Researching the media and cultural industries is a key factor for media professionals. Companies often conduct or commission others to research media and culture in their production, distribution and dissemination in order to help them meet their goals.
To widen my understanding of researching the media and cultural industries I read “How to do: Media and Culture Studies” (Stokes, 2003).
The text is written for students, in order to aide them in developing their own research questions and helping them to understand which methods are most suited to exploring specific types of questions.
Key theorist include Karl Marx, who studied the economics of society in order to understand how society functions on all levels, including ideological (Marx and Engels 1964, 1974). His work has been the most influential in studies of how social structure of a society is reflected in its culture (Stoke, 2003). They expand this idea “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch of the ruling ideas, i.e the class which is the ruling material force of a society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force” (Marx and Engels, 1974;64).
A key theory developed from that of Marx is Antonio Gramsci’s, who discusses the “importance of culture for monitoring the political power of a ruling elite” (Gramsci, 1971, 1985). Another discussed in Stokes’ text is Louis Althusser’s, he sees culture as one aspect of the ‘ideological state apparatus’, that contributes to the control of ideas of society by the people in power” (Althusser, 1976, 1984).
If I was going to investigate this topic further I would look at the research question “How is the BBC responding to changes in market conditions?” by analysing documents online and conducting interviews with staff.
In conclusion I have learnt ways to develop research questions that are feasible to answer. I also now understand that there are particular methods that one should be exploring depending on how the question is structured and generally have a better understanding of research methods. I will now think more thoroughly when composing research questions.
Stokes, J. C. 2003. How to do media & culture al studies. London: SAGE.