The Role of Media in Youth Culture in Contemporary Society

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A $150 billion dream is how the demographic of teens is described in PBS’ “Merchants of Cool”. The role that society has given to the media to dictate youth culture has become one of the most lucrative conquests corporations are battling over today. Much like empires throughout history, media empires today have found their ‘Africa’. This paper is an examination of this silent, bloodless conquest through two different sociological lenses. First we will consider the effect of media in youth’s culture using functional theory. Stating the primary assumptions valuable in studying the effects of media on youth and youth culture. We will then consider the role of media in youth’s culture and how it is a functional piece of society. We will next…show more content…
The businesses involved in this promoting system would is enormous. MTV then cross-promotes with other unrelated businesses like, for example, Sprite. Sprite provides a venue for the music, MTV broadcasts the artist performing and in doing so, promotes the artist that has been systematically chosen to promote. Two separate business entities interdependent of each other to accrue profit. But these businesses are not trying to reach an equilibrium or ideal plateau as this theoretical model employs. This is where the functional approach’s flaw lays; the definition of cool is always changing and therefore the industry must be always be changing not trying to stay the same. The second theoretical perspective to be examined is Symbolic Interactionism. This American-based perspective states that society and social structures are creations of interacting people and can therefore be changed (Ravelli & Webber, 2010, p. 56). Here, again, lie fundamental properties the symbolic interactionist would assume. Firstly, society is in constant evolution. This is a crucial point to make when studying the effects of media on young people and their unyielding need to be ‘cool’ because ‘cool’ is constantly evolving and changing. One must understand this to understand that meeting the objective of selling ‘cool’, requires constant examination of the product’s perception to it’s targeted demographic. Symbolic interactionists would argue that people in a society
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