Course: Mass Communication Part-I (5631) Semester: Autumn, 2022
- 1 How new ideas are diffused in society? Elaborate the process of Diffusion of innovation.
Diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system. Diffusion is a special type of communication concerned with the spread of messages that are perceived as new ideas.
An innovation, simply put, is “an idea perceived as new by the individual.”
An innovation is an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption. The characteristics of an innovation, as perceived by the members of a social system, determine its rate of adoption.
The four main elements in the diffusion of new ideas are:
(1) The innovation
(2) Communication channels
(4) The social system (context)
- The innovation
Why do certain innovations spread more quickly than others? The innovation, to spread and be adopted should show:
The characteristics which determine an innovation’s rate of adoption are: (1) Relative advantage
(5) Observability to those people within the social system.
Communication is the process by which participants create and share information with one another in order to reach a mutual understanding. A communication channel is the means by which messages get from one individual to another. Mass media channels are more effective in creating knowledge of innovations, whereas interpersonal channels are more effective in forming and changing attitudes toward a new idea, and thus in influencing the decision to adopt or reject a new idea. Most individuals evaluate an innovation, not on the basis of scientific research by experts, but through the subjective evaluations of near-peers who have adopted the innovation.
The time dimension is involved in diffusion in three ways.
3.1 – First, time is involved in the innovation-decision process. The innovation- decision process is the mental process through which an individual (or other decision- making unit) passes from first knowledge of an innovation to forming an attitude toward the innovation, to a decision to adopt or reject, to implementation of the new idea, and to confirmation of this decision. An individual seeks information at various stages in the innovation-decision process in order to decrease uncertainty about an innovation’s expected consequences.
(1) Knowledge – person becomes aware of an innovation and has some idea of how it functions
(2) Persuasion – person forms a favorable or unfavorable attitude toward the innovation
(3) Decision – person engages in activities that lead to a choice to adopt or reject the innovation
(4) Implementation – person puts an innovation into use
(5) Confirmation – person evaluates the results of an innovation-decision already made
3.2 – The second way in which time is involved in diffusion is in the innovativeness of an individual or other unit of adoption. Innovativeness is the degree to which an individual or other unit of adoption is relatively earlier in adopting new ideas than other members of a social system. There are five adopter categories, or classifications of the members of a social system on the basis on their innovativeness:
(1) Innovators – 2.5%
(2) Early adopters – 13.5% (3) Early majority – 34%
(4) Late majority – 34%
(5) Laggards – 16%
3.3 – The third way in which time is involved in diffusion is in rate of adoption. The rate of adoption is the relative speed with which an innovation is adopted by members of a social system. The rate of adoption is usually measured as the number of members of the system that adopt the innovation in a given time period. As shown previously, an innovation’s rate of adoption is influenced by the five perceived attributes of an innovation. — (Time/Infected Population)
- The social system
The fourth main element in the diffusion of new ideas is the social system. A social system is defined as a set of interrelated units that are engaged in joint problem-solving to accomplish a common goal. The members or units of a social system may be individuals, informal groups, organizations, and/or subsystems. The social system constitutes a boundary within which an innovation diffuses. How the system’s social structure affects diffusion has been studied. A second area of research involved how norms affect diffusion. Norms are the established behavior patterns for the members of a social system. A third area of research has had to do with opinion leadership, the degree to which an individual is able to influence informally other individuals’ attitudes or overt behavior in a desired way with relative frequency. A change agent is an individual who attempts to influence clients’ innovation-decisions in a direction that is deemed desirable by a change agency.
A final crucial concept in understanding the nature of the diffusion process is the critical mass, which occurs at the point at which enough individuals have adopted an innovation that the innovation’s further rate of adoption becomes self-sustaining (the shaded area in Figure 2 depicts the critical mass). The concept of the critical mass implies that outreach activities should be concentrated on getting the use of the innovation to the point of critical mass. These efforts should be focused on the early adopters, the 13.5 percent of the individuals in the system to adopt an innovation after the innovators have introduced the new idea into the system. Early adopters are often opinion leaders, and serve as role-models for many other members of the social system. Early adopters are instrumental in getting an innovation to the point of critical mass, and hence, in the successful diffusion of an innovation.
