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205

MEDIA SOCIOLOGY:

The Dominant Paradigm

TODDGITLIN

Since the Second WorldWar,as mass media in the United States have become more concentratedin ownership,more centralizedin operations,morenational in reach, more pervasive in presence,sociologicalstudy of the mediahas been dominated by the theme of the relative powerlessnessof the broadcasters. Just as the national television networks- the first in history - were going to work, American sociology was turningaway from the study of propaganda. In this essay I argue that such a strangeconjunctionof events is not without its logic. I argue that because of intellectual, ideological and institutional commitments sociologists have not put the criticalquestions;that behind the idea of the relativeunimportanceof massmedia lies a skewed, faulty concept of "importance,"similar to the faulty concept of "power" also maintained by political sociologists, specifically those of the pluralistpersuasion,during the same period; and that, like pluralism, the dominant sociology of mass communicationhas been unable to graspcertain fundamentalfeatures of its subject. More than that: it has obscuredthem, scanted them, at times defined them out of existence, and therefore it has had the effect of justifying the existing system of mass media ownership,control, and purpose. The dominant paradigmin media sociology, what Daniel Bell has called the "received knowledge" of "personalinfluence,"1 has drainedattention from the power of the media to define normal and abnormalsocial and political activity, to say what is politically real and legitimate and what is not; to justify the two-party political structure;to establish certainpolitical agendas for social attention andto contain, channel, and exclude others;and to shape the images of opposition movements. By its methodology, media sociology has highlighted the recalcitranceof audiences, their resistance to media-

University of California, Berkeley.

206 generatedmessages,and not their dependency,their acquiescence,their gulliin a specifically bility. It has looked to "effects" of broadcastprogramming behaviorist fashion, defining "effects" so narrowly, microscopically, and directly as to make it very likely that survey studies could show only slight effects at most. It has enshrined short-run "effects" as "measures"of in a strict, repli"importance"largely because these "effects" are measurable cable behavioral sense, thereby deflectingattentionfromlargersocialmeanings of mass media production. It has tended to seek "harddata," often enough with results so mixed as to satisfy anyone and no one, when it might have more fruitfully sought hard questions. By studying only the "effects" that could be "measured"experimentallyor in surveys,it has put the methodological cart ahead of the theoreticalhorse. Or rather:it has procureda horse that could pull its particularcart. Is it any wonder, then, that thirty years of methodical researchon "effects" of mass media have producedlittle theory and few coherent findings? The main result, in marvelousparadox, is the itself.2 beginningof the decompositionof the going paradigm In the process of amassingits impressivebulk of empiricalfindings,the field of mass media researchhas also perforce been certifying as normal precisely what it might have been investigatingas problematic,namely the vast reach and scope of the instrumentsof mass broadcasting,especially television. By emphasizing precise effects on "attitudes" and microscopically defined "behavior,"the field has conspicuouslyfailed to attend to the significanceof exists in the first place, in a corporatehousing the fact that massbroadcasting and under a certain degree of State regulation.For duringmost of civilized history there has been no such thing. Who wanted broadcasting,and toward have been generatedbecauseof what ends?Whichinstitutionalconfigurations mass broadcasting,and which going institutions - politics, family, schooling, sports - have been altered in structure,goals, social meaning, and how have to shapeits products?How has the prevthey reachedback into broadcasting alence of broadcastingchanged the conduct of politics, the texture of political life, hopes, expectations? How does it bear on social structure?Which societies? popularepistemologieshave made their way acrossthe broadcasting into millions of living rooms How does the routine reachof certainhierarchies on any given day affect the common languageand concepts and symbols?By skirtingthese questions,by takingfor grantedthe existing institutionalorder, the field has also been able to skirt the substantivequestions of valuation: Does the television apparatusas it exists fulfill or frustratehumanneeds and the social interest? But of course by failingto ask such questions,it has made itself useful to the networks, to the market researchfirms, to the political candidates.

207

I. THEDOMINANT PARADIGM AND ITS DEFECTS The dominant paradigmin the field since WorldWarII has been, clearly, the cluster of ideas, methods, and findingsassociatedwith Paul F. Lazarsfeld and his school: the search for specific, measurable, short-term, individual, attitudinal and behavioral "effects" of media content, and the conclusion that media are not very importantin the formationof public opinion. Within this whole configuration, the most influential single theory has been, most likely, "the two-stepflow of communications": the idea that media messages reachpeople not so much directly as through the selective,partisan,complicatinginterpolationof "opinionleaders."In thesubtitle of PersonalInfluence, their famous and influential study of the diffusion of opinion in Decatur, Illinoisin the mid-Forties, Elihu Katz and Lazarsfeldwere concerned with "the part played by people in the flow of mass communications."3 One technicalcommentatorcommentswith due and transparent qualification: "It maybe that few formulationsin thebehavioralscienceshave had more impact than the two-step flow model."4 Daniel Bell, with his characteristicsweep, calls PersonalInfluence "the standardwork."5 Asin all sociology, thequestions asked and the field of attention define the even before theresults are recorded. In the traditionstaked out by paradigm and his associates,researchers pay most attention to those "variLazarsfeld ables" that intervene between message-producersand message-receivers, especially to the "variable" of interpersonal relations.They conceptualizethe audienceas a tissue of interrelatedindividualsratherthan as isolated pointin a masssociety. They see massmediaas only one of several "variables" targets thatinfluence "attitudes" or voting choices, and they are interested in the measurable "effects"of media especiallyin comparisonwith other "variables" like "personal contact." They measure "effects"as changes over time in respondents' attitudes or discrete behaviors,as these are reportedin surveys. Ina sequence of studiesbeginningwith The People's Choice,6 Lazarsfeld and his associates developed a methodology (emphasizing panel studies and commensuratewith their concern for mediating "variables" sociometry) like social status, age, and gregariousness. in what sense does their total appaBut ratus constitute a "paradigm," and in what sense has it been "dominant"?
indicate a tendency of thought that (a) identifies as important certain areas

Iwant to use theword loosely only, without history-of-science baggage, to

ofinvestigationin a field, (b) exploits a certain methodology, more or less distinctive, and (c) produces a set of results which are distinctive and, more come to be recognized as such. In this important, sense, a paradigm is established as such not only by its producers but by its consumers, the

208

that accordsit standingas a primaryoutlook. profession the paradigm,Katz's and Lazarsfeld's Within specific theory of "the two-step flow of communication,"the idea that "opinion leaders"mediate decisively between mass communicators and audiences, has occupied the center of scholarlyattention. In any discussion of mass media effects, citations of Personal Influence remainvirtually obligatory. As the first extended exploration of the idea - "the two-step flow" appearsonly as an afterthought,and without much elaboration, at the end of the earlierThe People's ChoicePersonalInfluence can be read as the foundingdocument of an entire field of inquiry.If the theory has recently been contestedwith greatforce on empirical grounds,7 the paradigm as a whole continues to be the central ideaconfigurationthat cannot be overlooked by critics. Joseph T. Klapper's The Effects of MassCommunication (1960) is the definitive compilation of the field's early stages; but the Decatur study, spread out as it is in detail, of the whole paradigm. for a reexamination seemsto me a better testing-ground and citations forth call to critiques at its own level of By having the power generality,it remainscentralto the field. For twenty years replicatingstudies haveproliferated,complicatingand multiplyingthe categoriesof the Decatur study, looking at different types of behavior,different types of "news function" ("relay," "information,"and so on), some of them confirmingthe twostep flow on a small scale,8 but most of them disconfirmingor severely it.9 All these studiesproceedfromthe introductioninto an isolated qualifying social system of a single artifact - a product, an "attitude," an image. The "effect"is alwaysthat of a controlledexperiment (such,at least, is the aspiration), but the tendencyis to extrapolate,without warrant,from the study of a single artifact's "effect" to the vastly more generaland significant"effect" of broadcastingunder corporate and State auspices. Whateverthe particular findings, the general issues of structuralimpact and institutional change are lost in the aura,the reputationof the "two-stepflow." looming presence throughout recent sociology is a PerhapsPaul Lazarsfeld's that influence" helps account for the dominance of his paradigm, "personal even beyond what were at times his own relativelymodest claimsfor it. But howeverroutinized,cannot be the whole story. It cannot one man's charisma, explain, for example, how the "personalinfluence" paradigmfinds its way, uncritically accepted, into a critical book like Anthony Giddens'sThe Class Structureof the AdvancedSocieties:lo The influence of the mass media, and the diffusion of "mass culture" generally, is usually pointed to as a primary source of the supposed "homogenisation"of patterns of consumption, and of needs and tastes.

In the critique that follows." or becoming"normal.and invisible . throughoutPart I. may be interpreted andrespondedto in quite differentways. are generatedby a approach behaviorist worldview which makes itself decisive . existing forms of differentiationin social structuremay be actively reinforcedby it. and the specific to "effects" in which the theory is embedded. Of course the issue for class structuremay be neither its eradication(a straw man) nor its "simple" reinforcement(as if reinforcementwere simple). "readings"of any given media material. the "hypodermic" (in theory). The "Hypodermic" Theory The"personal influence" paradigmis itself located within a critique of the . political. The dominantparadigm has to be understood as an intersectionof all these factors.209 But research on the "two-stepflow of communication"shows that formally identical content. but more." They respond.11But my hierachically pointis that the Katz-Lazarsfeld theory still in 1973 had the power to compel enthusiasm in a theorist otherwiseunsympatheticto their approach. Brown13have stressed. ditions in the world. the course of mass media theory has to be understood as a historical process. or explicitly not. that is.more general"normal" Influence to questions of mass media "effects". to inquireinto what they might imply for the whole field of communicationsresearch.In Part II.and preferred. the "normal" sociological worldview now current. behaviorism). salient forces in the world. within a social-scientific worldview now "normal. or contesting the ideological and actual social. I am concernedwith Personal as both buttress and instance of the larger. DeFleurn2and Roger L. technologicalconfield (inthis case. There are thus three metaconditions shapingany given theoreticalperspective:the natureof theoretical thetheory or theories preceding this case. The theory of the two-step flow. in the light or darknessof history . as disseminatedin the mass media. and technological. in which theoristsconfront not only social reality but also the theories extant. as a consequenceof such selectivity of perceptionand response. Farfrom being eradicatedby the uniform content of the media.in the form of methodologicalmicroassumptions. As Melvin L. of course. political. respond to the going theories in the languages of social researchthen current.of new." or contestingfor "normalcy. social. I probe for the roots of the whole intellectualenterprise. but its transformation in a patternedway throughthe possibility of alternate. I want to identify the flaws approach in one particulartheory. Theorists.

At the same time. taken on its face. as it happens.the Decaturstudy. Thus. Moreover.and the first wide-scaleuse of radio. it also found supportin the thought of certain schools of social and psychological theory. For now I want to isolate the .a simple kind of nervous system . classical sociologyof the late 19thcentury Europeanschools emphasizedthe breakdown of interpersonalrelations in urban.210 earlier "hypodermic"theory. of paucity interpersonal Thiswas the "model"-of society andof the processesof communicationwhichmass media researchseems to have had in mind when it firstbegan.codified it.who first named the "personal vulnerable influence"paradigm.16 It was this erned by the relatively simple stimulus-response "hypodermic"model which Katz and Lazarsfeldproposed to dislodge by attention to the socialmilieux within which audiencesreceivedmedia drawing "hypodermic"notions. shortlyafter the introduction of radio. attitudes.the "model" developedfrom an image of the potency of the mass media which was in the popularmind. the anomaliesmean something. in the 1920s.in a society characterized relations..Katz and Lazarsfeld.the anomalies themselves help us grasp the theory's social context. extremely individuals. as a reinstatemessages.atomized. Behaviorist Assumptionsand DamagedFindings But the "personalinfluence"theory was founded on limiting assumptions.The "schools of social and psychological theory" to which they referredwere those govpsychology.so that its solid claims would be misleadingeven if substantial.14 In the "hypodermic" model. and brought it to the center of the field.themedia of communicationwerelooked upon as a new kind of unifying force ..industrialsociety and the emergenceof new forms of remote.the theory does not even hold up in its own terms.the new insistence the ment of society within study on the complexity of the mediationprocessmade good sense.and dispositionstowardsbehaviorinto passive. society is mass society. impersonalsocial control. fails in importantways to confirm the theory it claimsto be confirming. wereexplicitly aimingto dethronethe "hypodermic"theory:15 . and mass communications "inject" ideas. Indeed. the "popularmind" of which Katz and Lazarsfeld was recoiling from the unprecedented barrage of nation-state propaganda duringthe First WorldWar. Partly.reaching out to every eye and by an amorphoussocial organizationand a ear. which is in turn both a theory of society and a theory of the workings of mass media within it.As a correctiveto overdrawn social of communication. spoke Duringthe Twenties.

