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date: 15 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents a critical analysis of many of the assumptions and practices that characterize the media effects literature. The thesis argued here is that a Generating-Findings perspective has been useful in producing this literature, but that this perspective has outlived its usefulness. It is time to shift into a new perspective now that the media effects literature has grown so large and fragmented and now that the distribution technologies as well as the culture itself has changed so much over the past few decades. The suggested newer perspective on media research and scholarship—called the Mapping-Phenomenon perspective—builds off the strengths in the existing literature while moving beyond its limitations. This new perspective requires a clear conceptualization of “mass” media along with its four major components of industries, audiences, messages, and effects.

Keywords: categorical thinking, conceptualizations, critical analysis, exposure states, lineation theory, mass media, media effects, new media environment, research assumptions, theory-driven research, unresolved debates

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