This course is designed to give you a broad perspective on various social scientific approaches to understanding the evolving role of mass media in modern society. The seminar reviews the research traditions including uses and gratification, social modeling, persuasion and attitude change, cognitive dissonance, parasocial theory, selective exposure, disposition theory, media dependency, cultivation analysis and the related traditions which study the dynamics of agenda setting, priming and framing. The seminar’s two main goals are first to introduce students to some of the major theoretical approaches to media uses and effects, and second, to offer new researchers a forum for developing and exercising basic skills in reading, understanding, and writing theoretical and empirical social scientific work. This course is intended to provide a solid foundation for subsequent coursework in the social sciences.
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