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- behaviourism: Postulates that social action and individual responses are triggered by external stimuli, like the media. According to behaviourist theory, action derives not from individual personality, but as a conditioned response to events that occur in the environment. Mass society theories and stimuli-response modelling are considered to have been influenced by behaviourism. Behaviourism is not a theory of the media per se, but treats the media as a factor in social change. (K. Williams, Understanding Media Theory, p. 28-9.)
- functionalism: A body of largely American research, emerging after the Second World War, that concentrated on the role of media in maintaining social order and the social structure. Using empirical analysis, functionalists evaluate how well the media functions (or dysfunctions) in maintaining equilibrium in society. (K. Williams, Understanding Media Theory,p. 48.)
- Orientalism: "Refers to the way in which 'The Orient' was and is constructed by the West as a means to claim authority and exercise control over Eastern cultures. The Orient is not a fact, or a specific geographical place; rather it is the complex layers of knowledge and mythology that have been constructed around Western ideas about the non-West." (O'Brien and Szeman, Popular Culture: A User's Guide, p. 317.)
- technological determinism: The notion that technology shapes society, and technological changes cause and are responsible for social change. Technological determinists believe that social change and progress are driven by technologies. (K. Williams, Understanding Media Theory, p. 67.)
- teleology: The idea that there is a final purpose in historical development. The main criticism made of the teleological notion of history is that it sees the current moment as the inevitable end point of previous historical change.
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