Mainstream Critique, Critical Mainstream and the New Media: Reconciliation of Mainstream and Critical Approaches to Media Effects Studies?

Magdalena E. Wojcieszak


Are mainstream and critical research reconcilable? First, this paper juxtaposes two tendencies within the two approaches: homogenization and agenda setting. Doing this suggests that despite the bridges between these tendencies such as their conceptualization as powerful and longitudinal effects, there are also crucial differences to factor such as methodology, questions motivating the scholarship and interpretative framework. Secondly, this paper asks whether homogenization and agenda setting specifically, and powerful media effects generally, are still applicable in the new media environment. Although the Internet increases content amount and diversity, and might thwart the power of the media to homogenize the audience and dictate political issue salience, external factors uphold homogenization and agenda setting. This paper concludes by showing that media effects might be yet more powerful in the new media environment.

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