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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.those whose generalpublicbetween issues . then.In the processof askinghow decisions are made at the bottom of the influence structure. by being more distantboth conceptuallyand in time and space. Katz and Lazarsfeld weretaking for granted the power of mass media to define news. a vague concept of power. in other words. A street is a conduit." asked been for meanwhile . the . since the institutional origin. relationsbetween broadcasters But an administrativepoint of view is likely.218 on demobilization policy for the army. did an "opinion leader" lead? Whatwas an "expert" expert in.But the distinction is lost in bland language. Itis as if one were studying the influence of streets on mortality rates . changed their opinions" and whether they had if they had "recently asked advice. as we shall see) maskeda crucial language distinction."but the nature of the channelsof that flow. and they were therefore discoveringnot "the part played by people in the flow of masscommunications. 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. 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.35 "Experts. It asks. is that the administrative The problem.38 Vague (indeed. will inevitably "leak"in transmission.duringan enormousflood.37 for were dependent their that "experts" obvious: the fromtaking seriously of analysis. etc. it cannot ask why the occasion for deciding exists in the first place. from the outset.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." Then the women were policy. Katz and Lazarsfeld way:39 with the realmof fashionsat any rate. not a cause of drowning. and who decided the content actually of certifiedexpertise? of sociology.Whenthey came to address skirted the issue of institutionalizednews this theissue. to confuse a report of a certain sort of influence with originatingpower.

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

we would still have to confront its barelysuggestedhistoricalboundaries. nated influentials. after hundreds of pages of generalizationabout reminded mass communications. People named as influentials or influencees in the area of public affairswere far less likely to confirm that status .to confirm. For designated influentials.220 heavily. but 38 percent of the public affairs influencees.the confirmations for fashions. If. therefore. 56 percent of the fashion influencees. the disconfirmationis decisive.In otherwords.they are also. Often enough footnotes are the burial groundsof anticipatedcriticism. Data like these are entirely consistent with the "hypodermic"theory: with the hypothesis that. in the area of public affairs.61 percent for influencees.in the areaof discrepancy. the confirmationswere 71 percentfor marketing. good sites to begin the archaeologicaldigs of critical investigation. certainly one of the major extrapolationsfrom their work in later years. media work directly upon public consciousness. and limited the theory's claims in order to be true to the empiricaldiscrepancies.in other words. Katz and Lazarsfeldpassedover any such implicationby callingfor "muchmore study" and by labelingtheir study "exploratory. 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.it was in a footnote that Katz and Lazarsfeld the reader: "The study was completed before the general introduction of .but only 37 percentfor publicaffairs. on the other hand. or that they had in fact been influenced . 236) ends up permittingthe authors to push a seriousdiscrepancyoff to one side." The Theory'sLimits in Time Even if we accepted the behavioristassumptionsof PersonalInfluence. that they had in fact made an attempt to influence.than people named in the areas of marketingand fashions. and in which Katz and Lazarsfeld lapse into account in formulatingtheir theory. For desig61 percent were71 percentformarketing. Thus the extrinsicchoice of fourissue-areas (see p. There is anotherinstancewhere the Decaturdata pointed away from the twofailedto take the empirical step flow theory. Although this marked failure of confirmation bankrupts the public-affairs variant of the theory.44Katz and Lazarsfeldmentioned the possibility that the men who were disproportionatelythe public-affairsinfluencers may have been poor informantson these matters. one is investigatingthe impact of masscommunications on political attitudes.43Fifty-sevenpercent of the designated marketing influencees acknowledged that role.but only 38 percent of the public affairs influencees.So it is that. or any other decisive interpersonalprocess of influence.