Icenter on the applied theory'slimiting assumptions. they cautionedagain:20 It would be a mistake. A few pageslater. give the impressionthat the media are quite ineffectual as far as persuasionin social and political [i. effects of a single.to generalizefrom the role of the massmedia in. they wrote:19 It is important to note that some of these longer rangeeffects which have barely been looked into promise to reveal the potency of the mass media effects [i..consonant with an administrativepoint of view. with which centrally located who possess adequate information can make decisions that administrators affect their entire domain with a good idea of the consequences of their choices. Now it is true that in a number of footnotes.Whetherin Lazarsfeld'ssurveys or the laboratoryexperimentsof CarlHovlandand associates.they were to be sought as shortterm"effects" on precisely measurablechangesin "attitude"or in discrete behavior. direct. more indirect effects were conceptualized and subjectedto study. long term effects and institutional change. Katz and Lazarsfelddid note (the word is apt) the self-imposedlimitations of their study and their concept. short term effects. some empirical discrepancies.Thelatter.. they concluded with a reminderthat is as forceful as a footnote can be:21 . Katz and Lazarsfeld a rough time dimension": "immediate response. non-marketing]mattersis concerned." the notion of "two-step flow" and "opinionleaders"tends not to be qualified."18On the next page.and to see how they were in PersonalInfluence..intentionally or not . In the discussion that follows. short-runeffects to the degree of media potency which would be revealed if some longer-run. as we shallnote below. e.the theory's limits in time. matter It is worth stressingagain that the theory was rooted in a strict behaviorism. which are necessarily . e.17 classifiedfour types of"effects" "along In one footnote... "Effects"of mass media lay on the surface. And as the last word of their theoretical Part One. short-run much more than do "campaign" promotionalor electoralcampaign].and -a larger even if we set these aside ..211 theoreticalassumptions of the entire paradigm. the purpose was to generatepredictive theories of audience response. As "receivedknowledge.users. Laterdevelopers. and promotersof the theory were not alwaysso careful to specify the boundaries of their work. again in a footnote.

the method of the PersonalInfluence study.beginningwith its takenassumptions. for the much needed researchon these less apparent. they seem to have visible effects on the characterof personal "participation" in a variety of culturaland political activities. but Katz himself23 and many later commentators wrote on it as a selfcontained hypothesis. for-granted of the Modesof Influence: The exerciseof Assumption 1.It demandsits own critique.. Commensurability is media mass presumed to be comparableto the exercise of power through power in face-to-face situations.Whatshould not be lost in all of this. is the idea that there are other kinds of mass media effectswhich have not been much studied .the effect of short-runattempts ("campaigns") to change opinions and attitudes. "short-range changes and face-to-faceinfluences. and that of its precursorsand successors. to avert any possible misunderstanding.212 It is perhaps worth reiteratingwhat was said at the very opening: Mass media researchhas been concerned almost exclusively with the study of only one kind of effect . it standsseparatefrom the wished-forgeneralmodel that never materialized."in any more ambitiousprogramof inquiry:22 Wehope that as time goes on. too.but perhapsmore potent.Thus. more and more links in the generalinfluence chains permeatingour society will be studied. But all disclaimersaside.. The model by itself is meant to be more than preliminary. "People" "play a part"in the "flow of mass .it is of a piece..But these problemswill forever be out of reach if we lose patiencewith very specific investigationssuch as the presentone.that communi(predominantlylong-range) contexts into cations researchmust take full account of the interpersonal which the mass media are injected . effects of mass communications.may hold good. they inserted a statementin Finally.. the mass media surely lend themselves to all kinds of psychological gratificationsand social "uses".But our prescription . These chaptershave not been explicitly concernedwith these matters.where the impact of the mass media on society may be very much greater. etc.they have often been credited with being the primaryagencies for the transmissionof cultural values. however. This last sentence must mean that personalinfluence analysis is necessaryto a generalanalysisof massmedia effects and commensuratewith it.stands as a perspectiveof its own.. the text to locate the personalinfluence analysis..No readershould confuse the modesty of our present enterprisewith a blindness to broader and more complex problems. Not only did a generationof successorswork with the personalinfluence model.

The occasion of influence was the face-to-face encounter in which individual A commended attitude a or behaviorb to individualB. although there are points in the text (for example. Power as Distinct Occasions:Power is to be assessed in case studies of discrete incidents.then they would interview the next link in the chain.213 communications. Discussingthe two "formsof influence"in the same breath.as functionalequivalentsor commensurables. or what will later be called "nondecisions. the relations between their influences can be characterizedas "greater" or "lesser. is that everyone has the opportunity to exercise "personal influence" directly on someone else.they decided to ask respondentsto recall "incidents of influence exchange. (a) fails to reveal the frequency of influences.is in its duly and divinely appointed place. of course. p. whereas the direct influence of mass media belongs routinely and professionallyto the hierarchically organizedhandful who have access to it. Assumption 2.they would ask respondentshow they had changed their minds in each of four issue areas. vulgarMarxismor elite theory on the other). This reductionof structurallydistinct social processesto commensurables can be recognized as a cardinal operation in the behavioristcanon. as if power were a ." Notice that this behavioralization of power is identical to that achieved and insisted upon by the pluralistschool of community political analystswho also came to prominenceand began to dominate their field in the 1950s. 96) where the assumptionlay relatively close to the surface. for one. albeit informally.25 Here too the revolt against an earlier paradigmwhich emphasized the power of elites (the hypodermicmodel on the one hand. Instead of these alternatives."The links in "the general influence chain" are all of the same order."26 on studying discrete episodes of the exercise of influence. The very image of a chain is reminiscentof the medieval Great Chain of Being. Languageof this sort revealsthe silent premiseof the work. Katz and Lazarsfelddiscussedand rejectedtwo other possible criteria of influence: The reputationalmethod.24In particular. and generally the relation is reciprocal.in which everyone." and the specific influentialsinvolvedtherein. But what is distinct about the two processes. Those who exercised influence on such occasions were defined as "opinionleaders." This was assumed rather than explicitly stated in PersonalInfluence. Second.is what made for the generaleffect. indeed everything. the counting of face-to-face contacts might let the decisive encounters through the sieve. and (b) may elicit the names of prestigiousindividualswho have not actually directly influenced the respondent. Here too the tacit denial of patternsof structurallymaintained Here too the insistence power.

"28 within asingle theory.or made any other changeto somethingmore fashionable?Yes.. coffee. The Commensurability Assumption is ashort-term "attitudechange" or a discrete behavior.. have you bought any new product or brand During that you don't usually buy? (I don't mean something you had to buy becauseit was the only one available. public affairsand movie-going.. and"non-pyramiding.the interviewers then asked if the respondenthad recently changedher mind about any "like" them.fashions. as we shall see below.. whence. "our startingpoint was to ask the respondentto tell us the name of the last movie that she saw.or..) askeda numberof recentpoll questions. d. "Opinion New Haveninfluentials did not "pyramid"their influence. more of freely flowingmarketplace kind or less. cosmetics.. soapflakes or chips. the discoverythat opinion leadership. No. For the reason. Withregardto fashions: Haveyou recently changed anything about your hairdo. And on public affairs.... the report of such "change"or behaviorby arespondent. andone which the respondent can attribute to some specific intervention from outside. it revealsthe similarityof problematicsand methodologies..)Yes. No. (If no) On which of thesehave you tried a new brand most recently? a.. The Dahl's as just structural homology of the two paradigms. type of clothing." (The respondentswere women."27 the pluralistconcept of influence. assumed tobe assimilable were Thedomain of their interest is most accuratelyconveyed with a look at the items:29 relevant questionnaire With regardto marketing: the last month or so. (If so) Whatsort of changedid you make? Withregardto movies. the of Buying andPolitics: The unit of 3. . c.see p.personalinfluence and pluralism reveals somethingmore significantthan a coincidentalsimilarityin the shape oftheir results. 236. breakfastcereals.. None of these. common thrustsof the two fields. b.214 commodity in a situation of equality.Katz andLazarsfeldwere concerned with "four arenasof everyday Theseareas decisions: marketing.is issue-specific like leaders" in one sphere did not have influence over other spheres...make-up. more influence exactly.

power was the power to compel a certain behavior. not to mention technologicalinventions. and a fundamentalone. or. where privatepropertyroutinelyyields to the claims of wealth and accumulation. never opened up to question. the microscopicattention to "attitudechange"was built on a confining approachto the nature of power. or. directly.First." celebrities and cultural artifacts.the concern was explicitly with changesin consumerbehavior.30 If they had not changed their attitudes. Respondents were asked if they had recently changed their attitudes on a currentissue. If one does not take invariancefor granted. and in the fourth. they were askedwho had influenced them. These issue-areaswere taken to be comparable. But more: the blithe assumptionof the commensurability and politics. Katz and Lazarsfeld could not possibly . namely buying. Assumption 4.Indeed. must be taken for granted. In PersonalInfluence. More deeply. social "trends. hung over the entire argumentof PersonalInfluence like an ideologicalsmog. Limiting their investigation thus.one is frequently confronted with new political agendas(ecology. when "new" is the symbolic affirmationof positive value and "old-fashioned" an emblem of backwardness. say). In thishistoricalsituation. with another discrete behaviorin the realm of consumerchoice. its is possible that a respondenthad begun to "changeher mind" on a given back to the originalposition by personalinfluences issue. Shiftingpolicies of state routinely call for the mobilizationand shift of public opinion. what in the modern age is called a constancy of attitude would have been inconstancy itself in previous times. how are we to understandthe resulting "nondecisions?"For thereis no compellingreasonwhy constancy of attitude. "Attitude Change"as the Dependent Variable: more tellingly.and the presumed comparabilityof political ideas and productpreferencesdistortedsome of the actual of buying findings.to take a constancy of attitude for grantedamounts to a choice. Now there are two ways in which this sense of influence is inadequate. in the capitalist age."it was the power to compel a changein "attitude"on some current issue.215 So in two of the four issue-areas. only to be persuaded More important still are the ways in which mass media. but as something to be explained. on which one is provoked into having opinions in the first place. neverexplicitly justified.31 In the phase of high-consumptioncapitalismespecially.in the third. if they had. Fickleness of loyalties is a prerequisiteof capitalist society. to ignore the question of the sourcesof the very opinions which remain constant throughoutshifting circumstances. in the case of "public affairs. And in the realm of public life generally. with changein the opinion expressed."changingone's mind" about products is a routine event. they were assumed not to have been influenced. by attitudes failed to change at all.

They have no ontological standing media research. Yet reinforcement of opinion is an indispensablelink between attitudes and actions. sources Andthis absenceis not rectifiedby the presenceof anothermajorterm in the Lazarsfeldcanon: reinforcement.reinforcementis the way in which mediainfluence makes itself felt. The source of their knowledge and the bases of their opinions were obviously restricted.however. for all practicalpurposes. The Effects of Mass of this argument. By way of a commonsenseexample."reinforcement" can be understood as the crucial solidifying of attitude into ideology. to condition public support for these institutional arrangements themselves.216 explorethe institutional power of mass media: the degree of their power to shapepublic agendas. especially JosephT. Klapperand others who write in this vein think of reinforcementas a lower order affair comparedto persuasionor mobilization. occur only where there is an opinion to reinforce or oppose.33 in the constraining conceptualworld of mainstream has more recently Thoughhe missed these points in his earlierwork. Although there has been relativelylittle researchon the subject. For Lazarsfeldand his school. of course. to mobilize networks of support for the policies of stateand party. Klapper's summary book.which comes remainsthe locus classicus Communication. The media are taken only to "reinforceexisting opinions" rather than to change minds. Nor could they even crack open the questions of the of these powers. Klapper. the media appear to be extremely effective in creating opinions. And of course such situations are routine in national and international . A year thereafter. It cannot occur in the absenceof opinion. If media"only" reinforce"existingopinions.Moreover. Klapper old theoretical the demolishes that a with effectively proposition compensated apparatus:34 Reinforcementand conversioncan. or anchoringopinion in newly routine behavior. let alone his political leanings. a few months before Fidel Castrocame to power. the Americanpublic knew a great deal about him and his political behavior and were ratherhomogeneousin their opinions about him."they may well bereadyingaction.But "ideology" and "consciousness"are concepts that fall through the sieves of both behaviorismand stimulus-response psychology. a relativelyenduring configuration of consciousnesswhich importantly determineshow peoplemay perceiveand respondto new situations. probably less than 2 per cent of the Americanpeople so much as knew his name.32 about the ineffectuality to void criticismof the moregeneralargument forward of media.to the massmedia.

etc. their practice of taking attitudes as discrete and disconnected units does not address theirlocation in ideationalstructure:that is. of internationalstance and alignment.the head of researchfor CBSTelevision foremost students. since it does not discuss the source of whatever "existing opinion" do "ordinarily"prevail. the Decatur women were asked to nominate "opinion leaders" in relation to the externallydefined news. Their referencegroups are likewise without opinion." Katz and Lazarsfeldasked them "for their opinions on a variety of domestic and internationalproblemsthen currentin the news. and fundamental the structure and content of the media. Assumption 5.and the media are thus able to work directly upon their audiences. definitive. Specifically. g.it defined "opinionleading"as an act of following without the awareness . e.And it does not addressthe substratum of belief that underlies discrete "opinions. the amusement .But his remarkdoes show it is impossibleto sources ground a theory of media impact in data collected on self-attributed of opinion change. The issues presentedin this way are among the most momentous: issues of war and peace. In short. the factors that ordinarily render mass communicationsan agent of reinforcementare inoperative. on Truman'sforeign .of economic policy. or selective perception. Without raisingsuch points. Now of course even this exclusion does not suffice as a statement of the conditions for media impact. Followers as "OpinionLeaders":Katz and Lazarsfeldtook as given.). In such a situation the audienceshave no existing opinions to be guardedby the conscious or subconsciousplay of selective exposure.217 political life: people are constantly expected to know something about situations they barely knew existed the day before.indeed. A media sociology severed from a sense of the political importance of such issues systematicallymisses the point.. Klapper.To tell who was an "opinionleader. They were looking at the processof ideas movingthroughsociety throughthe wrongend of the telescope. The close attention they paid to "opinion leaders" not only automatically distracted from the central importance of the broadcastnetworks and wire services. selective retention. And further: although Lazarsfeldand his students did seek to show that attitudes may be rooted in social position (socio-economic status.that such confusion should have occasioned. in ideology."Klapperis holding on to the personalinfluence paradigm. goes on: and one of Lazarsfeld's It is not difficult to see why the mass media are extremely effective in creatingopinion on new issues. and opinion leadersare not yet ready to lead.

But the distinction is lost in bland language. Itis as if one were studying the influence of streets on mortality rates .In the processof askinghow decisions are made at the bottom of the influence structure.218 on demobilization policy for the army. from the outset. relationsbetween broadcasters But an administrativepoint of view is likely.38 Vague (indeed. It asks. it cannot ask why the occasion for deciding exists in the first place."but the nature of the channelsof that flow. a vague concept of power. one is led to suspect that Compared the chain of interpersonalinfluence is longer in the realmof public affairs andthat "inside dope" as well as influencingin specific influence episodes affair. is muchmore a person-to-person chain of influence"is an evasion of institutionalized Thesuspicionof a "longer and audiences. will inevitably "leak"in transmission.to use the officiallanguage the importance of "independentvariables"that are mentalityexaggerates underinvestilocatedclosest in time and space to the "dependentvariables" and preventedKatz Lazarsfeld point of view Only theiradministrative gation. and who decided the content actually of certifiedexpertise? of sociology.37 for were dependent their that "experts" obvious: the fromtaking seriously of analysis. the . and they were therefore discoveringnot "the part played by people in the flow of masscommunications. as we shall see) maskeda crucial language distinction. since the institutional origin.35 "Experts. not a cause of drowning. Katz and Lazarsfeld weretaking for granted the power of mass media to define news. changed their opinions" and whether they had if they had "recently asked advice.those whose generalpublicbetween issues .duringan enormousflood. is that the administrative The problem. Katz and Lazarsfeld way:39 with the realmof fashionsat any rate. did an "opinion leader" lead? Whatwas an "expert" expert in. the of out scope ruled explicitly theirexpertise on a "variable" were being asked to name as influentials those individualswho Respondents they thought were most tuned in to the mass media.Whenthey came to address skirted the issue of institutionalizednews this theissue." asked been for meanwhile . by being more distantboth conceptuallyand in time and space. A street is a conduit. in other words.were defined as boundaries the influence overflowed affairs you know anyone around nominated in response to this question: "Do those trust to let you know who keeps up with the news and whom you can here whatis really going on?"36 Inwhat sense. etc." Then the women were policy. to confuse a report of a certain sort of influence with originatingpower. then.