> Relative advantage is the degree to which an innovation is perceived as better than the idea it supersedes. The degree of relative advantage may be measured in economic terms, but social prestige, convenience, and satisfaction are also important factors. It does not matter so much if an innovation has a great deal of objective advantage. What does matter is whether an individual perceives the innovation as advantageous. The greater the perceived relative advantage of an innovation, the more rapid its rate of adoption will be.
> Compatibility is the degree to which an innovation is perceived as being consistent
with the existing values, past experiences, and needs of potential adopters. An idea that is incompatible with the values and norms of a social system will not be adopted as rapidly as an innovation that is compatible. The adoption of an incompatible innovation often requires the prior adoption of a new value system, which is a relatively slow process.
> Complexity is the degree to which an innovation is perceived as difficult to understand and use. Some innovations are readily understood by most members of a social system; others are more complicated and will be adopted more slowly. New ideas that are
simpler to understand are adopted more rapidly than innovations that require the adopter to develop new skills and understandings.
> Trialability is the degree to which an innovation may be experimented with on a limited basis. New ideas that can be tried on the installment plan will generally be adopted more quickly than innovations that are not divisible. An innovation that is trialable represents less uncertainty to the individual who is considering it for adoption, who can learn by doing.
> Observability is the degree to which the results of an innovation are visible to others. The easier it is for individuals to see the results of an innovation, the more likely they are to adopt it. Such visibility stimulates peer discussion of a new idea, as friends and neighbors of an adopter often request innovation-evaluation information about it.
> Innovators are the first 2.5 percent of the individuals in a system to adopt an innovation. Venturesomeness is almost an obsession with innovators. This interest in new ideas leads them out of a local circle of peer networks and into more cosmopolite social relationships. Communication patterns and friendships among a clique of innovators are common, even though the geographical distance between the innovators may be considerable. Being an innovator has several prerequisites. Control of substantial financial resources is helpful to absorb the possible loss from an unprofitable innovation. The ability to understand and apply complex technical knowledge is also needed. The innovator must be able to cope with a high degree of uncertainty about an innovation at the time of adoption. While an innovator may not be respected by the other members of a social system, the innovator plays an important role in the diffusion process: That of launching the new idea in the system by importing the innovation from outside of the system’s boundaries. Thus, the innovator plays a gatekeeping role in the flow of new ideas into a system.
> Early adopters are the next 13.5 percent of the individuals in a system to adopt an
innovation. Early adopters are a more integrated part of the local system than are innovators. Whereas innovators are cosmopolites, early adopters are localites. This adopter category, more than any other, has the greatest degree of opinion leadership in most systems. Potential adopters look to early adopters for advice and information about the innovation. This adopter category is generally sought by change agents as a local missionary for speeding the diffusion process. Because early adopters are not too far ahead of the average individual in innovativeness, they serve as a role-model for many other members of a social system. The early adopter is respected by his or her peers, and is the embodiment of successful, discrete use of new ideas. The early adopter knows that to continue to earn this esteem of colleagues and to maintain a central position in the communication networks of the system, he or she must make judicious innovation-decisions. The early adopter decreases uncertainty about a new idea by adopting it, and then conveying a subjective evaluation of the innovation to near-peers through interpersonal networks.
> Early majority is the next 34 percent of the individuals in a system to adopt an innovation. The early majority adopt new ideas just before the average member of a system. The early majority interact frequently with their peers, but seldom hold positions of opinion leadership in a system. The early majority’s unique position between the very early and the relatively late to adopt makes them an important link in the diffusion process. They provide interconnectedness in the system’s interpersonal networks. The early majority are one of the two most numerous adopter categories, making up one- third of the members of a system. The early majority may deliberate for some time before completely adopting a new idea. “Be not the first by which the new is tried, nor the last to lay the old aside,” fits the thinking of the early majority. They follow with deliberate willingness in adopting innovations, but seldom lead.
> Late majority is the next 34 percent of the individuals in a system to adopt an innovation. The late majority adopt new ideas just after the average member of a system. Like the early majority, the late majority make up one-third of the members of a system. Adoption may be the result of increasing network pressures from peers. Innovations are approached with a skeptical and cautious air, and the late majority do not adopt until most others in their system have done so. The weight of system norms must definitely favor an innovation before the late majority are convinced. The pressure of peers is necessary to motivate adoption. Their relatively scarce resources mean that most of the uncertainty about a new idea must be removed before the late majority feel that it is safe to adopt.
