Katz, Elihu

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 37
  • Publication
    McLuhan: Where Did He Come From, Where Did He Disappear?
    (1998) Katz, Ruth; Katz, Elihu
    Writings by and about McLuhan trace his interest in the comparative study of media to his literary training at Cambridge in the 1930s which was occupied with the aesthetics of sight and sound and the predominance of representational forms over the content represented. This paper puzzles over the lack of reference -- by McLuhan, his mentors, and his critics -- to an earlier group of British thinkers (from Shaftesbury to Adam Smith) who deliberated over the differences among the arts. Their treatises on how the mind processes visual and auditory information remarkably foreshadow McLuhan's assertion that the media constrain how we think and feel. Present-day debate over the effects of new media technology, as well as current theories of reception, reflect McLuhan's stimulating (though exasperating) insights. His footprints also point to cognitive science and, of course, to globalism.
  • Publication
    Youth and Popular Music: A Study in the Sociology of Taste
    (1957-05-01) Johnstone, John; Katz, Elihu
    Preferences in popular music among teen-age girls vary according to the neighborhood in which a girl lives and her relative popularity among her peers. Highly popular girls are shown to conform more closely than the less popular to the prevailing neighborhood norms in popular music. Musical tastes and preferences for particular songs and for particular disk jockeys are found to be anchored in relatively small groups of friends, suggesting that personal relations play an important role in musical fads and fashions.
  • Publication
    Media Multiplication and Social Segmentation
    (2000-06-01) Katz, Elihu
    By now, everybody has heard of the `bourgeois public sphere,' that moment in history when a rising merchant class felt empowered enough to deliberate public policy rationally and universalistically, and to transmit its conclusions to the powers-that-were with the expectation of being taken seriously. By academic standards Habermas's (1962/1989) thesis has become a household word, perhaps because it offers a nostalgic reminder of a lost utopia of participatory democracy, or because it offers hope of what yet might be — if we could only learn to translate the seventeenth century into the ostensibly compatible conditions of a modernity in which widespread education, universal suffrage and the new communications technologies would seem to invite such translation. But this is not the whole of Habermas's thesis, nor its most original part. The rest of it revolves around the `representative public sphere' which refers both to the period that preceded, and the period that followed, that of the newly autonomous bourgeoisie. In the earlier period, it refers to the person of the monarch, to the dazzle and charisma of his regalia, symbols of the legitimacy of his rule and the unity of his realm. That's not such a new idea either. What is new is Habermas's suggestion that the period following the `bourgeois public sphere' — that is, our here and now — is essentially a return to the charisma of the `representative public sphere,' not that of the absolute monarch to be sure, but of a political and economic establishment that has armed itself with image makers and spin doctors who dazzle and charm in the name of the legitimacy and prerogatives of their clients. As Calhoun (1992) puts it, summarizing Habermas, “By means of these transformations, the public sphere has become more an arena for advertising than a setting for rational/critical debate.
  • Publication
    Mass Communications Research and the Study of Popular Culture: An Editorial Note on a Possible Future for This Journal
    (1959) Katz, Elihu
    In the Spring 1959 issue of the Public Opinion Quarterly, Bernard Berelson explains why he thinks that communication research may be dead. The pioneers in this field, he says, have abandoned their original interests and those who have followed neither measure up to the pioneers nor have they anything very new to contribute. In passing, he cites the demise of the Committee on Communication at the University of Chicago as symbolic of this state of affairs. In their replies, Berelson's critics say, in effect, that it is uncomfortable but challenging to have to protest their own obituary. They cite numerous areas of inquiry and a variety of studies which, for them, are indicative of a continued vitality in the field of communication research. In the proliferation of examples, however, I think that the critics missed a chance to point out to Mr. Berelson exactly what is and what is not dead. By granting that something has happened to the pioneering type of communication research, it becomes possible to point out more clearly what is alive.
  • Publication
    Communication Research and the Image of Society Convergence of Two Traditions
    (1960-03-01) Katz, Elihu
    Research on mass communications and on the acceptance of new farm practices may be characterized as an interest in campaigns to gain a acceptance of change. Despite their shared problems, these two fields have shown no interest in each other. However, very recently, as the student of mass communications began to revise his image of an atomized mass society, there have been signs of growing convergence. The attempt to take systematic account of interpersonal relations as relevant to the flow of mass communications has directed the attention of students of urban communication to rural sociology.
  • Publication
    Of Mutual Interest
    (1978) Katz, Elihu
  • Publication
    Interacting With "Dallas": Cross Cultural Readings of American TV
    (1990) Katz, Elihu; Liebes, Tamar
    Decoding by overseas audiences of the American hit program, "Dallas," shows that viewers use the program as a "forum" to reflect on their identities. They become involved morally (comparing "them" and "us"), playfully (trying on unfamiliar roles), ideologically (searching for manipulative messages), and aesthetically (discerning the formulae from which the program is constructed).
  • Publication
    Notes on a Natural History of Fads
    (1957-05-01) Meyerson, Rolf; Katz, Elihu
    The natural history of fads of fashions, a particular type of social change, is told as a succession of chronological stages, each characterized by the interaction among producers, distributors, and consumers. The process is thus: discovery of the potential fad, promotion by the discoverers and/or original consumers, labeling, dissemination, eventual loss of exclusiveness and uniqueness, death by displacement.
  • Publication
    Notes on the Unit of Adoption in Diffusion Research
    (1962) Katz, Elihu
    In thinking about the diffusion of innovation, one tends to overlook the obvious fact that not all innovations are adopted by, or are intended to be adopted by, individuals. In the first place, different sorts of innovations may "require" different units of adoption- for example, "it takes two to tango." In the second place, different cultural or situational norms may "prescribe" different units of adoption for an innovation. Most empirical research on diffusion has focused exclusively on the individual as the unit of adoption. This is because the innovations that have attracted modern sociologists have tended to be appropriate for individual adopters. Still, it is altogether obvious that certain recommended contraceptive practices, for example, "require" joint adoption by husband and wife or that middle-class culture "prescribes" a family decision concerning the purchase of a new car. Focusing only on the individual in such cases is misleading if one is to understand the diffusion process completely. Here there is something to be learned from anthropological students of diffusion who often treat the tribe or the group as the unit of adoption even for such ostensibly (to us) individualistic innovations as Christianity in cases where the decision of the chief or the elders is binding upon all. Moreover, many of the innovations in our society are adopted not by individuals or even by families but by organizations. The city-manager idea and the kindergarten were adopted by cities and by school boards respectively; automation is adopted by factories.2 This paper proceeds on the assumption that it is worth exploring the process of innovation front the point of view of the social units which adopt them. As a beginning, let us assume that there are three distinguishable units: individuals, informal groups or collectivities, and formal organizations of all kinds. Innovations can then be classified in terms of the extent to which they "require" one or another type of unit. Culture and subcultures can be classified in terms of their preference among the types of unit for given kinds of innovation.