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

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

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

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. And lest this search for general origins be seen as unjustifiablycontextual.its structuralnaivete .and we find. to their sociological tenor. from an excellent analysis of the phenomenon. The fetishism of facts as a practice proves strongerthan the ironic theoretical understanding of its rise. its market assumptions.Paul F. individual "effects.a justifying social democratic ideology. first publishedin 1943 by . Merton and Paul F.the search for specific. Lazarsfeldhimself wrote that the "ideological . it seems only proper to quote an illustriouspredecessor. Lazarsfeld." and not beyond them .5S II.and I will treat them one at a time. in particular. It is the whole scope of the paradigm. 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. reductionist. ROOTSOF THEPARADIGM Why did the Personal Influence study start by assumingthat mass media influence is comparableto face-to-face influence.that is at issue.its methodologicalindividualism. in which the emphasison commercially useful audience researchflourishes. curiously.Robert K. The "two-step flow" might be a sound theory. the marketingorientavariantof social-democratic tion.224 mediated fact as "technologicalpropaganda. short-term.50. by the way. The administrative point of view. 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.Wefind.and not solely at sourcesof the specific two-stepflow theory within it. These phrases emamate." or in "a propaganda of facts." which functions to discourage reflectiveness. or perhaps ad hominem. One further prefatory note: in the whole of the discussion that follows. measurable. and the Austro-Marxist ideology are a constellation that arose together but are (at least) analyticallyseparable. and questions would remainabout the prevalenceof its premisesthroughoutthe field. we find a whole and interwoven fabric of ideolanadministrative ogical predispositionsand orientations. I want to stress that I will be looking at roots of the paradigmas a whole . we find a concordantmarketingorientation.

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

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

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

"permitted me to do any kind of specific study as long as I gaveit some nominal But not quite.the hand that paid instance one least at in and program. of course. the Foundation bestowed upon Hadley Cantril of Princeton and FrankStanton of CBS the money for an Office of Radio Research. "The liberal formulationof the Rockefeller program. been concerned with determiningthe for products size and distributionof its audienceas prospectivepurchasers advertisedover the air. Paul F. This same type of study was later supportedat ColumbiaUniversity. Lazarsfeld.228 the indepenTheFoundation continued to care assiduouslyfor "establishing philosophy.began where the industryleft off..and by specialcontributionsfrom Life University's magazineand Elmo Roper."he wrote later."65 were consonantwith the empiricist that studies on only insisted underwriting Lazarsfeld described.non-instrumental in 1937. Lazarsfeld'soffice was increasingly advice. The Rockefellerprogram connection with radioproblems. the income of the ConsultingDivision of Columbia Office of Radio Research. Withina few years the Office "had acquiredan institutional life of its own." and was ableto procuregrantsfrom other sources. the Princetonstudy. The second edition of The People's Choice records: studywas made financiallypossibleby drawingupon a generalgrantfrom the RockefellerFoundation.Robert Lyndat Columbiaconvinced Cantrilto hire Lazarsfeldas Director.and the reports whichgrew out of the studieshavingbeen widelyused in the radio industry."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.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.wasnot worriedby his dependenceon the Foundation. consultedas a source of expert and Dr.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. To learnwhat it could of the listener as an individual and as a member of society. . but also developed new methods of inquiryapplicableto forecastingand testing the response of untried programs.Organized under Dr. Lazarsfeld.. quite literally.61But the Foundationremainedits major buttress. impartial for his part.The researchby the two institutionsnot only gave a detailedand accurateportraitof the American listeningpublic. "This of philosophy. also under Dr. When.. Lazarsfeld. dence"of social science from primitive.