> Laggards are the last 16 percent of the individuals in a system to adopt an innovation. They possess almost no opinion leadership. Laggards are the most localite in their outlook of all adopter categories; many are near isolates in the social networks of their system. The point of reference for the laggard is the past. Decisions are often made in terms of what has been done previously. Laggards tend to be suspicious of innovations and change agents. Resistance to innovations on the part of laggards may be entirely rational from the laggard’s viewpoint, as their resources are limited and they must be certain that a new idea will not fail before they can adopt.
- 2 Write notes on the following:
- i) Media Hegemony
- ii) Gatekeeping
- Media Hegemony
The assumption of media hegemony is that the ideas of the ruling class become ruling ideas in society. According to this approach, the mass media are controlled by the dominant class in society which uses it as a vehicle for exerting control over the rest of society. Media hegemony is rooted in the Marxist economies.They argue that media contents in USA are shaped to suit the interests of the capitalists. While commenting on media hegemony, Adelheid says that it seems to involve at least three assumptions that could be treated with evidence:
- The socialization of journalists involves guidelines, work routines and orientations replete with the dominant ideology.
- Journalists tend to cover topic and present news reports that are conservative and supportive of the status quo.
- Journalists tend to present pro-American and negative coverage of foreign countries, especially Third World nations.
According toWerner J. Severin and James W. Tankard Jr., Adelheid argues that evidence can be found to cast doubt on each of these propositions. In connection with proposition, Altheide cites studies showing that foreign affairs reporters take very different approaches while covering detente, depending on their individual backgrounds. In addition, other studies of journalists, backgrounds and attitudes show considerable diversity rather than homogeneity
As regards proposition , Altheidecites numerous examples, including but not limited to Watergate, in which the reporting done by journalists did not support the status quo. A study of press coverage of the 1971 Indian-Pakistan War (Becker, 1977) provides another example when the U.S. government shifted its policy to support for West Pakistan, the news coverage by the New-York Times actually shifted the other way.
So far as proposition 3 is concerned , surveys of journalists indicate that they tend to agree with the Third World position on many issues. Furthermore, research on television coverage of Nicarague during the Sandinista revolt showed that television presented the rebel case repeatedly and in some detail not exactly the kind of content that supports the status quo.
Two researchers who attempted to find studies testing the media hegemony idea found only three )Shoemaker and Myfield, 1984). Two supported the media hegemony idea while one did not.
Finally, if the mass media are in general giving support,to the status quo and corporate values, someone should inform Senator Jesse Helms, and his Fairness in Media group, of this fact.Senator Helms has been involved in efforts to buy the CBS television network because he thinks CBS News is too liberal.
The existence of fairness in media may be one of the best arguments that the mass media are ideologically neutral, since they are criticized by the left for presenting a conservative point of view and by the right for presenting a liberal point of view.
- Gatekeeping is the process of selecting, and then filtering, items of media that can be consumed within the time or space that an individual happens to have. This means gatekeeping falls into a role of surveillance and monitoring data. These gatekeeping decisions are made every day to sort out the relevant items that audiences will see.
- The gatekeeping theory of mass communication is a method which allows us to keep our sanity. By consuming content that is most relevant to us each day, we can ignore the billions of additional data points that are calling for our attention.
- The Concept of Gatekeeping:
- The gatekeeper decides what information should move past them (through the information “gate”) to the group or individuals beyond, and what information should not. Gatekeepers are the at a high level, data decision makers who control information flow to an entire social system. Based on personal preference, professional experience, social influences, or bias they allow certain information to pass through the their audience.
- As a direct exmaple, in the news medium the editor plays this vital role. Commonly referred to as Mr. Gates (brilliant right?), he (she) has to decide what kind of news items will be published and what should not. Every day the news channel receives various news items from all over the world. The channel has its own set of ethics, policies, and biases through which the editor decides the news items that will be published, aired, or killed. In some cases some news items are rejected by the editor due the organizations policy or the news items which are not suitable for publishing, this is also considered part of the gatekeeping function..
