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Last updated February 19, 2001


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Cultural Critical Theory

Explanation of Theory:The CCS theory states that the mass media impose the dominant ideology on the rest of society, and the connotations of words and images are fragments of ideology that perform an unwitting service for the ruling elite.

Theorists: Stuart Hall


Primary Article:Media bias: Stuart Hall, I. Connell, and L. Curti, “The ‘Unity’of Current Affairs Television,” in 
Working Papers in Cultural Studies No. 9, Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England, 1976, pp. 51-93.

Individual Interpretations:The media controls the way our country is viewed.

Metatheoretical Assumptions:

Ontological Assumptions:n/a

Epistemological Assumptions:n/a

Axiological Assumptions:n/a

Critique:CCS is a humanistic theory.  It is good theory because it derives from a consistently formulated theoretical position. It contains well-researched evidence to support its theory.  However, Hall offers no basis for preferring one over another. 

Ideas and Implications:CCS is important because it shows the impact that the media has over society.  It takes a look at figuring out why some people think the way they do and how easily individuals can be manipulated through the media.


Example:Advertising alone has a big effect on the viewers’ opinions on products.  Whether it’s buying a product, voting for a president, etc., advertising causes us to form an opinion on certain matters and situations.

Relevant Research:
Critical theory in American communication study: Hanno Hardt, “The Return of the ‘Critical’ and the Challenge o fRadical Dissent: Critical Theory, Cultural Studies, and American Mass Communication Research,” in Communication Yearbood 12, James A. Anderson (ed.), Sage, Newbury Park, Calif., 1989, pp. 558-600.
Media hegemony: Robert Goldman and Arvind Rajagopal, Mapping Hegemony: Television News Coverage of Industrial ConflictI,Ablex, Norwood, N.J., 1991.
Manufacturing consent: Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass MediaI, Pantheon, New York, 1988. 
http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu/~ as850796/cultural.htm

Location in Eight (8) Primary Communication Theory Textbooks:

     Anderson, R., & Ross, V. (1998). Questions of communication: A practical introduction to theory (2nd ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press.  n/a

     Cragan, J. F., & Shields, D.C. (1998). Understanding communication theory: The communicative forces for human action. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. n/a

     Griffin, E. (2000). A first look at communication theory (4th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill. 337-339

     Griffin, E. (1997). A first look at communication theory (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. 363-370

      Infante, D. A., Rancer, A. S., & Womack, D. F. (1997). Building communication theory (3rd ed.). Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press. n/a

      Littlejohn, S. W. (1999). Theories of human communication (6th ed). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. 234-237

      West, R., & Turner, L. H. (2000). Introducing communication theory: Analysis and application. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield. 313-316

       Wood, J. T. (1997). Communication theories in action: An introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. N/A