How is one to make sense of the followingresult?40 Not every [public affairs] opinion change [between June and August] involveda personalcontact. then a serious disconformationin only one of the areas does not weigh so .andthe theory is constructedto apply to all of them indiscriminately. or. not the changers) were apparently made without involving any remembered contact. marketing.) ing Failingsand Discrepancies Empirical if we accepted the behavioristpremisesembeddedin the plan of Personal Even Influence.we would still have to confront the specific ways in which the fails of its intended purposes. Even if we permit the' questionable assumptionthat people can reliably testify to the sources of their "attitude changes.219 asks. and were.movies and public affairs. personal On the face of it. How did this disconfirmationfail to enter into Katz'sand theoretical conclusion? I can only conjecture that the failure to Lazarsfeld's incorporate the empirical disconfirmation into the theory ."42 is now seen to be more wrong than right.flows from the study's construction of a false commensurabilityamongthe four areas of fashion. "Not every opinion change" indeed!41 The general theoretical conclusion. Fifty-eight per cent (of the changes. 233X0. dependentupon the mass media.that is."there is a peculiar anomaly. an administrator questions (Infact it was a marketer. that "ideasoften flow from radio and print to the opinion leadersand from them to the less active sections of the population. On the roots of Lazarsfeld's research. the discrepancywas mentioned at one point in the book. but not when the general theory was being stated . Katz and Lazarsfeld have some of the interestingdiscrepanciesin their findings.see pp. Because of the sweep of their claim to theory discovereda generalprinciple of social interaction. in this case. in fact. very often. That is. they blurred reporteddiscrepanciesbut failed to interpret them. If one regardsthese areas as equally significant and comparable. weight The most striking discrepancy between finding and theory comes where Katz and Lazarsfeldreported the results of their survey of the sources of whatever"attitude change" on public affairs showed up between the two interviewperiods. this extraordinaryfinding discreditsthe theory of the twostep flow. MacfaddenPublications. the questions a marketerasks. to give them proper in their theorizing. it is. consistent with the old "hypodermic"notion.who commissionedthe work in marketDecatur study in the first place. June and August.

than people named in the areas of marketingand fashions. Often enough footnotes are the burial groundsof anticipatedcriticism.In otherwords.61 percent for influencees.they are also. For designated influentials. and limited the theory's claims in order to be true to the empiricaldiscrepancies.but only 37 percentfor publicaffairs.43Fifty-sevenpercent of the designated marketing influencees acknowledged that role. the confirmationswere 71 percentfor marketing. after hundreds of pages of generalizationabout reminded mass communications.in the areaof discrepancy. certainly one of the major extrapolationsfrom their work in later years.44Katz and Lazarsfeldmentioned the possibility that the men who were disproportionatelythe public-affairsinfluencers may have been poor informantson these matters." The Theory'sLimits in Time Even if we accepted the behavioristassumptionsof PersonalInfluence. the disconfirmationis decisive. but 38 percent of the public affairs influencees. If.220 heavily.it was in a footnote that Katz and Lazarsfeld the reader: "The study was completed before the general introduction of . they did not mention the possibility that specific influence on one's "public affairs attitude changes"was so hard to trace as to cast discredit on the idea of a two-step flow operatingat all. or any other decisive interpersonalprocess of influence. There is anotherinstancewhere the Decaturdata pointed away from the twofailedto take the empirical step flow theory. therefore. one is investigatingthe impact of masscommunications on political attitudes. on the other hand.So it is that. or that they had in fact been influenced . nated influentials.the confirmations for fashions. in the area of public affairs. media work directly upon public consciousness. People named as influentials or influencees in the area of public affairswere far less likely to confirm that status .but only 38 percent of the public affairs influencees. Thus the extrinsicchoice of fourissue-areas (see p.to confirm. 56 percent of the fashion influencees. For desig61 percent were71 percentformarketing. 236) ends up permittingthe authors to push a seriousdiscrepancyoff to one side. Although this marked failure of confirmation bankrupts the public-affairs variant of the theory. Katz and Lazarsfeldpassedover any such implicationby callingfor "muchmore study" and by labelingtheir study "exploratory.in other words. and in which Katz and Lazarsfeld lapse into account in formulatingtheir theory. good sites to begin the archaeologicaldigs of critical investigation. that they had in fact made an attempt to influence. Data like these are entirely consistent with the "hypodermic"theory: with the hypothesis that. we would still have to confront its barelysuggestedhistoricalboundaries.

Can one hope to understandthe effects of these media .effects of the mass media. about the force of television in the domain of political consciousness andpolitical conduct." It is hard to know what to make of this.As their rhetoricmakes clear. in the summer of 1945. and the authors did not afford us anyassistance.a priori.cannot be adequately stated without some structuralsetting.more "credible" medium of television later on. From the snapshot. In other words. they and their followers constructeda paradigm which would then be taken as valid over the historical long haul. that televisionwould have. made one criticalpoint very clearly:46 Manyproblemswith which [abstractedempiricism's]practitionersdo try to deal . we would still not be in a position to say anythingcogent about the era after 1945. Illinois. but it is not an adequatebasis for the developmentof advertising a theory of the social meaningof the mass media. they proposed the inferences one could only make about a film.only a population that has been "saturated"by these media for almost a generation? The attempt to sort out individuals"less exposed" from those "more exposed" to one or another medium may well be of great concern to interests. But the transpositionwas not justifiable. It would rather seem. and even if the theory embodied there were compelling ratherthan weak (which it is not).validacrossthe boundariesof time."45 ablyadulteratingthe generality of their conclusions about"the flow of mass communications. that what went for radio and print in 1945 should go for the more intrusive. to say the least.221 And then they darted back to their discussionwithout noticetelevision. with whateverprecision."necessarilya theory of the mass media in history.much less their combinedmeaningfor the development of a mass society .But to begin with it is not obvious. even if the findingsof Personal Influencewere persuasiveon their face (which they are not). or at least could have.C. more immediate.if one studies. Katz and Lazarsfeld did not intend simply to make assertionsabout the relationsbetween more and less media-exposedwomen in Decatur. Of course it was precisely what Mills considered "a theory of the social meaningof the massmedia. WrightMills. for example . Because of the methodological difficulties that would be entailed in studyinglong-run effects in a positivistfashion.who had supervised the field work in Decaturand then draftedthe originalanalysisof the data in 1946. a more direct impact than radio or print. But a larger question arises here too. of the confusion between synchronic and diachronicdimensions. . they intended generalstatements.

however couched in the ordinarylanguage of timeless truths.Latergenerationsof scholarsinherit and perpetuatethe main outlines of the pioneeringand misstatus. And opinions should be leavened withcaution. a Radio City. especiallywhen they are located obscurelyin the text.could in principlebe discreditedby future replications. to put it technically. Comparisons societieslacking these mass media would be too crude to yield decisive results."Lazarsfeld are "grossassertion"and "precisedemonstration. Lazarsfeld Robert K. stration.Failing historical speculation (and why could there not be to admit straightforward fine speculation?). Such brevity was plainly indicative of a lapse in caution. or what Alfred North Whiteheadcalled "misplacedconcretism. Merton):47 with critical essay (written role can be assignedto the mass media by virtue of the fact that they What exist? What are the implications of a Hollywood. of course.Indeed. And yet Lazarsfeld's cleanly positivist approach in Personal Influence is "grosslyspeculative"in its own way."But a multiplication of categoriesis not necessarilya clarificationof reality. examine it critically. and are thereforeequally capable of validationby the criteriaof KarlPopper.or. especially to ignore or to overridethe cautions and contradictionsof the foundingwork. easy. themselves dubious.the central "independentvariable" was grossly incomplete.and comparisonswith an earlier day in Americansociety would still involve gross assertions rather than precise demonstrations."we seem If the alternatives to be left with the overly elaboratedcategoriesof microscopictechnique.unscientific. And if it were to be claimed that the positivist propositions of PersonalInfluence.be discussedonly in grosslyspeculativeterms. The shape of the social .and impractidid so in no uncertaintermsin the midst of his most cable. since no experimenwith other tation or rigorouscomparativestudy is possible.In such aninstance. brevity is clearly indicated. it would have to be grantedin return that general historical statements are in principleequally refutable.and therefore remainscientific in the Poppenansense. according it paradigm-founding the in so It is press of one's own studies. and usually failing to leading study. Confusingthe two is the occupationalhazardof the positivist tradition. A four-hundred page book found a one-line footnote sufficient notice that its generalpropositionsdid not take account of a centralfeature of the reality they claimed to be uncovering.rejectingit as "grossassertionrather than precisedemonlet "grossassertion"in throughthe back door. by elevating the findings of a single study.222 thatKatz and Lazarsfeldwould discount as vague. and a Time-Life-Fortune enterprise for our society? These questions can. to the status of timeless theory.

do their public lives bother them. now standing off against human beings like some different substance. albeit contested now by structuraland radicalcritiques. etc. this pattern of theoretical assumptions bears a strong resemblance to the assumptions of corporate broadcastingitself. and provided that either of them cared enough at the end to bother writing anything.their very "hardness. exchanged for..and of body counts and megaton nuances." If Mills succumbed. etc. The fact in social science becomes a sort of commodity. W. their indisputability. which men.and when finished they would have written Americans View TheirMentalHealth ratherthan The Sociological Imagination. just as the fact as it is presented through mass media becomes authorityitself. of objective journalism.of the Guinness Book of World Records . authoritativeradio and TV voice. Adorno has traced this sociological orientation to "Durkheim'srule that one should treat social facts like objects. opaque. is the society of the instant replay. and supplanted by others. the two of them would have to apply to the NationalInstitute of Mental Health for a million-dollar grantto check out and elaboratethat first sentence. etc."49The practice of making a fetish of the "hard" behavioralfact in sociology grows along with the use of "hardnews. Friday and mainstream sociology both demand"Just the facts. what kinds of traps do they experience." of the . Not surprisingly. Maurice One of my favorite fantasiesis a dialogue between Millsand Lazarsfeld in which the former reads to the latter the first sentence of The Sociological Imagination:"Nowadaysmen often feel that their privatelives are a series of traps.223 science that results is nicely graspedin the memoir of a former Columbia Stein:48 graduatestudent. Dragnets Sgt. They would need a staff of hundreds. should first and foremost renounce any effort to 'understand'them. ma'am." Lazarsfeldimmediately replies: "How many men." and this in turn to the reality of "relationshipsbetween men which have grown increasingly independent of them. the web of assumptions that stands behind Personal Influence persists. how long havethey felt this way. when do they feel free ratherthan trapped. The two enterprisesshare in a fetishism of facts." take on the authority of coherent theory. which aspects of their privatelives bother them. for the absurdityof their pretensionsand the trivializationof their languagedo not halt them.to be comparedwith. and of abstract empiricism. the common currency of discourse." T. The society of the crisp. Indeed. facts which by their raw muscularity.. an orientationto the bewilderingworld that lies outside one's milieu and outside one's control. of microscopicallyinterestingsports records. One should ponder well the actual uses of the studies Stein mocks. provided that they finished at all.

point of view rooted in academic sociology's ideological assimilation into modem capitalism and its institutional rapprochementwith major foundations and corporationsin an oligopolistic high-consumptionsociety.its methodologicalindividualism.and we find. measurable. The fetishism of facts as a practice proves strongerthan the ironic theoretical understanding of its rise." which functions to discourage reflectiveness. Lazarsfeld. its market assumptions." or in "a propaganda of facts.50.and I will treat them one at a time.and not solely at sourcesof the specific two-stepflow theory within it. The administrative point of view. the marketingorientavariantof social-democratic tion.that is at issue.5S II. first publishedin 1943 by . we find a concordantmarketingorientation.its structuralnaivete . The "two-step flow" might be a sound theory. One further prefatory note: in the whole of the discussion that follows. It is the whole scope of the paradigm. I want to stress that I will be looking at roots of the paradigmas a whole . to their sociological tenor. or perhaps ad hominem.Paul F.a justifying social democratic ideology. Merton and Paul F. ROOTSOF THEPARADIGM Why did the Personal Influence study start by assumingthat mass media influence is comparableto face-to-face influence. and that power exists as discrete occasions of short-term "attitude change" or behavioral choice? How may we account for the theory's thin sampling of reality. from an excellent analysis of the phenomenon. reductionist. by the way." and not beyond them . in particular. These phrases emamate. short-term. and questions would remainabout the prevalenceof its premisesthroughoutthe field. for its discrepancies and their absence from the summary theory? And why did the field that grew from these beginningspreservethat thinness and those discrepanciesin both theory and methodology? If we step back from the Decatur study and its successors to the general style of thought they embody. individual "effects.Robert K. Lazarsfeldhimself wrote that the "ideological . and the Austro-Marxist ideology are a constellation that arose together but are (at least) analyticallyseparable. curiously.Wefind.the search for specific. it seems only proper to quote an illustriouspredecessor. we find a whole and interwoven fabric of ideolanadministrative ogical predispositionsand orientations. And lest this search for general origins be seen as unjustifiablycontextual. in which the emphasison commercially useful audience researchflourishes.224 mediated fact as "technologicalpropaganda.

from this point of view. directly or indirectly.and with controlling potential as in challengesto them. The sociologist. the massmedia system in its structuralorganization not at issue. stability." and that his ideological. therefore they tend to be short-runin timespan and behavioralratherthan structuralin focus.which in the context can mean only that results can be predicted from. and meaning of mass media. able to capitalize on its legitimacy to open research doors and to recruit a skilled staff. What C. power." "the intellectual climate. with managingthe expansion. by those who are concerned. and only by them.and in its organizationalimage. is an expert who addresses problems that are formulated. although this fundamentalchoice had serious consequences for the social uses. In the development of media researchin particular.in essence. It stands to reason that the administrative point of view comes most easily to the mind of one who is himself or herself an administrator. public ones.225 component. set up with its financialbacking." and "the personal equation" were "probableroots" of his "new researchstyle. For the administrative point of view is an angle of theory intimately connected with a practice. the whole of postwarpositivistsurgein social science.$2 Point of View The Administrative I mean that in When I say that the Lazarsfeldpoint of view is administrative. From the administrator's is of course point of view. and personal origins permitted him "structuralfit" with the emerging sociologicalscene in America. command-posts. or with the corporate criteria for media content that follow from it: he or she begins with the existing order and considers the effects of a certain use of it. the searchis for models of mass media effects that arepredictive.a concrete system of power. own self-characterization)53 for example. the commandingheights of the media. and legitimacy of their enterprises. it is the very premise of the inquiry. say. the administrative theorist(the termis Lazarsfeld's is not concerned. generalit poses questions from the vantage of the command-postsof institutions that seek to improve or rationalizetheir control over social sectors in social functions.54The administrative theorist is not concerned with the corporate structure of ownership and control at all. or for. especially of an intellectual enterprisedeveloped under corporate or State auspices. WrightMills called abstractedempiricism is not at all abstractedfrom a concrete social order. with the corporate decision to produce radio and television receivers as household commodities rather than. and best nurtured .intellectual. Thus. The "variables"are to be varied by those in charge of mass media production.or comfortably en route to that position.