- Because of this, gatekeeping also sets a specific standard for information value. In a world where “fake news” often competes with “real news,” gatekeeping can be programmed to tell the differences between the two types of content so that only the preferred data points are consumed by each individual. Gatekeeping may also hold influence on policies and procedures, playing the role of a watchdog within society or simply playing into the audience’s confirmation bias. Humans are also their own gatekeepers at the point of consumption, creating a secondary filter for information. For example, if you live in Northern Canada and the informational gatekeeper pushes through content that talks about suntan lotion, the individual may filter the content and discard it because it is not relevant to them at that time.
- Even the attitudes toward content changes based on a personal perspective. People tend to support one side or the other in any media-related debate. The same news item coming from CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News can be presented in different ways and trigger audiences preconceived notions about the agenda of that news organization. That favoritism can make a subject seem more or less important based on how the data points are consumed and presented.
- A Quick History of Gatekeeping:
- The idea was first posited by Kurt Lewin (1890-1947), a German psychologist and pioneer in social psychology. He developed his concept in his quest to understand the human behavior and its important consideration of total life space (looks this up, it’s a very interesting concept in social psychology). He focused more on personal perception and how a person worked to understand their own world (physical, mental and social) through frequent conversation and acknowledgement of memories, desire, and goals. He coined the word called “Gate keeping” in his studies. At first it was widely used in the field of psychology and social psychology and later moved to the field of communication as mass communication because a speciic area of study (largely due to the advent of mass publication technology). Now it’s one of the essential and foundational theories in communication studies.
- 3 Explain various media of Mass Communication. Evaluate the role a newspaper plays in your life.
Mass media refers to media technologies used to disseminate information to a wide audience. The key function of mass media is to communicate various messages through television, movies, advertising, radio, the internet, magazines, and newspapers
Why is mass media important?
Your favorite movies on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, news on TV and radio, and articles in newspapers and magazines make mass media an integral part of our everyday life. Since it has a vast influence on people all over the world, brands use various platforms to appeal to their leads and customers and pitch their goods.
Companies run an endless marathon to reach success with the help of mass media. Brands use either traditional or digital media to connect with their target audience and build brand awareness. Entrepreneurs consider various platforms to convey a company’s image and create a good reputation. With mass media, brands can effectively promote their goods and services, reach broader audiences, boost brand engagement, and increase sales volume.
Now that you know about the importance of mass media technologies, let’s proceed to their functions.
Functions of Mass Media
Mass media in written, spoken, or broadcast forms has a significant impact on the masses. Commercials on TV, billboards, and social media platforms allow brands to build brand awareness. Companies search for the most effective ways to convey their message when it comes to branding, including sites, social media channels, blogs, and forums. When they find the right type of mass media channel for their businesses, they can communicate their ideas and conduct branding campaigns.
Mass media informs, educates, and entertains people in a wide variety of ways. Brands can educate users to get the most out of their products. The majority of companies now use social media platforms, create blog posts on their sites, and launch commercials on YouTube to describe their best features, the problems their products can solve, and provide step-by-step guides.
Now that we have cleared that up, it’s time to explore the characteristics.
Characteristics of Mass Media
Over the years, the impact of mass communication has increased drastically because of the improvements made. Hence, it’s crucial to know the main characteristics of mass media, and they are as follows:
- it can appeal to a wide target audience;
- it communicates a public message;
- there’s a distance between a source of information and those who obtain it;
- it can be transmitted through various channels, such as TV, the internet, radio, and newspapers;
- it has a heterogeneous audience;
- news or information communicated through TV, radio, and print media can’t receive feedback.
It’s essential not only to know these features but also to be aware of mass media types, so let’s jump into the next section.
Types of Mass Media
Books, newspapers, radio, social media platforms, booklets, and streaming services are various forms of mass media. However, we distinguish four main types of mass media.
- Print media. It can range from billboards to coupons and is one of the easiest and oldest ways to reach the masses. Originally, print media referred to newspapers, which were the primary sources of information. Further, this type of media expanded to journals, books, and magazines.
- Outdoor media. Ambient marketing is an excellent example of modern outdoor media. Brands use unusual locations and items to promote their products. Let’s take Folgers, for instance. This brand of coffee used manhole covers to promote coffee in a unique and eye-catching way. Therefore, places like bus stops, public transport, and buildings can serve creative companies as places for promotion.
