Questioning the Media: A Critical Introduction

John Downing

Anabelle Sreberny Mohammadi

Ali Mohammadi

While critical of the dominating Western culture which develops and supports a majority of mass media content, technology, and distribution systems throughout the world, this book is highly "student-friendly." The book's topics are diverse; the multi-authors are equally knowledgeable, reasonable, and adept; the book's organization is thoughtful and logical; and extra-added attractions of the book will be of assistance to undergraduate students.

The 25 chapters are divided into five parts: I--Introductory Perspectives: Culture, History, Technology; II--Media, Power, and Control; III--Audiences and Users; IV--Information Technologies; and V--Mass Culture and Popular Culture. The editors have a hand in authoring six of the chapters while the remaining chapters have been originally written for this text by appropriately expert sources. Each chapter is a tightly-written overview of such topics as: political economy, U.S. First Amendment, internal media control, Western European media, Soviet media, feminist perspectives, advertising, racism, cultural imperialism, TV news, popular music, cinema, media myths, and sports, to name a few.

The extra bonuses begin with the "Preface: A Letter from the Editors to the Beginning Student." In the Preface, the rationale for media studies, critical studies, and for a book such as this is discussed. Each part of the book has an overview; and each chapter presents both an abstract and suggested "Further Questions" for discussion after its "Conclusions" section.

At the back of the book a glossary of terms/concepts is included, citing the chapters in which each term-concept is used. This glossary is a unique, creative, and useful addition to a book such as this. Finally, there is an excellent references section containing all of the secondary material cited within all of the chapters.

This book adequately fills a gap in our field. It would be an excellent book to adopt for either an undergraduate course in "media criticism" or "mass communication and culture." Likewise, it is a useful reference for a wide-ranging number of contemporary mass communication issues. The editors have quite effectively achieved the goal of relating the media, culture, and ideology.



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We wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for their financial support through theAid to Scholarly Journals Program.

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