(Such was the case.. Within the next fifteen years. norms and practices. administered time markets. Universities.. the new head of Social Sciences for the Rockefeller Foundation. he "developed. had begunhis tenurewith these words:58 all Practically sciences have sprung initially from philosophy. The the introduction of laboratorymethods enabled thenaturalsciences to make a rathercomplete separation. often for wider purposes. with the Decaturstudy.) As a bureaudirectorhe was able "to take reasonable risks. each developingtight interlocks with the others. In 1929. indeed.. raising knew moneyhere fromfoundations and companies fornarrow. We have to establisha new academicmold. Their mutual gravitationalpulls were graduallyforming them into a fixed and rising constellation. as pointed out. "the image of the managerial He presided there over any number of researchprojects in marketing and media. and over the reputation gatheredby bothprojects successors. one of the pioneers in the bureaucratic approachto sociologicalresearch. though flexible. Edmund E. there. and the medical sciences made the same break later.A manlike Paul Foundation. The social sciences still in the of process their establishing are independence . aserious and skilled theoretician and bargaineramong theories as well as among men."57 The time of his ascendancyin Americanacademic was. Wehave thus virtually to break an academic pattern. 236. he life afortuitous one."56 words. Day. specific purposes. to try deviant innovations without coming into too much conflict with prevailing norms. in all to its intellectual and .over the training of successors. and with no small boost from the Rockefeller that new academicmold was forming." in his own scholar. administeredculture.corporations and foundations were finding themselvesin sometimes uneasy but mutually indispensable and they were meeting under the sign of behavpartnerships. iorism. See p." could positivismas well as an "institution become central the whole developing process. At first with the Office and entrepreneurial of Radio Research at Princeton he took charge of in 1937.. Lazarsfeld. then with its reincarnation as the Bureau AppliedSocial of Researchat ColumbiaUniversity.226 within it. andthen using the money. of course.administered educationwere each cominginto its own. a practitionerof man. Point of view and institutional position select for one another. each becoming legitimate. skill in research gathering and His fundswaslegendary. 55 indeed an administrative wizard. It was a when administered politics. Lazarsfeldwas himself. he how to shift them with aplomb from project to project. a recognizable life-world with distinct and dominant.by his own account an "institutionman.

States. Lazarsfeld added:60 The way I received my fellowship has its own interest. Lazarsfeldrecalledmuch later that the pioneeringstudy he organized. of unemployment in the village of Marienthal. I was sure I would not get the fellowship. Sloan at General Motors. In November 1932 I got a cable from the Paris Rockefeller office informing me that my application had been misfiled.werelooking for institutions to embody their approach to the world.Universities wanted to establish new financial bases. the RockefellerFoundation did in fact play a substantialrole.coming to intellectual maturityunder the political star of Europeansocial democracy. and which followed. that it would not threaten the position of the entrenched academic mandarins.a leader of the Socialist Party of Austria. a statistically rich prefiguring of his later work.in 1930. and never more effectively than in putting Paul F. was suggestedto him originallyby Otto Bauer. to integrate themselvesinto the postwar boom and the new hegemonic culture. and that they wanted another copy. price-increasingmass marketing pioneered by Alfred E.I mailed a "duplicate.All these interests and strategieswere converging. although they would have to be convinced that the new researchstyle was legitimate. Lazarsfeldon the Americanmap. In the crystallization of the new intellectualforce.59That study. able to put sociological methods at the serviceof a brash.Men like Lazarsfeld.The State was interestedin knowing the conditions for effective propaganda. where I arrived In a footnote to his memoir." and the fellowshipwas granted. .havinglearned the uses of quantification in the rise of engineering(especially in Taylorist production) and in the model-changing.expandingconsumercapitalism. and did not apply. But it makeslittle sense to ask exactly which particular organizational institutions led. with greatsuccess. wanted to rationalizethe social sciences and make them practical. Foundations and corporations. They had obviously decided to grant me the fellowship on the recommendationof their representativeand it had never occurredto them that I had not applied. in the vast social and cultural transformation into oligopolistic capitalism. Living in the pessimistic climate of Vienna at the time.227 aspects. and in 1932 I obtained a travelingfellowship to the United in September 1933. The Rockefeller representative gave me an application form. and a farsighted and adventuresomeand skilled thinker like Paul Lazarsfeld was one to insist on the common interest.inventive with mathematicaltools. of the Rockefeller brought me to the attention of the Parisrepresentative Foundation.

Paul F. dence"of social science from primitive.it attempted to answer such questions as these: What individualsand social groupslisten to the radio? How much do they listen and why? In what ways are they affected by their listening? The radio industry had. . but also developed new methods of inquiryapplicableto forecastingand testing the response of untried programs. "This of philosophy.wasnot worriedby his dependenceon the Foundation.The researchby the two institutionsnot only gave a detailedand accurateportraitof the American listeningpublic."63 Here is what the former President of the RockefellerFoundationhas written about the Foundation'ssupport:64 An undertakingof perhaps deeper promise was the support given to the School of Public and InternationalAffairs of PrincetonUniversitytoward a study of the role that radio plays in the lives of the listeners."he wrote later. impartial for his part. Lazarsfeld.and the reports whichgrew out of the studieshavingbeen widelyused in the radio industry.62 In Lazarsfeld the Foundation had found a superlative man who could bring the "new researchstyle" inside reluctant organization of and make the positivistspiritprevailagainstthe backwardness universities. the income of the ConsultingDivision of Columbia Office of Radio Research. "permitted me to do any kind of specific study as long as I gaveit some nominal But not quite. Lazarsfeld'soffice was increasingly advice..non-instrumental in 1937. Withina few years the Office "had acquiredan institutional life of its own.228 the indepenTheFoundation continued to care assiduouslyfor "establishing philosophy. Lazarsfeld. Lazarsfeld.Robert Lyndat Columbiaconvinced Cantrilto hire Lazarsfeldas Director. The second edition of The People's Choice records: studywas made financiallypossibleby drawingupon a generalgrantfrom the RockefellerFoundation." and was ableto procuregrantsfrom other sources. of course.. the Foundation bestowed upon Hadley Cantril of Princeton and FrankStanton of CBS the money for an Office of Radio Research. The Rockefellerprogram connection with radioproblems.began where the industryleft off. To learnwhat it could of the listener as an individual and as a member of society.the hand that paid instance one least at in and program. quite literally. the Princetonstudy. "The liberal formulationof the Rockefeller program. consultedas a source of expert and Dr.and by specialcontributionsfrom Life University's magazineand Elmo Roper. When."65 were consonantwith the empiricist that studies on only insisted underwriting Lazarsfeld described.Organized under Dr. also under Dr.61But the Foundationremainedits major buttress.. been concerned with determiningthe for products size and distributionof its audienceas prospectivepurchasers advertisedover the air. This same type of study was later supportedat ColumbiaUniversity.

and however personally-grounded his difficulties with Adotoo. to direct the music divisionof Lazarsfeld's Office of Radio Research. along with Max Horkheimer. Lazarsfeldwanted "to see whether I could induce Adorno to try to link his ideas with empiricalresearch. Its charter. his desire. Lazarsfeldwould arguein the FrankfurtInstitut'sown journalthat "critical" and "administrative" researchwere in fact compatible. Adorno did try: duringhis time with Lazarsfeld of concrete studies of what he would later call "the culture industry."In his own manner. its cultural and sociological consequencesand its social and economic presuppositions were not to be analyzed.Lazarsfeld.criticalsocial researchin the frameworkof the Princeton Project. insteadhe wrote this:67 Naturally there appearedto be little room for." "Expertise and impartiality"finally meant attentiveness to the practical problems of the culture industry.invited T.and finally insteadof. and apparently despite Lazarsfeld's hesitation.now at Columbia.72 .229 the piper did actually and .."After a year of tension over the proper domain of curturalresearch. reluctantly.which came from the Rockefeller Foundation.. it requiredstrict adherenceto an administrative point of view. It was thereby implied that the system itself.One would have to speculate on the full complexity of Lazarsfeld's motives: the humanitarian wish to aid a fellow refugee. and he wrote a number critically. expressly stipulated that the investigationsmust be performedwithin the limits of the commercialradio system prevailing in the United States. Adorno himself insisted that he objected not to empiricalresearchas such but to its primacy over .68Again accordingto Lazarsfeld. the Foundation evidently did not want to come even thisclose to retrograde. In 1938 Lazarsfeld."and in the fall of 1939 the Foundationrefusedto renew the music project.69 John Marshall of the Rockefeller Foundation "probablyfelt that my efforts to bringAdorno'stype of critical researchinto the communicationsfield werea failure. fitfully.70 he wanted empirical research to answer the questions put by critical theory. to his credit."66 Writingabout the same period. perhaps. Adorno added dryly: "I cannot say that I strictly obeyed the charter. W.directly. call the proverbial tune.but to no avail. Adorno did not criticize Lazarsfelddirectly. Lazarsfeld'saffinity for some of the FrankfurtInstitut's early empiricalstudies. Adorno to the United States.theory.offending "philosophy.to give more active expression to his suppressedcritical underside. tried in a long letter to convince Adorno to abandon his own fetishism of language and his "disrespect"for empiricalprocedures.71 But however conflicted Lazarsfeld's position on critical theory. By his own account.

would become President type researchwas unimaginable."73Of course Stanton's corporatestandingdoes not automaticallyestablishthat." Lazarsfeldcalled them. The convergence of research interests between Lazarsfeld and Stanton. receivers". he could strive for intellectual man" who understoodhimself as such. and its tight links with the apparatusof corporationand State. their affinity was considerably more profound than an immediate interest. Lazarsfeld's relations with Stanton. Stanton was research director of CBS. It was in 1935 that Lazarsfeldestablished what was to be a long working partnership"friendly relations. Neilsen's lucrativelittle polling box.meanwhile. Muchwas at stake for Lazarsfeld in such a relationship. harnessed to the social science they brought to both commercialutility and academic legitimacy.the State) to predictpublic reactionsto institutionalchoices. just as. proceeded apace. duringand after the Second WorldWar.with Stanton. in any simple sense. presidingover the decisive early years of television.advertisers. It was a stunning instance of being in the right place at the right time."76One of his fellow immigrantsrecently said of Paul Lazarsfeld: "He was very American .Stanton had invented "the first automatic recording device designed to be placed inside home radio thus he anticipated A. The two men shareda common interestin positivistresearch. which would enable centralized institutions (broadcasters. and Stanton's successful career. Lazarsfeldwould have to secure both flanks.especiallyin the measurementof audiences and the "effects" of particularmedia messages. their lengthy collaboration in directing first the Office of Radio Research and then the Bureauof Applied Social Research. and remainthere until 1971. C. or what Lazarsfeldlater called "structuralfit": the convergenceof a refugee sociologist's worldview with "some nascent trends in the American community. psychology dissertationon audienceresearch. traced an emblematic success story: the two careerssucceeded together.personify the rising estate of administrative social sciencejust before. and at the same time an Assistant Director of the Princetonproject. In fact. Lazarsfeldwas beholden to the narrowly construed corporate interests of CBS. "then a junior staff member of the ColumbiaBroadcastingSystem. as opposed to. and morelegitimacy.the most successfulof us all. in his associations with such sociologists as Robert Lynd and Hadley Cantril. in 1946. he could gain access not only to researchmoney. say.74 By 1938.75With direct corporateconnections."77 . Stanton himself had been hiredby CBSin 1935 becausethe networkwas impressedwith his Ph. As a "marginal over as a refugee Jew in the anti-Semiticacademy. of CBS Inc. D. in the person of Frank Stanton.He could become legitimate in the eyes of the media establishment. and in editing the intermittent Radio Researchseries from 1940 on. but to the data without which administrativeStanton.230 Lazarsfeld'sadministrativetheory and his close relations with the cultural industry. NBC or TheNew York Times.

"Communicationsresearchwas. the force and reach of the theory and method of PersonalInfluence. ethnic. shrewd and flexible." He continued:80 one of those speeches. a marginal man by his own account. Lazarsfeld discussed some of the difficulties he faced in negotiating the lingeringdifferences between the institutionalinterestsof the massmediaand themethodological requirements ofbehavioristresearch. "a new and I gave speeches about it to ratherhigh-levelaudiencessuch as enterprise. and his Viennese-Machian philosophical bent. and ideological marginality." preciselywhat empiricistsocial research in the United States needed to embody the new academicstyle in an autonomous but academically affiliated base.Lazarsfeldbecame what he called an "institutionman. sooneror later. with all its utility for so many coordinating interests. would have turnedup. but a powerfulconvergenceof commitments. as with Adorno.The crucial point is that the administrative mentality of Lazarsfeldand Stanton harmonized with the corporateinterest of CBS and with the practicalprogramof theRockefellerFoundationand with the swellingpositivistmode of American social science. Where there was friction. "It seems plausible. affiliatedand indispensableto all yet independentof every particular interest. No conspiracyhere.81 I formulated the issue as follows: "Those of us social scientists who are . often hunt upthe supportof the interest it defends. On such occasions Ifaced a very difficult problem: the Newspaper relation with the industry." he wrote. To understand PaulLazarsfeld'sorientation.231 A man of political. So does ideology.With all the pressuresworking toward it.And what he did not say directly."79 The institution builder.and fascinatingly incomplete . some requisite signature almost certainly. at the time.78 His own training in both social science and mathematicalmethods. madehim valuableto the new commercialand social-scientificestablishments. theNational Association of Broadcastersand the Association of American Editors.memoir. later publishedin The In JournalismQuarterly. In his fascinating . The worldviewandits research methods went seeking sponsors perhaps even more industriously than the sponsors went seeking techniques. Lazarsfeldwas willing to sacrifice the putative critical edge of his thought. it is not so importantto know theexact identity of the of any given paycheck (thoughthat is important signature too) as to understandthe thematic unity of theadministrative worldviewin whateverinstitutionit arises."thatsuch a configurationwould lead to a careerdetouredthrough an institutional innovation rather than routed directly toward individual mobility. heimplied. needed the firmest pcssible affiliations with the determining institutions."Lazarsfeldwrote with characteristic insight and bluntness.