- Broadcasting media. With the help of an electronic broadcasting medium, audio and video content is distributed to a dispersed audience. Television, radio, video, and games appeal to heterogeneous audiences, people who differ in age, background, views, goals, and interests.
- Digital media. There are around 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide in 2021, which means that the world is dependent on digital media. Today, brands promote their goods and services through sites, YouTube, podcasts, and more. Besides, companies often implement Instagram marketing and Facebook advertising to pitch their products.
Now that you know the types, it’s also important to grab some inspiration from several examples.
Examples of Mass Media
Nowadays, when there are many channels, companies can reach customers really fast. Platforms used for different purposes allow firms to appeal to a wide audience and communicate the necessary message. Let’s consider the most popular international news companies people read regularly.
It is an American daily middle-market newspaper that is distributed internationally. It delivers the latest local and national news. Besides, USA Today updates people on sports, entertainment, money, and travel. The newspaper has approximately 21 million downloads on mobile devices.
- 4 Elaborate Puppetry and street theatre. How can puppetry be used for social reforms?
n Europe, there are numerous texts and illustrations showing how puppetry once was very present in daily lives or at festive events, and how it adapted to social changes. Puppeteers and their puppet stages and booths thus appear in paintings and engravings of the 18th century, such as Venetian painters and printmakers Pietro Longhi (c.1701-1785) and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770), in such contexts as a public square, a celebration, a princely marriage, a carnival, a fair, or even an aristocratic convent.
Throughout its history, the puppet theatre has successfully expressed the moods, fears, worries and desires of an audience that is vast, heterogeneous, and often gathered together by chance during a religious celebration or a public meeting. The puppet theatre used to have an informative role as it helped spread news, and it also played a part in transmitting values and behavioural norms – as it did for example in Sicily in the 19th century, with the paladin saga performed by the pupi (puppets). The bourgeoisie of the 19th century made puppet shows a drawing-room activity, aiming for entertainment but above all for the social and moral education of children. However, during the same period, the public squares and gardens remained the favourite spots of the travelling puppeteers and showmen, who performed for a socially disparate and ever-changing audience. In Europe, irrespective of the political context, the puppet theatre tradition included the classic comic archetypes and staged, under different forms, the fundamental struggle between the good and the bad, cleverness and foolishness, life and death. In the typical puppet plays, any problem could be solved by a few fights, curses or jokes.
This suggests a vision of life focused on conflicts, anxieties, pleasures, and primary functions such as food, sex, death and fears. French psychoanalyst Octave Mannoni (1899-1989) sees in the guignol the expression of the manifestations of the “it” (in French: “ça”) – the deep unconscious impulses – which allows some comic characters to create opportunities to get rid of pent-up energy. It might be the reason why traditional characters from very different countries and cultures have surprisingly common traits. In general, they are not only the heroes of well-known local stories, but they also incorporate all the values and preconceptions (positive or negative) that helped cement feelings of identity and belonging to a whole community.
Technological evolution has still left its mark on the puppet theatre for the last two centuries. On the one hand, the old puppet stages and booths and their animated figures are now perceived as the witnesses of a past reality. They are still enjoyed by a traditional audience, even though they face competition from new, radically different heroes. On the other hand, the use of digital technologies – which has multiplied the aesthetic and visual possibilities of the traditional puppet, sometimes with striking effects – has not fundamentally changed the implicit relationship between the manipulator and the manipulated figure. This relationship still remains a metaphor for one of the most complex problems in today’s society. In addition to this, the puppet theatre specifically has always been used as a means to share messages or more or less explicit teachings in politics, education or religion (see Education and Propaganda). As it targets children in particular, puppetry represents an opportunity for entertainment, but it is also a tool to educate and offer a moral example, as illustrated by the famous story of Pinocchio: rebellion is permitted but it must be channelled and socially controlled.
Outside Europe – in Asian and African cultures especially – the ritual and religious function has remained strong to this day (see Rites and Rituals). However, in those parts of the world as well, television and cinema have deeply transformed the role of the puppeteer, as well as his or her relation to the audience, and the composition and attitude of the child audience. In India for example, even though Indian culture has one of the oldest and most varied puppet arts tradition, the puppet is now mainly used for television shows and health and social welfare programmes.
