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Mass Media in “Encoding/Decoding” by Stuart Hall

There is no use denying the fact that nowadays mass media could be taken as one of the most powerful remedies that has a great influence on people. Coherent society could easily be called the era of digital technologies and various means of media as these phenomena have a great role in the modern world. Due to the blistering development of various means of communication, which became possible due to a great number of scientific discoveries, people obtained the unlimited access to information. They became able to get to know about the events that happen somewhere in another country to a person who was unknown for them.

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However, having obtained this possibility, people find themselves dependent on various means of media as mainly due to their work society gets to know about some facts or events. Moreover, the influence of the mass media has been increasing because of the great role of information in the modern world and the way in which it is presented. The thing is that nowadays people have mediated access to various data as it is influenced by the point of view of sources that present it. With this in mind, it is possible to state the fact that in coherent society media is the most powerful remedy that influences the mentality of millions of people. With this in mind, it is possible to analyze some paper devoted to the given issue in order to obtain the main ideas or perspectives on the functioning of this instrument.

Thus, the article Encoding/Decoding by Stuart Hall is chosen as the background for the discussion. The given paper was written in 1973. However, some concepts and ideas presented in it still have not lost their topicality. It should be said that the author addresses the issue that was very topical at that period of time. The second half of the 20h century could be characterized by the blistering development of various means of media.

That is why, it is quite obvious that the level of interest towards them increased. Trying to investigate new and fast developing issue, a great number of various researchers devoted their works to the sphere of mass media and its main concepts. Though, Stuart Hall was influenced by the main tendencies peculiar to the society and wanted to suggest his own vision of some models peculiar to the sphere of mass media. Additionally, it should be said that the given article is the part of an edited book that is also devoted to this very issue. This fact could be taken as a good evidence of a great interest which existed towards the issue of mass media and its concepts.

Thus, analyzing the main ideas presented in the above mentioned article, it is possible to say that the author revolves around some models that tend to describe the process of communication in terms of the functioning of mass media (Hall 129). Hall underlines the fact that the traditional model has been criticized for linearity and inability to take into account all factors that influence the process of communication (129). Moreover, the author also suggests another approach that exists in science and is also used to describe the main processes that occur in the sphere of mass communication.

This approach has several advantages that could be taken as the main factor for its usage in practice. However, Hall tends to show that all these approaches are not ideal as nowadays the sphere to which they belong becomes more and more complicated. The author also wants to outline the fact that the main object of these practices is various meanings and messages that are organized in the form of sign-vehicles (Hall 130). Cogitating about the importance of this object, Hall also underlines the fact that it is created due to the interaction of various chains of codes and within the rules of a certain language for people to able to understand it (130).

Additionally, the author also suggests the idea that the current television communicative process is the program which is comprised of several issues (Hall 131). Emphasizing the fact that one of the main aims of mass media is the establishment of clear and efficient process of communication, the author says that all components of this program becomes extremely vital. Moreover, Hall tends to prove the idea that production of the program, that will result in the creation of the process of communication, is organized around the construction of a certain message that should be delivered to the audience with the help of various means of mass media (131).

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This mediated contact is very important for the functioning of the whole sphere and, that is why, great attention is devoted to the structure of the whole program. That is why such aspects as routines of production, technical skills, professional ideologies and assumptions about the audience are taken into account and analyzed (Hall 130). Only basing on the ideas accepted due to the analysis of all these issues, the program that describes the would-be process of communication could be approved and used by various means of media.

Nevertheless, the author also suggests the idea that the broadcasting structures should contain encoded messages in the form of meaningful discourse in order to be realized and used in practice (Hall 134). The author tends to show the fact that strict and distinctive rules of language are also very important for the sphere of communication and, that is why, all products and programs should be organized in accordance with the main peculiarities of the language of the audience. Being quite obvious, this statement, however, is emphasized by the author in order to show the impact which the language has on the whole sphere of mediated communication and mass media (Hall 139).

Besides, the author also states the fact that before any message, conveyed with the help of various means of media, has the effect on the audience, it should be appropriated as a meaningful discourse in and be meaningfully decoded in order to be clear and understandable for the audience. Thus, it becomes obvious that the author wants to underline the fact that the efficiency of the message and mass media depends on the level of interaction and mutual understanding between the main organizers of the process and people who should receive this very message.

Besides, it should also be said that Hall not only points out his ideas, however, he tries to provide a clear evidence for all his ideas in order to make the whole paper credible. First of all, he provides a diagram that aims at showing the way in which the program as a meaningful discourse is organized and that distinguishes the main components of this phenomenon. Moreover, the author performs the analysis of various levels of the process of communication and meaningful discourse.

Outlining two main types of the discourse, which are visual and aural, the author states that the television sign could be taken as the combination of these very types of discourses (Hall 139). That is why, performing their analysis, Hall tries to show the credibility of his ideas and necessity of deep investigation of some main aspects of language in order to understand the main peculiarities of organizing the process of communication with the help of mass media.

Thus, it is possible to say that the ideas outlined by the author could be taken as quite logical and credible. The thing is that the author manages to combine concepts from various spheres of science in order to analyze the issue of communication in mass media and show the main tendencies of its development. Moreover, the evidence, used by the author to prove his assumptions, could also be taken as clear and credible. That is why, resting on these facts, it is possible to agree with the author’s position and add the fact that the development of concepts that describe the process of communication has not stopped and there are many concepts nowadays that suggest a new vision of the issue.

In conclusion, it should be said that the authors augments about the issue of communication and the nature of its models seem to be quite logical. Supported by the clear evidence, they make a reader agree with the authors assumptions and accept his vision of the main peculiarities of communication and meaningful discourse.

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Sources Cited

Hall, Stuart. “Encoding/decoding”. Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. Ed. Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural Studies. London: Hutchinson 1980. 128-138. Print.

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