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

"then a junior staff member of the ColumbiaBroadcastingSystem. their lengthy collaboration in directing first the Office of Radio Research and then the Bureauof Applied Social Research. or what Lazarsfeldlater called "structuralfit": the convergenceof a refugee sociologist's worldview with "some nascent trends in the American community.230 Lazarsfeld'sadministrativetheory and his close relations with the cultural industry."73Of course Stanton's corporatestandingdoes not automaticallyestablishthat. in the person of Frank Stanton. in his associations with such sociologists as Robert Lynd and Hadley Cantril.74 By 1938. and morelegitimacy. C. Stanton was research director of CBS. as opposed to. The two men shareda common interestin positivistresearch. NBC or TheNew York Times. which would enable centralized institutions (broadcasters. of CBS Inc. Lazarsfeldwould have to secure both flanks. and remainthere until 1971.personify the rising estate of administrative social sciencejust before.advertisers. and Stanton's successful career. The convergence of research interests between Lazarsfeld and Stanton. duringand after the Second WorldWar. In fact. receivers". and its tight links with the apparatusof corporationand State.with Stanton. presidingover the decisive early years of television. psychology dissertationon audienceresearch. D. say. Lazarsfeldwas beholden to the narrowly construed corporate interests of CBS. Lazarsfeld's relations with Stanton. harnessed to the social science they brought to both commercialutility and academic legitimacy. proceeded apace. As a "marginal over as a refugee Jew in the anti-Semiticacademy. in any simple sense.75With direct corporateconnections."77 . and at the same time an Assistant Director of the Princetonproject. and in editing the intermittent Radio Researchseries from 1940 on. but to the data without which administrativeStanton." Lazarsfeldcalled them.the most successfulof us all. in 1946. just as.especiallyin the measurementof audiences and the "effects" of particularmedia messages. It was in 1935 that Lazarsfeldestablished what was to be a long working partnership"friendly relations.would become President type researchwas unimaginable."76One of his fellow immigrantsrecently said of Paul Lazarsfeld: "He was very American .meanwhile. their affinity was considerably more profound than an immediate interest.He could become legitimate in the eyes of the media establishment. he could strive for intellectual man" who understoodhimself as such. Stanton himself had been hiredby CBSin 1935 becausethe networkwas impressedwith his Ph. he could gain access not only to researchmoney. traced an emblematic success story: the two careerssucceeded together.the State) to predictpublic reactionsto institutionalchoices. Muchwas at stake for Lazarsfeld in such a relationship. It was a stunning instance of being in the right place at the right time.Stanton had invented "the first automatic recording device designed to be placed inside home radio thus he anticipated A. Neilsen's lucrativelittle polling box.

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

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

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

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

The simple figuresare suggestive.In 1925 there were 4. It was not only necessary.96 perhousehold. in one of Lazarsfeld's"strategicfits. the mass market in broadcastingwas in the making:it was one of the few mass markets that could penetrate an impoverished population." the FiresideChat.but legitimate. and to find their profits in selling advertisingtime more than in manufacturingradio sets. and CBSfirst advertisingon the airwaves.and the marketfor radio receivers was on its way to saturation. The kind of researchStanton and Lazarsfeldwere equipped and eagerto do was going to come into greaterand greaterdemand over the years .The stereotyped commercial. in 1930. with WilliamS. or partly because of it (with the great hunger for cheap entertainment). andfinally from the academic world.15 per household.to increasetheir sharesof the existing audience. and the Office of Radio Research were shoots of a common plant. from the conglomeratesthat would accumulate control overthe meansof masscommunications. competition was heating up. 51. the Federal CommunicationsCommissiondirected NBC to divest itself of one of its two radionetworks. "Amos 'n' Andy. from publishers. Radio had arrivednow.000 sets.000 sets in the United States.Competition between CBSand NBC radiointensified throughthe Thirties.500. he had envisioned enormous sales of "Radio Music Boxes.90In 1940.000. in 1935. or 0." but he had not even dreamedof commercial NBCwas organizedin late 1926.91Between market saturationfor radio sets and increasingnetwork growth and competition for advertising. 13." a . as Merton says. and then to networks.000 sets. (When David Sarnoff had first imagined the possibility of a mass broadcastingindustry in 1915.45 perhousehold.and in 1943 NBC did sell one to the newly formed American BroadcastingCompany.from broadcasting networks. or 0.43 per household.93 In order to increase the price they could chargeadvertisers for network time.a measureof the new importanceof radio in the cultural life of the society and in the thinkingo/ its economic-political managers.000. or 1. the networks would have to develop reliable knowledge of the size and composition ("demographics")of audiences. Paley's assumptionto the presidency. or 0.audience research(on the marketingof commodities) would be as importantas "hardware" research (on the productionof commodities).000.)89 became a serious threat in 1928.corporate developmentswere coming to requirepreciseaudience researchon a grandscale.in 1940. give its Henceforward. It would become more important to stations. So its should not be surprisingthat.from the majorretailers. CBS had hired Lazarsfeld's collaborator-to-be FrankStanton from Ohio State in to new researchapparatusthe necessaryrigor. 30.92 University 1935.88 Accordingly.235 Depression. Televisionwas not yet in massproduction.94 The Princeton Office of Radio Research was the first research institution on radio in America .000 sets.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