Whatsort of "independence"is it that occupies the interstices of universities. In a speech on "The Role of in the Managementof MassMedia.presumably "useful.the sociologicaladministrator"jointenterprise. Actually most publishersand broadcasters have been very generous and cooperative in this recent period during which communicationsresearch had developed as a kind of joint enterprise betweenindustriesand universities. without visible sign of conclusionor transition." expert avoids becoming beholden to any particularinterest: a limited "independence" indeed. As he "walks the tightrope. the frequently delicate mutual dependence of the As an arbiterandgo-between. there ought to be a way of makingcriticismmore useful and manageablefor those who offer it andthose who receive it. while the latter were too strict in their overallindictment.his commercialaudience might have been assured to know that the tightrope had more than one edge. went on:82 Lazarsfeld I finally thought of a compromiseformula. and culturalsectors. interpret each to the others.he continued in the followingvein:83 . In a period of rapprochementamong the political. economic. structural. And he moved on in that speech to propose that journalism schools train students in criticism. not surprisingly. contextual. media corporations. and the State? The "institution man" can negotiate differences among them." he safeguardsthe stability." "manageable"criticism. Lazarsfeld would seek the widest possible domain of institutional amity. not the unruly.232 especiallyinterested in communicationsresearchdepend upon the industryfor much of our data.in that sector of the State which coordinated and regulated corporate operations. So it was that. But. A delicate business indeed. foundations.or any grammatical justificationfor the subject.radicalmode of an Adorno.But we academicpeople always have a certain sense of tightrope walking: at what point will the commercial partnersfind some necessary conclusion too hard to take and at what point will they shut us off from the indispensablesources of funds and data?" It is interesting that in this speech Lazarsfeld didnot worry about his relationshipwith universities.in this convergingsocialvisionof a rationalized oligopolistic capitalism."I startedout by saying that Criticism the mass media were overly sensitive to the criticism of intellectuals. in any case. He would take an interest. immediately after he finished discussinghis speech to the media elite. highlight and consolidate the common interest in the form of shared ideological symbols.

" In the it stabilizing. process." The Marketing Orientation An administrativementality is compatible with a range of societies. or to imagineit that way. the FCC. The administrativementality. Clifford Durr. the administrative mentality cannot account for the appeal of the search for "personalinfluence. that established through the legitimacy of a commercial culture industry." or the peculiarstress on narrowlyconstrued behavioralor attitudinal "effects" in social investigation. the contact and connection of "personalinfluence.but usually thought of our office as servinga mediatingfunction. is a bargainingmentality. To both publicationsthe industry reacted with violent antagonism. In the academy it is "interdisciplinary. above all." It is alwayscoordi"interservice. desiring harmoniousrelationsamongthe commandinginstitutions. harmonizing. totalitarian as well as liberal. in sum. Its modus operandi is.to each of these correspondsa theoreticalorientation in social science.in particular. we served as a channel for a project of the progressive chairman of the Federal CommunicationsCommission.mediating. and prominent scholars in the research field to discuss the issues. For it is an oeuvre that is unimaginableapart from the emergence of the . those which have the capacity to make the world sit still and become data. Only with a search for the relevant history . hegemonic ideological frame: in this case. Thus.233 In all of the work of the PrincetonOffice I tried to relate to public controversies.can we begin to graspthe significanceof Lazarsfeld's work. and Siepmann's Radio: Second Chance. this was no changeof subject at all."in the governmentit is "interbureau. the FCC's"blue book" promulgatingstricter licensing standards.the history of mass media in the United States . We are closer to understanding Americanmedia sociology when we look to the particularvariantof administrative thought that Paul Lazarsfeld brought into the American academy: the marketingorientation. nating."in the Pentagon it is in the economy it is "labor-management. for example. This assignment resulted in two documents. managesexternal it as and to prefers work within and along with the main institureality data. By itself.and I prevailed upon John Marshallof the Rockefeller Foundation to provide a special budget so that I could organizea two-day conferenceamong the industry. He had commissionedCharlesSiepmannto develop ideas on how the FCC could better work for higher broadcasting standards. As we see. tions. within a common.

composition and responses of audiences (of newspapers. Mass consumer markets were already looming. more important. Throughthe Twenties. were a pivotal time not only in American social science but in the history of American broadcasting.The severe competition for advertising among the several mass media and among agencies within each medium has provoked an economic demand for objective measures of size. over which channels. advertisingwas shifting over the thin but noticeable line from the provision of information to meet existing. magazine.234 society in the twentieth century. practiceand theory of a mass-consuming It is no secret that mass communicationsresearchdescendsdirectly from the developmentof sophisticatedmarketingtechniques. Robert K.each massmedium and each largest possible shareof the advertising in the audience yardsticks deficiences to agency becomes alerted possible employed by competitors. traditionaldemands. Mertonhas summarizedthe logical and historicalline of descent:84 As Lazarsfeldand others have pointed out. how often. consumer society.86the oligopolies were emplacingthe advertisingand sales techniques for the consumer society that would emerge after 1945 in full flush.)87 National brandswere multiplying and taking over largersharesof their markets. (The all-black. and the Thirties. mass communicationsresearch developed very largely in response to market requirements. radio and television).85 not easilyvulnerable evolvingrigorousand objectivemeasures had in the United States. was first developedfor the direct.no-options. Broadcastingwas in some ways the leading edge of the new.Despite the . beginningin the 1930s. With admirablebrevity.to the glorificationof commoditiesand the manufacture of demands and. thus introducing a considerablepressurefor to criticism. corporationswere resorting to national advertisingcampaigns. The theory of "effects" and advertisers. though now deferred. The actual marketscontractedduringthe Depression.but the for a full-blown consumersociety was steadily being technical infrastructure developed under the surface. explicituse of broadcasters and continues to be used mostly in those circles. And in their quest for the dollar. the demandingconsumer. to grow more sophisticated there. the time of Paul Lazarsfeld's settlement in the United States. awaitingthe explosion of consumer demandin 1945. single-model. Model T was replaced with a complex variety of automobilesrisingin price. marketingand advertising arrived As Paul Lazarsfeld just begun to come into their own.They needed a marketing"science" to tell them what to say. as Stuart Ewen has shown. and. to whom. inseparably.

and the marketfor radio receivers was on its way to saturation.a measureof the new importanceof radio in the cultural life of the society and in the thinkingo/ its economic-political managers.and in 1943 NBC did sell one to the newly formed American BroadcastingCompany.235 Depression.Competition between CBSand NBC radiointensified throughthe Thirties. CBS had hired Lazarsfeld's collaborator-to-be FrankStanton from Ohio State in to new researchapparatusthe necessaryrigor. as Merton says.In 1925 there were 4." a . the mass market in broadcastingwas in the making:it was one of the few mass markets that could penetrate an impoverished population. or 0.91Between market saturationfor radio sets and increasingnetwork growth and competition for advertising. So its should not be surprisingthat.93 In order to increase the price they could chargeadvertisers for network time.000.from the majorretailers. or 1. (When David Sarnoff had first imagined the possibility of a mass broadcastingindustry in 1915." but he had not even dreamedof commercial NBCwas organizedin late 1926.500. the networks would have to develop reliable knowledge of the size and composition ("demographics")of audiences.to increasetheir sharesof the existing audience.)89 became a serious threat in 1928. give its Henceforward. Paley's assumptionto the presidency.000 sets. and CBSfirst advertisingon the airwaves. in 1935. It would become more important to stations.corporate developmentswere coming to requirepreciseaudience researchon a grandscale.88 Accordingly. 30. It was not only necessary. 51.45 perhousehold.92 University 1935. or partly because of it (with the great hunger for cheap entertainment). in 1930. and then to networks. Radio had arrivednow.000. "Amos 'n' Andy.43 per household. from the conglomeratesthat would accumulate control overthe meansof masscommunications. and the Office of Radio Research were shoots of a common plant.but legitimate. or 0.000 sets. he had envisioned enormous sales of "Radio Music Boxes. Televisionwas not yet in massproduction.000.000 sets in the United States.000 sets.94 The Princeton Office of Radio Research was the first research institution on radio in America . from publishers.in 1940. The kind of researchStanton and Lazarsfeldwere equipped and eagerto do was going to come into greaterand greaterdemand over the years . competition was heating up.90In 1940. andfinally from the academic world. with WilliamS. the Federal CommunicationsCommissiondirected NBC to divest itself of one of its two radionetworks. and to find their profits in selling advertisingtime more than in manufacturingradio sets.audience research(on the marketingof commodities) would be as importantas "hardware" research (on the productionof commodities).96 perhousehold.from broadcasting networks.The stereotyped commercial." the FiresideChat. or 0. in one of Lazarsfeld's"strategicfits.The simple figuresare suggestive. 13.15 per household.

to pursuethe hypothesis of the two-step flow. True Story. to view That political and consumerchoices as structurallysimilarcommensurables. as it struggled to view political attitudes as commensuratewith instant coffee preferences.and movies. with its first broaching of the Publicationsbecame "two-step flow" and "opinion leader" ideas. as we shall see below (pp. and the Decatur study was ready to go. it would be simple-mindedand misleading to reduce this convergence to the Macfadden influence in particular.96 In 1927 he nearly bought the network that was soon to become CBS under Paley. indeed as a youthful socialist."through word-of-mouthfrom working-class"opinion leaders. For his part. Personal Influence and its successorswere soaked in the values of consumer . in the early Forties. Long before he had heard of Bernarr Macfadden.236 specific marketing need and an academic interest could fuse. Liberty. 243-5). fashions. Macfadden interested in the theory of opinion leaders. of its True Story magazine. as we shall see below. There seems no other plausibleexplanation for limiting the studyto femalerespondents:women were. Lazarsfeldhad wanted for years to follow up the 1940 Erie County."98 and he was inclined on theoretical grounds. a deeper meaning to this questionnairesymmetry: the actual convergenceof political choices and consumer choices." from higher-classreaders. Lazarsfeldhad been struck by "the methodologicalequivalenceof socialistvotingand the buying of soap.though there is also. True Confessions. Whenthe first edition of The People's Choice'appeared in 1944. Graphic.and True Detective Mysteries. the founder. Ohio study (written up in The People's Choice). the questionsaboutpoliticalattitudeswere addedby Lazarsfeld.) (Presumably Thus the ungainly and crudely ideological quality of much of Personal Influence. It seems reasonableto suppose that Macfadden'ssponsorship of the study directly influenced both the selection of the respondentsand the questions asked of them. fashions. In 1925 he had become the first commercial calisthenics on a morning sponsoron radio station WORin Newark. and movies were chosen by potential True Story readers would be useful to Macfadden advertisers. to providethe backing for the Decatur study.information choice of the issue-areas about the process by which products. and therefore the advertisingrates." rather than "vertically. And it seems highly likely too that Macfadden'ssponsorship shaped the of product buying. hoping that a "two-step flow" could help improve the circulation.95 Bernarr Macfadden. He arrangedthe grant from Macfadden. published Physical Culture.97Now his company was eager to use the research techniques of broadcastingto see if working-classreaderswould come to True Story "horizontally. in social fact as well as in theory. may be attributed directly to the Macfadden sponsorship. Again.advertising show. after all. the readersof TrueStory.and he had long beeninterested in boosting their circulation with broadcasttechniques.

asks questions that arise within it.it casts a distinct shadow. Illinois. In the present case. Under direct market pressuresand military needs. the marketingorientation takes the consumerist frame for granted.We will know more about how Mills proceeded through methodological orthodoxy to a radical break when the historian RichardGillam publisheshis pending .It is not interestedin the structuraland culturalconsequences of different models of communicationownership. and its failings. WrightMills.and so. But then what was the alternative for mediaresearch? Is the critiquenecessarily abstract. they are stronglyconditionedby the practicaluses to which they are first to be put. Whether underwritten by Macfadden or McCann-Erikson. was organizedby none other than C. questions about "how. overall. then attached to the Bureauof Applied Social Researchat Columbia. As Katz and Lazarsfeldtell us in their Acknowledgments. until the recent past. been shaped not so much by the needs of sociological or psychological theory as by the practicalneeds of those groupsand agencieswhich have created the demand for audience research. It cannot imagine a living political discourse that would be affected for better or worse by media representationsof politics. a conceptualalternativewas actually put forward. definite research techniques are developed and these techniques initially bear the marks of their origin.237 society . by Columbia University or the ColumbiaBroadcastingSystem. It is interested in how the mass media may increase their reach. Questions of this sort are not "practical"for the institutions that define what is practical. It is not interested in the constructionof a worldview through media techniques.99 the categories of [mass communications] researchhave.Platonicideal of social research?Critique always confronts this possibility when it cannot point to an actualchoice-pointwhen actual actors preferone proposedcourse to others.with consumer choice taken as the ne plus ultra of freedom - cannot be laid at Macfadden'sdoor. a retrospectivewish in the name of an unrealizable. however. in whether the reach of mass media is a social good. But it would be naive to say that the study's sponsorship had nothing to do with its theoretical shape. nor -except polemiof massmedia. and in how ordinarysocial life presents obstacles to the extension of media power.the actual field work in Decatur.As a sidelight in the recent history of social research." and stubbornly does not ask others.Its fate and its limits tell us somethingof the grip of the marketing orientation.in the historicalprecursors atic the consumerculture itself. It is not interested. and in which circumstances. Nor does it take as problemcally . as Mertonhas concluded.