Puppetry changed when it left the public squares for the bourgeois salons. The bold, loud, colourful, popular pantins (jumping jacks), fantoche, fantoccini and their like gave way to the “refined” puppet. The latter, addressing an audience of educated bourgeois adults, eventually integrated the constraints of other forms of performance. Moreover, the attention given to the puppet by artists from the avant-garde theatre, dance, opera or the fine arts deeply modified the perspective from which, eventually, this theatre form was to be seen by the public. The coarseness of the characters, such as Alfred Jarry’s Ubu, also contributed to a profound aesthetic change that reflects the changes undergone by contemporary society (see Aesthetics of the Puppet – European Romanticism to the Avant-Garde.)
The Tradition of Protest
Because of their strong symbolic traits, the characters of the world’s puppet theatres have always had the ability to embody the passions of the audience and, in some historical contexts, they could express support or hostility towards political or religious figures, risking to attract the anger of the authorities upon them. The puppeteer, always ready to pack up his show and to run away quickly, would often resort to bawdy references or allusions to the political situation of the day. The aim was to spice up the traditional repertoire, and to arouse the curiosity and keep the affection of the audience. Although very profane, those interludes would even be found in religious representations and performances (see Belén de Tirisiti, Nativity Scenes, Szopka, Vertep). This demonstrates that the satirical use of the puppet has always been, for this form of theatre, an opportunity to anchor itself to the current social and political affairs, which guaranteed success but was also potentially dangerous. Nowadays, the popularity of the French television show Les Guignols de l’info, in which politicians are mocked under their puppet forms, demonstrates that this satirical function is persistent, but also ambiguous: indeed, politicians see the show as an indicator of their popularity and gladly accept to be featured in it.
This vigorous satirical and political tradition could be seen in the early 20th century with agitprop groups and politically-committed troupes such as the “red Kasperl” in 1920s Germany, the “brown Kasperle” reappropriated by the Nazis, or the “red Petrushka” in Russia after the 1917 October Revolution. Political involvement continued in the 1960s with the Bread and Puppet Theater as the company joined the demonstrations against the Vietnam War. More recently, this American company renewed its protest roots with Insurrection Mass with Funeral March for A Rotten Idea (2003), a show against American intervention in Iraq.
Puppets in the Community: Giving a Voice to the Vulnerable
In Asia, Latin America and in Africa it is not unusual to find puppets outside theatres, in slums for example. An example is the Black Pinocchio (Italian title, Pinocchio nero, 2004), a collaborative project which involved the Italian puppet company, Teatro delle Briciole. The three-year project worked with Kenyan children who live on what they can scavenge off the streets of Dagoretti-Nairobi. “Instead of puppets longing to be real boys, theatre director Marco Baliani’s actors are Nairobi street kids in search of better lives who leave Nairobi for the first time in their lives to show their version of Pinocchio to the West.” The project aimed at restoring these young people’s sense of identity and giving them a voice. “It is devoted to the children and adolescents who are struggling to survive, facilitating their access to knowledge, experiences in new communities, reintegration into their families, professional opportunities, and microcredit.”
In India, puppets are used by a number of theatre groups and social welfare organizations, including Jan Madhyam, a community media-based, educational puppetry company and NGO based in Delhi and Haryana. The puppetry-based weekly “Chowkoo-Pili” series of shows (1984-1990) for Delhi’s intellectually disabled youth taught learning concepts and developed social skills and values. These interactive weekly shows were taken to schools, slums, and villages in the Greater Delhi and Haryana region. This work has continued to improve the lives of the disabled, with special attention to girls and women. Other Jan Madhyam development communication programmes using puppetry and performance media have focused on literacy, the needs of the disabled, ecology, endangered species, income generation, sanitation, health, and violence against women. The NGO’s founder and director, Ranjana Pandey, is one of the pioneers in the Indian subcontinent to explore puppetry as therapy.