University 1973. For example. pp. 21-45. SecondEdition(New York: McKay. "InformationFlow. L." Quarterly "The Two-StepFlow Theory:Cross-Cultural Journalism Implications. cit. pp. Katzand Lazarsfeld.Voting. Elihu Katz. 67: ".Marxismand Literature(New York: Oxford UniversityPress..1975). and Nan Lin. op. 20. pp. 19.Lee B. see Elihu Katz." own The People's Choice and its pp. Studies." Katzand Lazarsfeld. MelvinL."in JeremyTunstall. p. and DeFleur. 14. pp. p. 22. cit.Theoriesof MassCommunication.. See especially Robert Dahl. p. 121-127. Quarterly See all the other studiescited in note 7. MediaSociology:A Reader(Urbana: University of IllinoisPress. 41-57.. op. Bostian.. Katzand Lazarsfeld. p. n. Influence Flow and the Decision-Making Process. C.1970). 10... 133. . 19.p.Centrefor Cultural Williams. Who Governs?(New Haven: Yale UniversityPress. 18. 112-117. "MassCommunication: Study.247 V.1970)."The Leaderin Family Planningand the Two-StepFlow Model. 51. Anthony Giddens. 5. 288-297. Ibid."Journal of Conflict Resolution2 (March1958). L..to accord a larger role to informalpersonalinfluences. Arndt. and Decodingin the TelevisionDiscourse. Z. 21. 109-117. For an earliercritiqueof pluralisttheory along the presentlines. see Todd Gitlin. pp. McCombs and Jack M. pp. p." StuartHall. Allen. n. See DeFleur. Vol. 25. 33-40. p. In the Chaffeevolume cited in note 2 above.loc. pp.. op. pp."A Field Test of a Modified'Two-StepFlow of Communication' Model. McLeod ("Development of Political Cognitions. 16-17. Ibid.ed. 1977). F. op. 146.attemptsto establishthe effects of mass communicationforced Lazarsfeldand his asociates. 16. Roger L. Becker. n. "The Two-StepFlow of Communication: An Up-to-DateReport on an Hypothesis. cit. cit.. 15. "Approachesto the Historical Development of MassMedia Studies.. 609-623.The ClassStructureof the AdvancedSocieties (New York: Harper Torchbooks. Tradition. Rosario.. 17. Troldahl. cit."Studieson the Left 5 (Summer1965) pp.1968). 11. 23. I."American Journal of Sociology 65 (March 1960). Ibid. in particular. 24. "Communication Convergenceof Two Traditions. 6. and Raymond paper. 1963). citing later studies that tend to show direct mediaimpact especiallyon the poor. Ibid. 163."Journalism Quarterly48 (Spring1971). 61-78. For an interestingcritiqueof both pluralismand its 8. 12.p. "LocalPluralism as Theoryand Ideology. n."Encoding mimeographed of Birmingham. p."Public Opinion Quarterly30 (Winter1966-67). 112-154. DeFleur. 18. 222. Brown.Maxwell E. 9. For moreon "personal influence"theoryas a critiqueof the earlier"hypodermic" Researchand the Image of Society: theory. For a collation of empiricalcriticismsof the two-step flow. 24. 16. pp." International Encyclopediaof the SocialSciences(New York: Macmillan andThe Free Press.. 13. R. 113. 20." Journalism 48 (Summer1971)."The Communicator and the Audience.. 29-31) reinterpretdata from Lazarsfeld's successor. 10. 492-498." PublicOpinionQuarterly XXI (Spring1957). Of course the literature on pluralismand elite theory is vast. and Nelson Polsby. pp.op.p. to show that the media are more influentialthan Lazarsfeld concluded. cit. 1961). "SocialRelationsand the Two-StepFlow: A Defenseof the Journalism 46 (Autumn1969). CommunityPowerand Political Theory(New Haven: Yale UniversityPress. pp. see MorrisJanowitz." Quarterly 47 (Spring 1970). and the highly anomic. RaymondBauer. the isolated.

