth in order to be successful and happy. This growth is however not possible as we live on a finite planet with limited resources. The system of production and consumption therefore leads to environmental degradation and social inequality as it perpetuates the myth that we can have unlimited growth without any consequences.
The media play a crucial role in perpetuating this myth as they present us with images of luxury and excess which make us believe that this lifestyle is attainable and desirable. In reality however, only a small minority of people can afford this lifestyle while the majority have to struggle to make ends meet. This discrepancy between reality and media portrayal creates feelings of envy and frustration which lead people to consume more in an attempt to achieve happiness and satisfaction. This vicious cycle can only be broken if we manage to change the way we produce and consume, but this will only be possible if we challenge the hegemony exercised by corporations and media conglomerates.
In conclusion, it can be seen that hegemony plays a significant role in our society. It shapes our view of the world and determines our actions. Hegemony is exerted by different groups in society such as corporations, media conglomerates or even government institutions. In order to challenge hegemony, we need to be aware of its existence and learn to question the information presented to us by the media. Only then will we be able to break free from the cycle of production and consumption which is damaging our planet and perpetuating social inequality