What is the Mass Society Theory?
The second half of the Nineteenth century, several mass media appeared on the communication scenario. This process of advent and growth continued up to the first few decades of the twentieth century.
Movies, newspapers, radio, and magazines were used as mass communication tools around the globe during this era. The aftermath of the Industrial Revolution in Britain was a harbinger of new revolutions. Mass circulation became important because Industrial Revolution had started making people mass consumers.
Thus, information was shared by one all; so were news, views, and information about the War (1914-18). In the USA, industrialization fueled economic growth. Urban areas were developed at a fast pace in that country.
The clergy, politicians, and educators feared that these changes could dethrone them from their traditional power seats (in the USA). The rural agrarian economy of the Big Apple was being converted into a heartless, machine-based, and urban-based economic system.
Political interest and crime also grew at a fast pace. Many cultural political, educational, and religious leaders opined that the USA was becoming too pluralistic as a society.
They alleged that the mass media catered to low tastes and language abilities of the immigrants who had started pouring into the land areas of both the coasts. The whites were heading towards the North. The media, critics had averred in the context of the changes in the USA, were supplying cheap media content to the newcomers (immigrants).
This content was sensational, poorly devised, and shabby. Thus, critics stated that the media ought to be controlled to protect the traditional values of the real country, the United States. In Europe, the Nazis came to power. In Britain, people were against the media’s efforts to homogenize culture.
Thus, the voice of dissent was heard in Europe almost at the same time when the politicians, clergy, and teachers were raising a hue and cry against the media in the USA.
Thus, a paradigm was defined to counter the effects of the media on the contemporary societies of Europe and North America. It was called Mass Society Theory. It stated that the media were the evil influences that undermine the social order.
This theory put forth the concept that average people were sans any defense vis-a-vis the influences of the mass media. These average people were unable to imbibe or retain superior tastes or values of any kind.
Hence, the theory states, these average people are very much vulnerable to the poor-quality media content supplied by the media. The mass society theory is also called Grand Theory.