4. 41. 39.. but a claim Katz and Lazarsfeld make. City: Anchor. 34. The actual plurality of sources in both communitiesand media and homogenized was actuallydryingupas both were becomingcentralized chains in the Fifties."Mass Paul F. p. 947-952. quotingLazarsfeld. 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.1957). Klapper. by the way . cit. WrightMills.p. n. of the Social Sciences"(New York:Macmillan added. p. . 30. op. 138.. 309.. 159. 35. Ibid. pp. Berelson. p. 459. p. pp. see Steven Lukes. 1958). or ratherthan.p. Emphasis Ibid. 52. an theoretical problematics.... 36. The Effects of Mass Communication 1960).. findingson Even at that.and Gaudet. and The Free Press.op. 37. Klapper. Emphasis If the 58 percentof changesinvolvedpersonalcontactsthat took placeand were did not later forgotten . There arisesthe question of whether RadicalView (London: Macmillan. Thanksto William Kornhauser for pointingthis out to me in conversation.1970). p... culminatingin a proposal for a "three-dimensional" which integratesthe strengths of each.The HumanCondition(Garden (New York: The Free Joseph T. 271n. p. 32.248 "nondecision" critique. Ibid.1959). 276n.. 27.eds. 319. 142. Encyclopedia Effects.. C.. Theory Katzand Lazarsfeld. SeeHannah Arendt. Communications.1968). Press. Ibid.p. cit. 2. and RobertK. cit. 31. in the respective In other words: Is there. Ibid. 33. Emphasis added. 42."reprinted andOrganized White. p. 48. 45. 85. p. 107-8. 40. op. but I do want to put it forth: the answeris a qualifiedNo. cit. Merton." seeminterestedin the distinctionbetween marketing The differences might have spoken to the difference between consumingand politics. op. and do not the exorbitantclaimslatermadein theirname. Ibid. The Sociological Imagination(New York: Oxford University Press. or was there in the Fifties. Ibid. Thanksto DavidMatzafor puttingthis point to me in conversation. Lazarsfeld and DavidManning in Bernard Rosenberg SocialAction. Baratz. See Katzand Lazarsfeld. the Katz-Lazarsfeld "publicaffairsinfluence"are the weakestin the book on their face."The Two Faces of Power. 28. Power: A approach 1974). in original. and their Powerand Poverty: Political and Practice(New York:OxfordUniversityPress. n. PopularTaste. "The Eclipse of Community:Some Glancesat the Educationof a 26. 271. 341. 332-334.the same assumptionwould have to be made about other findings.Nordid KatzandLazarsfeld warrant and public affairs "flows..a logical possibility.p. 47. as we shall see on pages 219-20. Ibid. 38.. the structuralhomology between pluralismand the two-step flow reflects an actual homologyin theirsubjectmattersas well as. 312. Maurice Stein. 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. p.MassCulture(New York: Free Press. 44. Katzand Lazarsfeld."in International Communication: "Mass JosephT. 160.p. p."American Science Review 56 (1962). Ibid. 46. 43. nationalizing Peter Bachrachand Morton S. 151. 29.thereforemakinghash of the theoreticalconclusionsdrawnfrom these data.