or was pretending of highform a new grasp. that pluralist vision he was to repudiate so roundly in The 1956.in a paper hethe Advanceideology for Association December29. of in June and August 1945. especially in also argues the importanceof vertical or 'pyramidal' between the Mills speculated that the United States exists midway politics. the "chain of political leadership ment affair. As Mills put it.?05 paper endorsed he riproaringly things.and relates it to institutional and class boldly but he influence. who has studied it in the University according also more Mills wrote "not just of 'influence' and 'opinion' but archives. 1946 meeting of the American is definitely a of Science in Boston.238 it was the of Mills. guardedly.or his own lingering as well. publicationfor a Russian Power Elite. at his "handlingand interpretationof information Mills' Decatur the and consequently he decided to take the analysis of gathered".for now.in which bipartisanconsensuswould prevailand peter would time a for then tion would be defeated and deflected and Lazarsfeld's with affiliation out.Mills of 'ideology'. He he did propose a very different frameworkfor the But to infer on to readbackfrom the sociometricdata political attitudes proposed and he proposed the beginningsof a of political decision-making..an analysisof the data. democratic society" extreme Mills' draft was actually a blurry document of divided loyalties. endorsingthe Lazarsfeldpoint of view. it will have to suffice if we note that biography two waves of interambitious young Mills who had gone to Decatur for the drafted.. in published not to But Mills' alternativeof 1946 did not yet grasp. In this lengthy unpublished for of Texas to Richard Gillam. In any Americanlabor movement. astructure of American of political communicationas the foundation of a theory theory read to the in society. already rhetoric. structure. society." authoritarian "mass and models of "simple.?03But oddly.104In that same year he wrote as a co-author joining Department State a in Here. Perhaps Mills' failure stemmed from his illusions about the Bureauof Applied Social Research. discussion. some evidence for the two-step theory of horizontal finds influence. By the middle 1946 Mills had viewing document. as late as 1950 Mills data a in the Decatur study."0?? of positivist to Gillam.perhapsthere were other reasons . still had hopes of back from Mills.that postwar Americawas alreadymoving toward culture based on technology corporate capitalismwith a tighteningpolitical class opposiconsumption. Mills was immersed in the particularities according radicalism.1?1 of a sort populist to service least at lip while tryingto pay analysis Decatur data. all of audience."?02 vertical the he did not challenge Mills' work in gatheringand presenting of Although edge the and populist reach the at alarmed evidently was Lazarsfeld data.

the orientation and the paradigmsattending it established themselvesas normalsociologicalopinion.?08 At the level of theory. Empirically. privatizedrevolt againstthe exploitative conditions of work and family in the world of organized capitalism. it could inquire into the degree of actual convergence of consumer choice and political knowing. It might approach consumer culture as a displacement into the private. gains that made possible a consumer society in the first place.?07A counter-paradigm scrutinize the "cultureindustry" as both social control and failed. It could study the decision-making and soap-ad propagatorsand soap-operaproducers as well as that of soap consumers. it could grasp the compatibility of elitist structures and pluralist procedures in a "totality" of domination."109 showing how distinct class. Which is another way of sayingthat. especially for Cold War processes of soap manufacturers policies. and to the fate of counter-movements.) It could work. With a complex methodology including life-histories and participant observation.it could then pay attention to the degeneration of authentic.239 society was not yet grasped . the emergenceof a high-consumption Mills was to grasp it in The Power Elite. to show a dynamic but determinate media process articulatedwith the whole of political culture.as event.It could look into the originsof political issues as into the origins of "politicalattitudes. bottom-up political life in the twentieth it could note the multiplicacentury. (Then some of the specific Lazarsfeldian findings might be integrated into a larger social analysis. of voting and soap-buying in the lives of citizens. tion of means for the engineeringof public consent. This distinct approachwould notice and analyze whatever more-or-lessautonomous political culture could be detected beneath the gelid surfaceof the consumerculture. and assimilate)the patterns in media messages over time. in other words."It could look at the consequencesof broadcasting not only for individualsbut for collective formationslike social movements. ethnic. with a few exceptions in the marginsof American sociology. both in theory and practice.106 the marketing orientation of Paul F. muddled.as a new condition. individual sphere of impulses toward freedom and happinessunrealizablein everydaylife as both condition and consequence of the failureof a radicalpolitical alternativethat could could speak to the prevailingunhappiness. and inquire into the origins of this convergenceinstead of taking it methodologically for granted. . and might still proceed. might have begun. age and other audiences distinctly "decode" (and ignore. indeed hegemonic. Beginningwith a sense of political structure. Lazarsfeldwas for the moment uncontested. A deeper alternative. The moment stretched into a sociological era.a media sociology could work toward what Dave Morleyhas called an "ethnography of audiences. by noticing the productivity gains that capital could accrue with the "scientific" organization of work.

or for the advantagethat is gained by the possession and exchange of them. Such a position may be more or less conscious and. it remainedundone. It is generallyconsideredbad taste to assert thatideology matters in this setting. Lazarsfeldteasinglyandself-teasingly. In case. did not Lazarsfelddid not develop his theories in post-Hapsburg come to his conclusions there. for the most part.neither do the theorists of abstract Just motivate themselvesfor sheerlove of endlessly accumulatedsmall empiricism facts.pointed to the linkageshimself: they are at least methodological.110In his own memoir. Vienna.Abstractedempiricismis not only concretely founded on the prevailing and commercialculture. A surveyof the first will carry us toward the second. Isaid before that social democracywas an ideologicalframethat surrounded andserved to justify the whole of the dominant media sociology paradigm. implicationsof the biographical The biographical facts linking Paul Lazarsfeldwith Austro-Marxistsocial democracyare plain enough. Instead.240 Someof this. and to be done. . sometimes by indirection. Here I want to open up some territory for this "outrageoushypothesis.enough.justified by an political position.the genetic fallacy is lesscommon than the fallacy of immaculateconception.empyrean realm of science.more or less public." hopingthat some of the leads that follow may be pursuedby scholarswhose criticaltemper and large spirit are matchedby a long reachand vast patience. to outline a context and feelingtone.the genetic fallacy is adducedas a free ticket to the weightless. it is also. interest-less.was what Mills was drivingat. obliquely. and the roots of his approach to it. Inpractice. Abstract empiricismis no exception. the interface of social society. I hope. any the marketingorientationbecame media sociology. unless it is radical. Mysketch is concernedwith two types of linkagebetween social democracy and the work of Paul Lazarsfeld: the biographicaland the theoretical. to his interests. if ideological conscious. where some ideology and the theory of high-consumption democratic facts will speak.where all ideas are born equal and with equal opportunity to prove theirmerit through good (empirical)works. in 1946. but he did define his lifelong problematic there. Theorists as facts do not stand by themselves. The facts will require a slight historical commentary . Social Democracy The Ideological Field: do not live by theory alone. social democracy was part of the ideological climate that gave rise. But more. Most of it remainsstill undone. perhaps. by his own account.

chauvinistic. they are equivalent. the subject of his first major social-surveywork. and creditedthis "political climate" in turn with his own academic interest. though this one is largeenough. the isolation of the Viennese working class in Austria-Hungary (and later Austria) as a whole. on "the methodoLazarsfeld remarked. She was subsequentlyto be his "main collaborator"in the field work for the even more ambitiousstudy of the unemployed village of Marienthal. not always so quietly. Such bluntnesswas mordant. philistine. the academic Marxists would refer to each other with a sort of sensuous delight as "HerrDoktor. hierarchic.somethingimperious: In the old imperial. he disarmedthe kind of critiquethat chargesin to find that its territoryis alreadyoccupied."one of the great theorists of He credited the Social Democratic leader Otto Bauer Austro-Marxism.Yes of course. Leon Trotsky.and the inspirationfor Lazarsfeld's own market researchstudies in Vienna. for reasons unexplained.and so what? Quiet and ironic. Lazarsfeld of his critics precisely by indulging in it to show its harmlessness. he was. But other sorts of mordant commentaryhave come down on AustrianSocial Democracy. Trotsky wrote: they were knowledgeable but provincial. who spent seven pre-war over and saw.methodologicallyequivalent. Lazarsfeldwas a leader of the Association of Socialist High School Students in Austria. Lazarsfeldwas able to overcome certain analytical obstacles by collaboratingwith an unnamed student who had been trained in early American market research techniques. should not be surprising. they were possessedof a "ridiculousmandarinattitude. as a way of maintaining elite status and a sense of pride in an unfavorablesituation. looked the prominentAustro-Marxists 116 political marginality. I make no largerclaims.113He attributed the general interest in decisionmakingin the Viennese academyto the Austro-Marxist emphasison electoral strategy." They were incapable of speaking easily with social democratic workers.112 with giving him the idea of studying unemployment. "These people prided themselves on being realists and on being businesslike.What Trotsky did not appreciate. but despite their ambition. vain and futile Vienna.though. as we havealreadyhad reasonto notice. were some of the real grounds for Austro-Marxism'smarginality: socially.241 In his youth. Writingof this happy collaboration.114 When preparinghis very first study (of occupational choices among Austrian youth).111In 1916."117 That an administrative point of view might emerge from such a crucible. logical equivalence of socialist voting and the buying of soap. in their years in Vienna. he seemed to be saying."a15I take it meant to neutralizethe rhetoric that." Trotsky wrote scornfully. with this deadpanstatement. "living in the custody of Rudolf Hilferding. .

between the Austriansocial democratic ideology and positivist social science. doubly defensive.120Adler's circle was. revanchistRight. saw not self-satisfaction but what follows from the failure of it: defensiveness. the failure of the 1918 revolutionin Germany. and wanted to conduct psychological studies to explain it.why socialists are alternately repelledby and defensiveabout mass culture.as well as a nationalist.compoundingAustro-Marxism's isolation. in fact. and it could claim serious psychological credentialsin the antiFreudian environmentalistsocialism of Alfred Adler. though Leninismwas neveras significant as in Germany.It is built into corporatecapitalistsociety as well as into Lazarsfeld's later theoretical formulations." Trotsky summedup the pre-warAustro-Marxist By the end of World War I. And here is one link.118 politically. and the successof Leninismin Russiain 1917. though." and he was influenced by In all. In Vienna. a defeated revolutioncalls for psychology (Vienna). . parenthetically. though. Yet this embattled AustroMarxismwas also a majorintellectual force.242 and the isolation of Jews in an anti-Semiticculture. I remember a formula I created at the time: a fighting revolution requires economics (Marx).Lazarsfeld We were concerned with why our propagandawas unsuccessful.and into the whole thoughtstructureof Americanmedia research."'19 And with the collapse of the Second Internationalin 1914. It monopolized sociology in the University. Lazarsfeld's"social reference group. though only one. and that is one reason. it remained. the and marketingcame forth.The social democraticideology which "provedto be decisive" for Lazarsfeld'slater intellectual life was "on the defensive before the growing nationalistic wave. Paul Lazarsfeld.active in the Socialist Student Movement. From the meeting of the engineerand the psychologist. an uncontested capitalismin Americawas needing its engineers:it was also a revolution of a sort. new sociology of administration But of course the affinity between socialist voting and the buying of soap is not only methodological. a victorious revolution requires engineers (Russia). the Adler's emphasis on socialist education for workers.social democracystill found it necessaryboth to pay lip service to the Marxist revolutionary ideal and to differentiate itself from Leninism. againsttraditional social relations.Mediaideology too is implicitly socialdemocratic.T2M intellectual prestige of social democracy did not overcome the insecurity summedit up this way:122 which Trotsky astutely recognized. social democracynow had a Left to ward off internationally. stance as "self-satisfaction.123 But while social democracy was failing cataclysmicallyin Europe. then.

or political parties.125The transportis especially comfortable for a social science sponsored by foundations and corporations. One starts out assuming that people might be sheep.is giant broadcasting not a great distance. consequently. after all. for the choices would be preparedfrom above. which insists it is givingpeople what they want. and insists that the market is the true measureof democraticexpression.as a matterof fact mightlike to be guided to an occupational choice. on which Lazarsfeld had done his earliestwork. a rigorousprocedurefor "givingpeople what they want. between tyranny and democracy. occupations. including the question of occupational choice.They choose from amongthe majorpossibilities available. this is the difference. be easy to fill the occupationalquotas establishedthrougha centraleconomic plan. what was probably not anticipatedby Paul Lazarsfeld.to the network. it should. It would be the responsibility of the centralized. social democracywould requirea marketingorientation. Indeed high-consumptioncapitalismjustifies itself in the terms of mass satisfaction." This would be true for the actual marketingof goods. To put it another way. they do not object to domination: this is one of the ubiquitous ideological premises of the twentieth century." The premiseis that when people do not know. hierarchicalsupplier to know what the consumers want.as a matter of fact might like to be guided. whether brand names. From the hypothetical social democratic state. was that a form of . Thus Lazarsfeldspoke of "the implications for a plannedsociety" of his study of Jugendund Beruf:124 most young people do not have decided occupationalplans and therefore would not mind being guided . they therefore "would not mind being guided . and ends up working for the woolens industry. which would know what young people want to do with theirlives. the time of Jugend und Beruf. The same model of researchis requiredin both cases.It seems that Paul Lazarsfeld's marketingorientationcoincided with his interest in the largerlegitimacy that might be found in a social democraticfuture. Social democracy would require not only a marketing orientation but an administrative point of view." and it is at first appearanceparadoxical: they are both sovereign and passive.The people are.243 The marketingorientation and at least one important variant of European social democracy share a common conception of "the people. When the consumerschoose. In this logic. when people do not know what they want. they confirm the legitimacy of the suppliers. nor by Marxisttheory. But in the late twenties. consumers. and it would be true for all the domainsof freedom. in a word.

And as actual political sovereignty waned. "drapeditself with 'social democratic' ideals." Yet within eachof these notions of political democracy [Ewen continues]. the most advancedhomeland of that consumer society. consumer sovereignty loomed larger. there was an implicit acceptance of the centralization of the political process. particularlyin the consumer-good of automobilesand electronics(radio and film).a simulacrum of socialist ideology promised: a privatized. which had gotten about six percent of the popularvote in the Presidentialelection of 1912. The commercial culture strove to leave corporate domination of the productiveprocess intact and at the same time speak to the demand for a richersocial life. but was ratheran expression of people's ability to participate in and emulate the "pluralismof values" [the phrase is Max Horkheimer's]which were paradedbefore people and which filtered downwardfrom the directorsof businessenterprise. in fact as well as in theory. channeled toward the maintenanceof capitalist power. and a combinationof repressionand internalweaknessdid away with the syndicalistIndustrial of the Worldaroundthe sametime. and remains. sank into futile sectarianism by the end of that decade.especiallythose of the FrankfurtInstitut. American consumerism was only the transposing of the essential social-democratic theme to a new key. Populism Workers was alreadydead. The invariantLeitmotif was the limitation of alternatives to the handfulprovidedby authority. "The commercial culture of the twenties.acquaintingoneself with the variety of goods. Simultaneously." as Stuart Ewen writes.mutilated version.128The multiplicationof such .the United States came out of WorldWarI industries dominatingthe world economy. class-bound.Again Ewen:127 Within the political ideology of consumption. The United States was. Thus the American Socialist Party of Eugene Debs. democracy emerged as a natural expression of American industrial production . but a version nonetheless. Democracy was never treated as something that flowed out of people's needs or desires."126 So Paul Lazarsfeld'stransitionto Americansocial science was not as difficult as that of other refugees. The equation of the consumption of goods with political freedommade such a configurationpossible." Another spoke of business determining "for a people what they consider worth consuming.244 capitalist society would arise that could promise to deliver -and to some of the pleasu'e and ease that all forms degree actually deliver .if not a byproduct of the commodity system. One business theorist of that time spoke of "masscitizenship"predicatedon "the processof'fact-finding' .

