Media and Society

Do the media, in fact, reflect society as it is? Should they?

Do the media reflect society in terms of ideal types, that is, as we wish we were or as others (marketers? groups with various kinds of social power?) wish we were? If so, to what extent are these practices harmful? To whom? Why?

Do the media represent some segments of the population in terms of ideal types and other segments in terms of stereotypes–if at all? If so, to what extent are these practices damaging? To whom? Why?

Do the kinds of people we see in the media become comparisons against which we judge ourselves or against which others judges us? If so, to what extent are these comparisons harmful? Why?

Are the media both descriptive and normative? To what extent, and in which cases?

When and to what degree is the influence of the media direct (as many would argue the research on body image among young Fijian women illustrates), and when and to what degree is it mediated in some way (such that the media are linked to other complex changes that, in turn, influence attitudes or behaviors?

Do we have a right to tell family secrets, or should they remain classified?

Why is abortion private and the viewing of pornography not?

Should our government limit privacy in America in the name of national security? What price are you willing to pay for security–or the illusion of security? Has your opinion changed about these matters since September 11?