Joseph Bensman." This was an actual historical decision.1968).. cit.. 67."It was not empiricalwork he opposed. though earlier in the same essay (p. xxix. 55. 793-4. p. pp. DavidSarnoff(New York:Harper A Towerin Babel (A Historyof Broadcasting in the UnitedStates. 305. 68. 299. 308. and Eric Barnouw. 10. pp. Berelson.. 69. T.in the earlyFifties. 71-73. 329. University America. 277. W." pp.1973). 61." in Flemingand Bailyn. Adorno wrote (op. I discussthis tantalizing Ibid." pp. 343. 78-79. pp.. See EugeneLyons. I discuss the fetishismof facts. 2-16.I may sum up by sayingthat empiricalinvestigations mate but essential. Lazarsfeld's "Memoir. 276. 57. Adorno. and "critical" research"do Horkheimer and Adorno wrote that "administrative" .But one must not confer autonomy upon them or regardthem as a universal key. cit. Emphasis added. 53. in my "Spotlightsand Shadows:Televisionand the Cultureof Politics. See Jay. even in the realmof culturalphenomena. pp. 58. 56." But elsewhere.. 62. The DialecticalImagination (Boston: Little.op. pp. Merton. 63.eds. pp.Vol. the first mass in 1915. pp.p. 147.Captains of Consciousness:Advertisingand the Social Roots of the ConsumerCulture (New York: McGraw-Hill." Lazarsfeld. p.1969).p. Lazarsfeld. "Remarks on Administrative and Critical Communications Studiesin Philosophyand Social Science IX (1941)."An Episode in the History of Social Research:A Memoir. ReflecSociologist. 71. 51. 303. 191-3. cit. 50. cit. Adorno. 54.. 52.RevisedEdition(New York:The Free Press. Emphasis letter to Adornois excerptedin Jay. cit."in ArthurVidich. Paul F. Ibid. 1966).. fact furtheron p.. in principle. Ibid. first proposed for RCA. 59.. pp.1966). The Story of the RockefellerFoundation (New York:Harper. Ibid. "Scientific Experiencesof a EuropeanScholar in America. 310.andGaudet. Lazarsfeld. For origins of "a new worldof facts"in consumerist ideologyof the Twenties. 353): "My own position in the controversybetween empirical and theoretical sociology. cit.1930-1960 (Cambridge. 60.." andCriticalCommunications on Administrative "Remarks Lazarsfeld. p. 1964). 246-7. op.1952)." Lazarsfeld. 66.309. In Robert K. Research.particularlyin are not only legitiEurope. pp. Lazarsfeld. Fosdick. 578-582. op. In Lazarsfeld.p. so often misrepresented. pp. Thanksto RichardGillamfor alertingme to this quotation.op. 69-70. pp.op. p. added. pp. n. 222-3. by the young DavidSamroff broadcasting apparatus.eds. Ibid. 202."in Donald Flemingand Bernard Bailyn. TheIntellectualMigration: Europeand Mass. 70. Emphasis "Memoir. 189-190.249 Stein. 275-6. On the origins of the concept in the FrankfurtInstitut's critique of positivism.Social Theoryand Social Structure. 302-3. pp. They have entirely differenthistoricaloriginsand can be integrated only with the greatesteffort. eds. 1) (New York:OxfordUniversity Press. 1976).:Harvard Press. 64. 348) 49.. added.see MartinJay.and Maurice tions on CommunityPower (New York: John Wiley& Sons. they must themselvesterminatein theoreticalknowledge. p. and Row. 215-6. 324. op.." College English 38 (April 1977). Lazarsfeld. pp..p.. he wrote: "No continuum exists between critical theorems and the empirical proceduresof naturalscience. p. 322. "Memoir.cit. and formaland technicalways of accomplishing it in mass media.. Above all. "Memoir. Quoted in Raymond Fosdick. 65. 245. Brown. 51-59.see StuartEwen. but empiricism. Research.