.But that is anotherstory. By ignoringthe systemic and institutionalizednatureof these commercial.")The assumption that choice among the givens amounts to freedom then becomes the root of the worldwide rationaleof the global corporations. don't drive them..." "If you don't like cars.. The rise of advertising and consumerismin the twenties was part of a broader change in the character of capitalist society.. the mainstreamof Americanmedia sociology has done its shareto consolidate and legitimize the cornucopianregimeof mid-centurycapitalism. and the political self-confidenceof the rulers. ." "If you don't like Crest.capitalismwould work to presentconsumersovereigntyas the equivalent of freedom. commercialvalues.Advertisingraised the bannerof consumable social democracy in a world where monumental corporate development was eclipsing and redefining much of the space in which criticalalternatives might be effectively developed. using strategiesthat Ewen elaborates schematically." "If you don't like it here. along with the advertisingapparatusthat made it possible." a new orientation toward freedom itself.movie choice andpoliticalopinion..." "If you don't like Republicans.buy Gleem.245 spectacularconsumergoods. go back to Russia.("If you don't like TV. conjuredup what MarcusRaskinhas called "the dreamcolony.become more than methodologicalequivalentsas objects of study. As production changed and as the social characterof work became even more routinized and monotonous. impulses.129Again Ewen lucidly suggeststhe processby which the new conception may have developed:130 The consumer culture grew in responseto [social] crisis [in the Twenties] and to the monumentalgrowth of productive capacity with which it was interlaced.what RichardBarnetand Thus RonaldMullerhave called the vision of "the global shoppingcenter.. the consumer culture presented itself as the realm within which gratification and excitement might be had . That the dominant paradigmis now provingvulnerableto critique at many levels is a measureof the decline of capitalist legitimacy. Commercialpropaganda didn't act as the determinantof change.and social-democratic processes. they become similarlymanipulableand marginalacts that promise much while they delivermostly preservative-stuffed "goods" that flatten the ability to taste.an alternativeto more radical and anti-authoritarian prescriptions. turn it off. in the common view and the common parlance. and by fusingits administrative. Overthe courseof the twentieth century."131 it is that a society develops in which voting and soap-buying.but was in many ways both a reflection and agent of transformation.Theaim was the consolidation of a new "national character" keyed to the exigenciesof expandingcapitalism..vote Democratic.

See also the discussion of the field in Todd Gitlin." unpublished Ph. see Thomas E. The Unseeing Eye: The Myth of Television Power in National Elections (New York: Putnam. Shaw. 1965-70. 7. "Diffusion of Knowledge of the MajorNews Story. 345-355. Van Dam. Lazarsfeld. 5. and. Against the Lazarsfeldian emphasis on the limited and mediated influence of the mass media. 1977.. Most of all. Lazarsfeld. Troldahl and R. 634. The Lazarsfeld paradigm retains considerable force and prestige despite all this: for a recent study in that tradition. I could not imagine having attempted this work without the encouragement and challenging guidance of William Kornhauser. Personal Influence: The Part Played by People in the Flow of Mass Communications (New York: Free Press. 1975). "Face to Face Communication about Major Topics in the News. In England. dissertation. loc. "The Economics and Structure of Bias in Mass Media Research. see Stanley Cohen. Berkeley. 218. Danielson. Elihu Katz and Paul F. cit. 1976. McCombs and Donald L. 1955). Michael Paul Rogin. Oscar H. the widespread interest in agenda-setting functions of the media (following Maxwell E. 1948). For a fine example. Constable. pp. I learned especially from the interested criticism and elaboration of an earlier draft. 3. See the following studies: Paul J. p. Gandy. "The Agenda-Setting Function of the Mass Media. University of California. Bernard Berelson. McClure. 1976). and Hazel Gaudet. The Manufacture of News (London." paper delivered to the Leipzig meeting of the International Association for Mass Communications Research. the papers gathered in Cohen and Jock Young. 457-465. Leo Lowenthal. Folk Devils and Moral Panics (London: MacGibbon & Kee. influenced by Marxist cultural theory and semiological "readings" of content. 10. "A Test of the Two-Step Flow in Diffusion of a New Product. 176-187) is promising. "The End of American Exceptionalism. 1973). V. 6. 4. the alternative approach of cultural studies. and Stuart Hall's essays. pp. Some recent American departures from the dominant paradigm are the papers in Steven H. and James Mulherin." Journalism Quarterly 47 (Autumn 1968). ed." Public Opinion Quarterly XXXVI [Summer 1972]." Public Opinion Quarterly 29 (1965). Martin Jay. Arndt.. The People's Choice. and Tim Haight. 1972). D. C. Patterson and Robert D. Bell. more basically. Daniel Bell. Second Edition (New York: Columbia University Press. Paul F. David Horowitz. Sociology Department. Chaffee. J." Journalism Quarterly 37 (Summer 1960). pp." The Public Interest Fall 1975. '"The Whole World is Watching': Mass Media and the New Left. p. but still too narrow and ahistorical: analytically it abstracts both media and audiences from their social and historical matrix. by Arlie Hochschild. David Matza. pp. NOTES 1. and Beverly Hills: Sage. Political Communication (Beverly Hills: Sage. Alan Wolfe.246 Acknowledgement Thanks for conversation and both substantive and bibliographical advice (though not necessarily consent) to Richard Gillam. gathered in a forthcoming collection from Macmillan in London. eds. seems to me the most promising angle of analysis. Deutschman and Wayne A. 2. . 15-23 and Ch.

Of course the literature on pluralismand elite theory is vast."Studieson the Left 5 (Summer1965) pp. MelvinL. Influence Flow and the Decision-Making Process. op.247 V. L. 14. 113." International Encyclopediaof the SocialSciences(New York: Macmillan andThe Free Press. MediaSociology:A Reader(Urbana: University of IllinoisPress.. see MorrisJanowitz. 6. to show that the media are more influentialthan Lazarsfeld concluded. 10. 17."Encoding mimeographed of Birmingham. 24. See DeFleur. and the highly anomic. n. see Elihu Katz. Quarterly See all the other studiescited in note 7. R. For a collation of empiricalcriticismsof the two-step flow. 146. 16. and DeFleur. and Nelson Polsby. Ibid. pp." Quarterly 47 (Spring 1970). Ibid. Arndt. p. Z." own The People's Choice and its pp.op. 24. For an interestingcritiqueof both pluralismand its 8.to accord a larger role to informalpersonalinfluences. 11." Quarterly "The Two-StepFlow Theory:Cross-Cultural Journalism Implications. Anthony Giddens. 5.. 609-623."A Field Test of a Modified'Two-StepFlow of Communication' Model. C. Who Governs?(New Haven: Yale UniversityPress. Katzand Lazarsfeld. see Todd Gitlin. p. and Decodingin the TelevisionDiscourse. McCombs and Jack M. Becker.Voting. pp. For moreon "personal influence"theoryas a critiqueof the earlier"hypodermic" Researchand the Image of Society: theory. cit. op. 29-31) reinterpretdata from Lazarsfeld's successor. "MassCommunication: Study. pp.Marxismand Literature(New York: Oxford UniversityPress.Maxwell E." Journalism 48 (Summer1971). 288-297. McLeod ("Development of Political Cognitions.1975). Brown.The ClassStructureof the AdvancedSocieties (New York: Harper Torchbooks."The Leaderin Family Planningand the Two-StepFlow Model. p. For an earliercritiqueof pluralisttheory along the presentlines. Elihu Katz. 15. pp. p. 1963). n. Ibid. p. pp. op. See especially Robert Dahl. pp.. 133.." StuartHall. 21. 67: ". 121-127. p. 16-17. SecondEdition(New York: McKay."The Communicator and the Audience.. op." PublicOpinionQuarterly XXI (Spring1957). 51. 20. 163. Katzand Lazarsfeld. "LocalPluralism as Theoryand Ideology. "SocialRelationsand the Two-StepFlow: A Defenseof the Journalism 46 (Autumn1969). L. Studies. 492-498. 12.p. "Communication Convergenceof Two Traditions.1970). pp."Public Opinion Quarterly30 (Winter1966-67). . n. RaymondBauer. 109-117. 16."Journalism Quarterly48 (Spring1971).attemptsto establishthe effects of mass communicationforced Lazarsfeldand his asociates. 222. 9. CommunityPowerand Political Theory(New Haven: Yale UniversityPress. 1977). Ibid.. p. DeFleur. 61-78. 23.1968). cit. 112-154. 1961). cit. cit. and Nan Lin.loc."American Journal of Sociology 65 (March 1960). 41-57. Allen. pp. 19. 10. the isolated. in particular... Troldahl. I. 20.Lee B. "The Two-StepFlow of Communication: An Up-to-DateReport on an Hypothesis. 13. Tradition. pp. cit. Bostian. 18. cit. 25. 19. citing later studies that tend to show direct mediaimpact especiallyon the poor. In the Chaffeevolume cited in note 2 above.p. pp." Katzand Lazarsfeld."Journal of Conflict Resolution2 (March1958).. 21-45. 22.. 33-40.University 1973.. Rosario.1970). F. n.Theoriesof MassCommunication. and Raymond paper.. "InformationFlow.Centrefor Cultural Williams. "Approachesto the Historical Development of MassMedia Studies. For example. 112-117.ed. Roger L..p."in JeremyTunstall. 18. Vol. pp.

WrightMills. SeeHannah Arendt.The HumanCondition(Garden (New York: The Free Joseph T. Communications. 36.p. 271n. "The Eclipse of Community:Some Glancesat the Educationof a 26. The Sociological Imagination(New York: Oxford University Press. p. Emphasis Ibid. 276n."in International Communication: "Mass JosephT. Ibid. the Katz-Lazarsfeld "publicaffairsinfluence"are the weakestin the book on their face. the structuralhomology between pluralismand the two-step flow reflects an actual homologyin theirsubjectmattersas well as. 52. 151. 41.MassCulture(New York: Free Press. 45. of the Social Sciences"(New York:Macmillan added. quotingLazarsfeld. 138. City: Anchor. Emphasis If the 58 percentof changesinvolvedpersonalcontactsthat took placeand were did not later forgotten . 1958). p. in original. 160. The Effects of Mass Communication 1960). cit..p. 28. Klapper.1970). p. or was there in the Fifties.the same assumptionwould have to be made about other findings. 40. Baratz.248 "nondecision" critique.. 29.p.and Gaudet. 47. pp. 27.eds. Press.. 2. Ibid. Ibid. 48. in the respective In other words: Is there. Encyclopedia Effects. see Steven Lukes.1968). Ibid. Ibid.. 35. Berelson. 38. 43.."reprinted andOrganized White. findingson Even at that. and RobertK. p.p.Nordid KatzandLazarsfeld warrant and public affairs "flows. 44. parallelto an actualplurality actual influence-sources pluralityof communication of power sources?I cannot defend my answerto this question at length within the confines of the presentessay. Ibid.... and The Free Press. 332-334. Theory Katzand Lazarsfeld. Katzand Lazarsfeld... but a claim Katz and Lazarsfeld make. Thanksto DavidMatzafor puttingthis point to me in conversation. Ibid.. The networks and the huge national security state were major nationalfeaturesof that decade:prima facieevidenceof the growingweight of forcesand thereforeof the ideologicalnatureof the two paradigms. Thanksto William Kornhauser for pointingthis out to me in conversation." seeminterestedin the distinctionbetween marketing The differences might have spoken to the difference between consumingand politics. nationalizing Peter Bachrachand Morton S. but I do want to put it forth: the answeris a qualifiedNo. p.thereforemakinghash of the theoreticalconclusionsdrawnfrom these data. pp. 33. culminatingin a proposal for a "three-dimensional" which integratesthe strengths of each. 46. 42. . 85. 34. Merton. cit. op. an theoretical problematics. or ratherthan. 947-952. 341. See Katzand Lazarsfeld. p. cit. Emphasis added. n. 31. 159. 312."Mass Paul F. 39.op. p."American Science Review 56 (1962). Power: A approach 1974). p. C. 142.. Lazarsfeld and DavidManning in Bernard Rosenberg SocialAction..a logical possibility. 32. cit. 107-8. as we shall see on pages 219-20. Ibid. n. PopularTaste. The actual plurality of sources in both communitiesand media and homogenized was actuallydryingupas both were becomingcentralized chains in the Fifties. and do not the exorbitantclaimslatermadein theirname. 319. and their Powerand Poverty: Political and Practice(New York:OxfordUniversityPress. 459. p."The Two Faces of Power. 30.1959). by the way . Maurice Stein. op.1957). 271.p. p. 4. 309. Klapper. 37.. There arisesthe question of whether RadicalView (London: Macmillan. op.

