Thursday, 26 July 2012

Week Three: Dominant Media and Oliogopoly

Steven (2003) has a problem with how the term 'mass media' is used, and how it fails to define the media's ability to control and shape society's direction. Steven goes on to explain that 'dominant media' is a better term and describes how the United States model is commercialised. Many other countries have adapted this model as it appears to work effectively.

Steven also refers to the word 'dominant' to mean a 'global arena' of media on the globe (p.40). It's hard not to think about The Hunger Games at this point (and I know there'll be some scoffing at this) but all these individuals fighting for the most ownership and control over more media outlets (Rupert Murdoch comes to mind as well). The amount of differing owners of these outlets shrink as fewer companies can control more outlets and therefore wield more control in shaping the direction of society. Steven refers to this (groups of corporations as opposed to one individual) as oliogopoly.

Picture 1.1: Fighting - for survival or power?
Picture 1.2: Careers or corporate giants?
Considering it is well known that author of The Hunger Games series Suzanne Collins was inspired by reality television and the current war climate, the loom of terrorism currently hanging above our heads. There can be no doubt that the fictional, dystopian world of Panem with its bread and circuses (panem et circenses) can be interpreted as a fear of our current path. I say this with full awareness that every text is subjective.

Even the phrase panem et circenses, or bread and circuses, can be interpreted as our current awareness of the poverty. Do we need games and technology to distract us from our conscience? Alice Schroder discusses the history of the phrase in this article and its use in Roman history.

Is this what we are heading for?


Steven, P 2003, The no-nonsense guide to the global mediaNew Internationalist, Oxford, pp. 37–59.


  1. This post, as the title reads, focuses on the dominant media and oligopoly. The post applies appropriate references in discussing the “mass media” and its unsuccessful abilities in shaping and controlling society. In discussing, “dominant media” the post uses a creative approach by exemplifying the movie, the Hunger Games, to the “global arena” in media and also refers this to oligopoly (applying the famous story was an effective example as it was apparently influenced from reality television, the current war climate and the loom of terrorism in our current day). The post has applied correct references with also a fitting choice of graphics from the Hunger Games film. The posts also applies an interesting article about “panem et circenses” and how it can be interpreted as our current awareness of poverty. This extra reference is insightful and encourages the reader to “think outside the box”.

  2. An enjoyable post to read, I especially liked your references to the Hunger Games (I must admit I have never read it or seen it....). In particular, I liked the analogies you drew between the film/book and media oligopolies. Good discussion of Steven (2003) however I was unsure where the reference to Alice Schroeder fitted in and it would have been good to go into a bit more detail with this reference - although 250 is a very tight word limit. Only came across one grammatical error in the sentence where you say 'but all these individuals fighting', I think there were a few words missing maybe? Overall a very insightful post to read, looking forward to the next one. Cheers