302. added. 297-299. 75. 303. Age See Emma Rothschild. 190. pp.. 1976. cit.Leo Lowenthal.250 in such a direct opposition. cit. 170-1. Ibid. 1973). Leo. Emphasis Merton.. "FrankStanton. 299. 304. that Adorno's position in these matterswas fluid. which were supposedto benefit the planning in the field of the mass media. 66. His formulationswere abstract insight. The details of Lazarsfeld'sinstitutional involvementwith advertisingresearch in his "Memoir. 83.. you in the Radio Researchannual of 1943. 316. 272-3. 37-40. II) (New York:OxfordUniversityPress. and Cantrilwere all Marshall the most reliablesponsorsto accumulate.insofar as one succeedsin gaininginsightinto their significancewithin the societal whole and in drawing conclusions from this. whether in industry itself or in departments bodies." but in his enoughto protect his claim to the privilegesof "objective he was unwillingto bend as far as Lazarsfeld's with Lazarsfeld actualengagement synthesisrequired ." Journalism Quarterly18 (1941). 80. Professor in PopularMagazines" publishinghis justly famous critical study "Biographies told him: "Now. 82. p... 88.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. cit. 504-5. cit. pp. Rockefeller Adorno wrote (op. 127). unless the centralorgans porary are fed those preciseinformationsabout the most variedsocial of administration conditions.His memoir (pp. 78-9. Lazarsfeld.pp.It is worth noting that John of the Rockefeller Foundation. 89. pp." Lazarsfeld..at least farenough to make the project palatableto the Foundation. pp. 84. The Golden Web (A History of Broadcastingin the United States. Vol. 81." unknown "Memoir. 402-4. Lazarsfeld You alwaysteardown.. p..which canbe gained only by applyingthe techniques of empirical social research..pp.. ParadiseLost: The Decline of the Auto-Industrial (NewYork: RandomHouse. "Memoir. Protestants: whiteAnglo-Saxon Ibid. appear Ewen.Aspects of Sociology [Boston: Beacon (Frankfurt Press. developing. Current Biography."Some Notes on the RelationshipsBetween Radio and the Press. 77. p. Emphasis Lazarsfeld. 86. and conflicted.1972]. Lowenthaltold me that. 78.. Lynd. 72. then. 76. 224... Ibid." p.. Emphasis Lazarsfeld.so entirely to me. 314-5.op. 300-1) gives evidence of someof the social bases of his sense of marginality. It must be said.. 73. pp. ."1965 Edition. 91. "Memoir. cit. Isaw 'administrative boardsandsimilar cultural advisory coined this phrase. shouldwrite a book on how to writea good biography.op. added. added. DeFleur. June4. 315.1968). Stanton. 74." pp..p. after Interview.op. 79. p. 342-3) that thePrincetongroup'swork "was concernedwith the collection of data. pp.stand conditionsdoes not appearto be possible at all.. Ibid. op. 10-13.. indeed! Showhow to makeit better!" VeryAmerican p. 87." Institute for Social Research.. andtechnical problems. insecurityabout being Jewishin Americawas well groundedin the Lazarsfeld's reality of academic anti-Semitism. 85.or before me. See Barnouw. pp. Barnouw. Ibid. I don't now recallwhether Lazarsfeld research' I myself in my astonishmentat a practicallyorientedkind of science." p. 90.. Forthe first time. The reproductionof life undercontemnot.