cit. Emphasis letter to Adornois excerptedin Jay." in Flemingand Bailyn.p. Ibid. Paul F. 56. Thanksto RichardGillamfor alertingme to this quotation.. Joseph Bensman. 51. Brown. pp." College English 38 (April 1977).in the earlyFifties. 215-6. "Remarks on Administrative and Critical Communications Studiesin Philosophyand Social Science IX (1941). and "critical" research"do Horkheimer and Adorno wrote that "administrative" . 59. 60. Lazarsfeld. he wrote: "No continuum exists between critical theorems and the empirical proceduresof naturalscience."in ArthurVidich. pp... Berelson.I may sum up by sayingthat empiricalinvestigations mate but essential. 78-79.. and formaland technicalways of accomplishing it in mass media.p. 305. 64. Emphasis "Memoir.1973). Ibid. 1964). 303." andCriticalCommunications on Administrative "Remarks Lazarsfeld." Lazarsfeld. 275-6. 276.see MartinJay. University America. 52."in Donald Flemingand Bernard Bailyn. in my "Spotlightsand Shadows:Televisionand the Cultureof Politics. They have entirely differenthistoricaloriginsand can be integrated only with the greatesteffort. "Memoir."It was not empiricalwork he opposed. Lazarsfeld. Research. 71.. p. Lazarsfeld's "Memoir. added. 70. 53. pp.. DavidSarnoff(New York:Harper A Towerin Babel (A Historyof Broadcasting in the UnitedStates. The DialecticalImagination (Boston: Little.op. 246-7. cit. pp.1968). 147. pp. Adorno wrote (op.1952). For origins of "a new worldof facts"in consumerist ideologyof the Twenties.. p. and Eric Barnouw. pp.:Harvard Press. pp. 57. Emphasis added. op.eds. T.. Above all." pp. they must themselvesterminatein theoreticalknowledge. pp.. added. in principle. pp.see StuartEwen.1930-1960 (Cambridge.But one must not confer autonomy upon them or regardthem as a universal key. 65. Ibid. ReflecSociologist. fact furtheron p. 191-3. 353): "My own position in the controversybetween empirical and theoretical sociology.eds.. 1976).249 Stein. 1) (New York:OxfordUniversity Press.. p. 277.. 63. "Memoir. p. On the origins of the concept in the FrankfurtInstitut's critique of positivism.Captains of Consciousness:Advertisingand the Social Roots of the ConsumerCulture (New York: McGraw-Hill."An Episode in the History of Social Research:A Memoir. 322. 578-582. 299.particularlyin are not only legitiEurope. but empiricism. 71-73. The Story of the RockefellerFoundation (New York:Harper. 189-190. Merton. op. Research. 310. 67." But elsewhere. 50. TheIntellectualMigration: Europeand Mass. 55.309. In Lazarsfeld.p. 1966). pp.Vol. p. I discussthis tantalizing Ibid.Social Theoryand Social Structure. 54. See Jay. cit. 69. Fosdick. cit. 245. 222-3. n.cit. first proposed for RCA. 308. op. 68. 51-59.andGaudet." pp. 2-16. Quoted in Raymond Fosdick. pp. pp.. cit.and Maurice tions on CommunityPower (New York: John Wiley& Sons. Ibid. 62.op. 58. Adorno. the first mass in 1915.." Lazarsfeld. 343. "Scientific Experiencesof a EuropeanScholar in America. xxix.op. 793-4. Lazarsfeld. even in the realmof culturalphenomena. eds. In Robert K. I discuss the fetishismof facts. pp. so often misrepresented. W. cit. 61..RevisedEdition(New York:The Free Press. though earlier in the same essay (p." This was an actual historical decision. by the young DavidSamroff broadcasting apparatus. 10. pp.1969).p.1966). and Row. Lazarsfeld. 324. 202. 66. 348) 49. 302-3. Adorno. See EugeneLyons. 69-70. 329. p.

342-3) that thePrincetongroup'swork "was concernedwith the collection of data.p. pp. after Interview. Emphasis Lazarsfeld. that Adorno's position in these matterswas fluid. p.. The reproductionof life undercontemnot. Protestants: whiteAnglo-Saxon Ibid. 90. Lowenthaltold me that." p.. His formulationswere abstract insight. pp. Current Biography. 302." Lazarsfeld. It must be said. 74. which were supposedto benefit the planning in the field of the mass media... 83. pp. andtechnical problems. See Barnouw. indeed! Showhow to makeit better!" VeryAmerican p.. cit. Rockefeller Adorno wrote (op. Ibid. I don't now recallwhether Lazarsfeld research' I myself in my astonishmentat a practicallyorientedkind of science. Forthe first time. p. pp." unknown "Memoir.. 1973). Vol. added. 87. 81. 127). 78-9. Leo. 91.Leo Lowenthal.. Lazarsfeld." Journalism Quarterly18 (1941). appear Ewen. 85. "FrankStanton. The Golden Web (A History of Broadcastingin the United States. 314-5..stand conditionsdoes not appearto be possible at all. Ibid.which canbe gained only by applyingthe techniques of empirical social research. II) (New York:OxfordUniversityPress. Stanton. "Memoir. Professor in PopularMagazines" publishinghis justly famous critical study "Biographies told him: "Now. pp.1972]. 272-3. cit. developing. 299. shouldwrite a book on how to writea good biography. you in the Radio Researchannual of 1943. 300-1) gives evidence of someof the social bases of his sense of marginality. then. Isaw 'administrative boardsandsimilar cultural advisory coined this phrase. Emphasis Lazarsfeld. 10-13. 88." Institute for Social Research. 316. pp..His memoir (pp. p.insofar as one succeedsin gaininginsightinto their significancewithin the societal whole and in drawing conclusions from this. cit. Lazarsfeld You alwaysteardown. pp. 79. 86.. unless the centralorgans porary are fed those preciseinformationsabout the most variedsocial of administration conditions. cit. whether in industry itself or in departments bodies.. op. Ibid. 1976. 315. 84." pp. DeFleur. ParadiseLost: The Decline of the Auto-Industrial (NewYork: RandomHouse.."Some Notes on the RelationshipsBetween Radio and the Press. Lynd.. 170-1. 82.. 224. 402-4. 190. and conflicted." p. and Cantrilwere all Marshall the most reliablesponsorsto accumulate.. added. 66.. .at least farenough to make the project palatableto the Foundation. added." but in his enoughto protect his claim to the privilegesof "objective he was unwillingto bend as far as Lazarsfeld's with Lazarsfeld actualengagement synthesisrequired . Age See Emma Rothschild.pp. 304. 37-40. "Memoir. cit. June4.. p. 89. The details of Lazarsfeld'sinstitutional involvementwith advertisingresearch in his "Memoir.. 504-5. 77.. insecurityabout being Jewishin Americawas well groundedin the Lazarsfeld's reality of academic anti-Semitism.1968).Aspects of Sociology [Boston: Beacon (Frankfurt Press. 76.or before me.op. Barnouw."1965 Edition.pp.op. 73. 75.It is worth noting that John of the Rockefeller Foundation.Thecult of technical specializationcannot be overcome by abstractand irrelevanthumanistic demands added by way of complementary The path of true humanismleads throughthe midst of the specialized addenda. 78.. Ibid.250 in such a direct opposition.so entirely to me. 80. 303. Emphasis Merton.op. 72. 297-299.

pp.op.. a in a monograph had me. 300. University.1973). 505-6. 1972. on the feminist Morerecently.In 1936 the spirit of researchrode high at CBS. and therefore is open to consideringbroad social constraintsand consequences. Interview. "Memoir. dissertation..Richard 102. 103.op. pp. 39-40. p. 56."PeterC. Britishwork on the terrainof culturalstudiesdoes not Praeger. This is the approachof StuartEwen'srecent book. Ph. first come to the United States thinkinghe of Pittsburgh." p. Gillam.Advocacyand Professionalism: . pp.251 is 92. 167-8. p. and of some arguments. pp.see my own "'TheWholeWorldis Watching.it lies latent in the historiographyof Herbert Gutman Frankfurt Culture and Society in IndustrializingAmerica [New York: Knopf. P. cit. Jo movement.as cited in Ewen. 303. cit..A serious methodology of academia.p.and he is selectivein working-class herewill need I am advocating citingcorporatestrategists. 307n.136. cit. side with Lee Edson. Stanford A Towerin Babel. of the 107. Lazarsfeldhad. in fact.The convergenceof the "new academicstyle" and the new corporatestrategy C.op.op."Ridicule. University the at Institute Research SeeLazarsfeld. 37. cit. (New case of the automobileindustry. For 106. RichardGillam. PhillipsDavison. belongedto the scientific method. eds. Katz andLazarsfeld. and wrote of him: "Kestencame of CBS. Stanton added a scholarly formulation to careful Kesten's lightningintuitions.) of the simultaneousdevelopmentof "Fordism"(production analysis practices) in the Thirties. p. 1976. C. the Retail "Memoir." 98.. Ibid. For the comparable (op. 97. future The scientific journal. drawa sharpline between mass media "effects" and the careersof socialformations including movements. 99.as he across at aroundthe same time. WrightMills. Barnouw. Louis 105.. 1976]). was hired by the sameCBSVice President processes Stanton. (Work.. see W. York:SaturdayReviewPress. 220. Ibid. I was able to readthis paperthanksto RichardGillamand his files. (new marketing and "Sloanism" efficiency) had a job at 94."C. Gillam. For a brief discussion and citation of a few studies. 279."Functionsof MassCommunicationfor the Collectivity. 95. Peter contemporaries. and eventuallybroughtrespectabilityto the flashy of show business." reprinted in Irving 1963). 101. 577-598.WrightMills. Merton. 104.. pp.op."' York: McKay. op. cit. op.. 3."in Davisonand FrederickT. see Stanley Cohen. 66-82. 302-3. pp.The counter-paradigm todive deeperand stay longerin historicalmaterials. C. Lazarsfeld. cit. My Turbulent Years at CBS Goldmark. 304. famous Stanton's of in the memoirof one conspicuous the inventor of long-playingrecords and of severalmajor color TV Goldmark. 100.For a fine example.. cit. "MassMedia and Public Opinion. Newspaper 1975).RobertLynd. mass 108. unpublished IntellectualBiography. cit. Gillam. p. and Gaye Tuchman. Ewen'sargumentis strongeron assertion than on evidence for the content of consciousnessaroundthe turn of the century. Liberation (New Women's Politics The of Freeman. D. who hiredStanton. ed.June 21. and. Yu. throughreading studentwho was used to the he felt. Books. Horowitz. following from the work of E. pp." An p. for CBS. Ballantine York: (New and People Politics Power. Thompson and others in England. MaverickInventor. example. Mass CommunicationResearch: Major Issues and Future Directions (New York: 1974).see againEmmaRothschild's 93. 1916-1948: HistoryDepartment. Scarcely any studies have been publishedon the impactsand meaningsof mediafor political and social movements and parties. 96.

No relationto ViktorAdler. 113. I cannot discusshere the greatinfluencethe pp. in original. Ibid. p.p. op. 128. 99. cit. 212."paper deliveredat the AmericanSocioReporting Associationmeetings. 120. ."Reconceptualising Cultural Studies. 119.p. 188-9: "If of Austriahad had a little of the impassionedenergy only the Social-Democrats of the Bolsheviksof Russia!All they ever did was to sip sweet white wine in the of the Blue Danube. I (Berkeley: Universityof California Press. 116. 112.See the excellent discussionof this point in CarlLandauer.New York.In the Twilightof Socialism: A Historyof the Revolutionary Socialists 1953). Ibid. Johnston. ofAudiences."But "clarification" understanding. 122. pp. 275n. The fascinat1848-1939 (Berkeley:Universityof California and socialism in Austriaawait a ing and thick relations of Jews. Lazarsfeld that circulated was a roadto diswrote: "I was impressedby the idea that mere 'clarification' especiallyin is a concept itself needingclarification. pp. p. Lazarsfeld.Social Amnesia(Boston:BeaconPress." p. logical the MediaAudience:Towardsan Ethnography Dave Morley." p. 285n. 272. 1975). 1963). The Marxian models. Becauseof the constraintsof space. in passing.. Ibid. p. "Memoir.that the socialdemocraticState was able to achieve some standingin quasi-Marxian futurologybecauseit had the propheticfield to of socialismleft a taboo on specifyingthe futureorganization itself." p.. of Austria(New York:Praeger. 117. 210. 118. "the father of socialism self-hatred in Austria. oration with Elizabeth Kridl Valkenierand Hilde Stein Landauer. Lazarsfeld 1976.Memoirs remarkson the AustrianSocialDemocrats.For some equally also see VictorSerge.Vol.A Tower in Babel. WilliamM. its relationsto historical "Memoir. Ewen.. Heincludes Otto Bauerin this category. 126. Lazarsfeld. Ibid..1974. The AustrianMind: An Intellectualand Social History. 83.. 1972). exerted on Lazarsfeld ("Memoir. 125. Leon Trotsky. both Leninistand socialvacuumthat could be filled by administrative in collabdemocratic. Emphasis For the history of the Americansuccess in radio developmentfrom 1900 on. and the reviewsof the same materialin Todd 109. 89. It is worth noting. anti-Semitism history. 111. On Alfred Adler'smelioristpsychology. 197. deeper "Memoir. August Joseph Buttinger." p.. critical of a Revolutionary(New York: Oxford UniversityPress.p. Ibid. an intellectualhistorianof Austria. First published1929.My Life (New York: PathfinderPress. Press. 114. 205-6. 208-3). 279. p. covery. 272. before I had a chanceto interviewhim on these matters. pp.European Socialism:A Historyof Ideas and Movements. Lazarsfeld. "Memoir. University died in I regretthat Professor But of course they arevery fragmentary. 115. see Barnouw. 1970).. Of the latter. 280.August 1976."But Sergeis also more sympatheticto the operetta-land Austro-Marxists' plight in isolated Viennawithin an Austria still more isolated inEurope. 110." work of the Buhlers psychological nor the impact of the positivistcurrent(includingthe passionfor classification) aroundMachand his circle(ibid. 273)..1959). Lazarsfeld. suggeststhat Jewish was central to the politics of ViktorAdler. Ibid. see Russell Jacoby. 124.. 209."Johnston.252 About a Social Movement."mimeographed paper.Centre forContemporary' of Birmingham. p. 121. 127. 123.

Printed in the Netherlands . ? Theoryand Society 6 (1978) 205-253 Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company." 131.Withthe entry of the U. 1971). op. Barnetand Miller. GlobalReach (New York: Simon& Schuster. 130.. CarlHovlandand associates were grantedthe funds for their elaborate empirical studies of media "effects. and RaymondWilliams. pp. Cultural 129." and only after the war did Lazarsfeld and associatesdevelop specific theoreticalpropositions like that of the "two-stepflow. however.things began to change... Ewengoes on (pp. pp. Duringthe war. pp. into WorldWarII. Form (New York:Schocken.1975). cit. Literature Television:Technologyand Winston. "Sixteen Notes on Television and the Movement.. 336-7. Marcus Raskin. S.The behaviorist first propoundedin generaltermsin mediasociologybeforeWorld War II came to flourish only in the Forties and Fifties.Warindustriescreatedjobs and reinvigorated domestic markets. Ewen.253 Gitlin..eds.Beingand Doing (New York: RandomHouse. White and Charles in Revolution(New York:Holt. In the period between 1920 and the end of the SecondWorld War.Itwas in the period of postwarboom that the social policies postulated and initiated in the twenties began to make their most effective inroads upon the social landscapeof Americansociety.1972). 190-1): "Whilethe contours of commercialculture were taking on a decided modernity by the 1920s.."in George A." Media research had a roughlycomparable theoreticalorientation history.. 189-90. it was decadesbefore the commodified'good life' took hold to the degreeonly dreamed of in the twenties. Rinehart & Newman.1974). 14-41.. Amsterdam . Americancapitalism'sability to expand markets commensuratewith its growingproductivecapacity was severely limited.