Puppets and Therapy
As an art of synthesis, puppetry becomes an ideal way to create – or renew – contact with traumatized children or adults living on the margins of society. The puppet is often used for training, caring, or to help social or functional inclusion, especially in the United States, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Great Britain, and Switzerland. Other countries, such as South Africa, favour prevention, especially when fighting against AIDS. In France, the interest in puppets for use in hospitals dates back to the early 1960s. The association Marionnette et Thérapie (Puppet and Therapy) was created in France in 1978. It has branches in Bulgaria, Japan, Brazil, Italy, Portugal and Quebec, Canada. The association provides training courses focusing on the use of puppets for therapy. This includes psychological and speech therapy, physiotherapy, socialization, social insertion (for drug users, prisoners, etc.), and all the domains in which the association can bring some comfort to people who need it. In France, the training developed to include elements of psychoanalysis, whereas in other countries, such as Japan, the main targets remained functional therapy and the social inclusion of the disabled. Japan is a leader in its efforts to integrate the disabled to daily life: Kamifusen-Fresh for physical disabilities, and Deaf Puppet Theatre Hitomi for hearing impairments are examples of using theatre forms and puppetry with therapeutic aims.
Nowadays, the puppet theatre plays two important roles in the fields of therapy and rehabilitation: for patients with various mental-health conditions on the one hand, and people with physiological or sensory conditions but no psychoneurological disorders on the other. Furthermore, group therapy workshops use puppets as a means for children and adults to communicate in psychiatric wards. The goal of the workshops is not the performance, but the healing.
It appears that the building of a puppet is especially useful to help a patient come out of his/her sense of isolation – no matter if this isolation is intended, is unconscious or repressed. The therapist must refrain from giving aesthetic guidelines in the making of a puppet and instead let the patients do as she/he wishes. This approach can help toward patients recovering their identities. In this instance, the fashioning of a head is an important step in the therapeutic process, and so is the naming of the puppet, which is given an identity. Through this process, patients can learn to be more friendly, helpful and polite to one another, to recognize one another even outside of the workshop environment, and to call one another by their names. The next process is for a story to be created around the puppet. The story is often very simple, but is intended to have a cathartic function. The therapist must be extremely patient and wait for words to be spoken; she/he must know how to deal with the phenomena of transference (the phenomenon whereby we unconsciously transfer feelings and attitudes from a person or situation in the past on to a person or situation in the present) and countertransference (the redirection of a psychotherapist’s feelings toward a client – or, more generally, as a therapist’s emotional entanglement with a client). It also takes time for the patients to get used to performing on a stage.
When treating children, the puppet can be used in one-to-one sessions. A psychologist offers to play with puppets and the patient chooses spontaneously his or her own puppet for each “game” played. Sometimes it takes several sessions before a child faces his or her fears and dares to play with the puppet. Patients must not be forced to take part and the therapist must be patient and wait until they decide to do so. Children who manage to play in spite of their fears have already taken a big step towards recovery. It is common to see children who are usually shy, who stammer or do not talk at all speak quite confidently when they are behind the curtain of the puppet stage, as the curtain itself plays a protective role. What could not be uttered prior can now be said through the puppet. “I did not say it, the puppet did!” becomes a truly liberating phenomenon. Sometimes the words still do not come, but via physical language the child can express his or her feelings. This is often the case for children who have been beaten or have been molested, and for war victims. Child victims often believe that they are being “rightly” punished for an imaginary crime. Their suffering and their fears are too deeply entrenched to be expressed by words. In such scenarios, speech therapists often use Muppet-type puppets (puppets with movable mouths) to help children with speech impairments or other difficulties with language. It is almost always observed that a child who usually stammers does not do so behind the puppet stage curtain.
Puppet theatre can also be used in educational programmes. Puppets can warn children about the dangers of daily life. These dangers might be in the home, at school, in the street, in a car …Or dangers resulting from natural disasters, such as what must be done or avoided during an earthquake and other such catastrophic likelihoods. It can also have a prophylactic purpose. For instance, helping children to understand and accept daily tasks linked to hygiene, such as washing hands, feet and cleaning teeth, or agreeing to go and see a dentist. In India, for example, puppets can inform about the risks of drinking water that is not potable, and the necessity to boil water before drinking it.
Street theatre is a form of theatrical performance and presentation in outdoor public spaces without a specific paying audience. These spaces can be anywhere, including shopping centres, car parks, recreational reserves, college or university campus and street corners. They are especially seen in outdoor spaces where there are large numbers of people. The actors who perform street theatre range from buskers to organised theatre companies or groups that want to experiment with performance spaces, or to promote their mainstream work. It was a source of providing information to people when there were no sources of providing information like television, radio etc. Nowadays, street play is used to convey a message to the crowd watching it Street play is considered to be the rawest form of acting, because one does not have a microphone or loud speakers.