it lies latent in the historiographyof Herbert Gutman Frankfurt Culture and Society in IndustrializingAmerica [New York: Knopf. 3. Ballantine York: (New and People Politics Power. Stanford A Towerin Babel. Barnouw. see Stanley Cohen. Liberation (New Women's Politics The of Freeman. op. throughreading studentwho was used to the he felt. was hired by the sameCBSVice President processes Stanton. Ph. example. p. and therefore is open to consideringbroad social constraintsand consequences. pp. 1976. 39-40. 304. and. Newspaper 1975).Richard 102. University the at Institute Research SeeLazarsfeld. (New case of the automobileindustry. WrightMills. dissertation. and Gaye Tuchman.. 220. famous Stanton's of in the memoirof one conspicuous the inventor of long-playingrecords and of severalmajor color TV Goldmark. 104. 300. 99."Functionsof MassCommunicationfor the Collectivity. cit. 302-3. Merton. My Turbulent Years at CBS Goldmark. 1916-1948: HistoryDepartment. pp. Lazarsfeld. Interview. cit.pp. cit. future The scientific journal. I was able to readthis paperthanksto RichardGillamand his files.op. Louis 105.WrightMills. Britishwork on the terrainof culturalstudiesdoes not Praeger. on the feminist Morerecently.June 21..Advocacyand Professionalism: ."in Davisonand FrederickT. pp. 303. p. 96. RichardGillam. Gillam. for CBS.251 is 92. Ibid. cit. 56. of the 107.136. Yu. the Retail "Memoir. Ewen'sargumentis strongeron assertion than on evidence for the content of consciousnessaroundthe turn of the century..op.In 1936 the spirit of researchrode high at CBS. cit. who hiredStanton. (Work. pp. in fact.. MaverickInventor. 505-6." reprinted in Irving 1963).op. C. pp. first come to the United States thinkinghe of Pittsburgh. p. Lazarsfeldhad.The convergenceof the "new academicstyle" and the new corporatestrategy C. 95.A serious methodology of academia. 97.. 279. and of some arguments."' York: McKay. 167-8. cit. This is the approachof StuartEwen'srecent book. University. op. Gillam.as cited in Ewen.. 101.see againEmmaRothschild's 93. unpublished IntellectualBiography. P. mass 108. Katz andLazarsfeld. 66-82. side with Lee Edson. Peter contemporaries. For the comparable (op. pp.1973). Books.) of the simultaneousdevelopmentof "Fordism"(production analysis practices) in the Thirties. a in a monograph had me. see W. drawa sharpline between mass media "effects" and the careersof socialformations including movements. 100. and eventuallybroughtrespectabilityto the flashy of show business. 1976]).op. Jo movement. Scarcely any studies have been publishedon the impactsand meaningsof mediafor political and social movements and parties. For 106. York:SaturdayReviewPress. "Memoir." 98. eds. Stanton added a scholarly formulation to careful Kesten's lightningintuitions. PhillipsDavison.. C. belongedto the scientific method." p. following from the work of E. ed.and he is selectivein working-class herewill need I am advocating citingcorporatestrategists."Ridicule." An p. 577-598.op. Ibid."C. Thompson and others in England.The counter-paradigm todive deeperand stay longerin historicalmaterials.For a fine example. 103. Horowitz. Mass CommunicationResearch: Major Issues and Future Directions (New York: 1974). Gillam.. cit. 307n. p. D. 1972. and wrote of him: "Kestencame of CBS. (new marketing and "Sloanism" efficiency) had a job at 94. cit. For a brief discussion and citation of a few studies."PeterC.p. "MassMedia and Public Opinion.see my own "'TheWholeWorldis Watching.RobertLynd.as he across at aroundthe same time.. 37.

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

"Sixteen Notes on Television and the Movement.. it was decadesbefore the commodified'good life' took hold to the degreeonly dreamed of in the twenties.Withthe entry of the U. In the period between 1920 and the end of the SecondWorld War. Barnetand Miller..Warindustriescreatedjobs and reinvigorated domestic markets." 131.. Americancapitalism'sability to expand markets commensuratewith its growingproductivecapacity was severely limited.Beingand Doing (New York: RandomHouse. GlobalReach (New York: Simon& Schuster.1975). Ewengoes on (pp. 130.. and RaymondWilliams.. Literature Television:Technologyand Winston.1974).things began to change. White and Charles in Revolution(New York:Holt. pp. Marcus Raskin. 1971).253 Gitlin. 336-7. Ewen. 189-90.." and only after the war did Lazarsfeld and associatesdevelop specific theoreticalpropositions like that of the "two-stepflow.Printed in the Netherlands . CarlHovlandand associates were grantedthe funds for their elaborate empirical studies of media "effects.eds.The behaviorist first propoundedin generaltermsin mediasociologybeforeWorld War II came to flourish only in the Forties and Fifties. pp. ? Theoryand Society 6 (1978) 205-253 Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company. pp. Duringthe war. 14-41.1972).. however. Cultural 129. into WorldWarII."in George A. Amsterdam . Rinehart & Newman. cit." Media research had a roughlycomparable theoreticalorientation history..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. Form (New York:Schocken. op. S. 190-1): "Whilethe contours of commercialculture were taking on a decided modernity by the 1920s.