Sometimes performers are commissioned, especially for street festivals, children’s shows or parades, but more often street theatre performers are unpaid or gather some income through the dropping of a coin in a hat by the audience.
The logistics of doing street theatre necessitate simple costumes and props, and often there is little or no amplification of sound, with actors depending on their natural vocal and physical ability. This issue with sound has meant that physical theatre, including dance, mime and slapstick, is a very popular genre in an outdoor setting. The performances need to be highly visible, loud and simple to follow in order to attract a crowd.
Street theatre should be distinguished from other more formal outdoor theatrical performances, such as performances in a park or garden, where there is a discrete space set aside (or roped off) and a ticketed audience.
In some cases, street theatre performers have to get a licence or specific permission through local or state governments in order to perform. Many performers travel internationally to certain locations of note.
Street theatre is arguably the oldest form of theatre in existence: most mainstream entertainment mediums can be traced back to origins in street performing, including religious passion plays and many other forms. More recently performers who, a hundred years ago, would have made their living working in variety theatres, music halls and in vaudeville, now often perform professionally in the many well-known street performance areas throughout the world. Notable performers that began their careers as street theatre performers include Robin Williams, David Bowie, Jewel and Harry Anderson.
Street theatre allows people who might not have ever been to, or been able to afford to go to, traditional theatre. The audience is made up of anyone and everyone who wants to watch and for most performances is free entertainment.
- 5 Describe the various categories of media Audiences.
An audience is a group of readers who read a particular piece of writing.
One should anticipate the needs or expectations of your audience in order to convey information or argue for a particular claim.
Your audience might be your instructor, classmates, the president of an organization, the staff of a management company, or any other number of possibilities.
You need to know your audience before you start writing.
Determining your Audience Type
Writers determine their audience types by considering:
- Who they are (age, sex, education, economic status, political/ social/religious beliefs);
- What level of information they have about the subject (novice, the general reader, specialist or expert);
- The context in which they will be reading a piece of writing (in a newspaper, textbook, popular magazine, specialized journal, on the Internet, and so forth).
You’ll need to analyze your audience in order to communicate effectively.
Three Types of Audience
Three types of audiences are the “lay” audience, the “managerial” audience, and the “experts.” The “lay” audience has no special or expert knowledge.
They connect with the human-interest aspect of articles.
They usually need background information; they expect more definition and description, and they may want attractive graphics or visuals.
The managerial audience may or may have more knowledge than the lay audience about the subject, but they need knowledge so they can make a decision about the issue.
Any background information, facts, statistics needed to make a decision should be highlighted.
The “experts” may be the most demanding audience in terms of knowledge, presentation, and graphics or visuals.
Experts are often “theorists” or “practitioners.”
For the “expert” audience, document formats are often elaborate and technical, style and vocabulary may be specialized or technical, source citations are reliable and up-to-date, and documentation is accurate.
Assuming you are writing a paper for a class, ask yourself who is the reader?
The most important reader is probably the instructor, even if a grader will look at the paper first. Ask yourself what you know about your teacher and his or her approach to the discipline.
Do you know, for example, if this teacher always expects papers to be carefully argued? Has this teacher emphasized the importance of summarizing cases accurately before referring to them?
Will this professor be looking for an “argument synthesis,” showing how the cases all support one point or will this professor be more interested in seeing how the cases complicate one another?
In other words, take the time to brainstorm about what you’ve learned about the teacher to help you meet his or her expectations for this paper.
You probably know more about the teacher than you think, and asking questions about how the teacher treats this material in class will help you remember those details to help you shape your paper.
Nonacademic audiences read your writing for reasons other than to grade you. (Some teachers assign papers specifically asking students to write for non-academic audiences).
They will gain information from your writing.
Think about writing a newsletter or a resume: an audience read these for information, only how they use the information varies.
A nonacademic audience involves more than writing. Consider the following:
- You’ll have to determine who the audience is.
- You’ll have to think about what is an appropriate format to use.
- You’ll have to consider what is and is not an appropriate topic for your audience. (If you don’t have one already.)
- You’ll have to determine how your topic will fit the format.