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Essay example - "The media and the experts determine how we see the rest of the world" (Said 1997) How far could public opinion resist the influence of the political and econom

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Pages 10 (2510 words)
Power make things change or prevent thing changing. Whether defined as the ability to make decisions and to have those decisions carried out, to influence hearts and minds, to alter states of being or simply to hire and fire workers, power is the key factor in the dynamics of any culture.

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Invasion of one country by another is an example of coercive power. Symbolic power works through images (linguistic, pictoral, aural) to create and mobilise support for a cause and it is integral to the operation of the other power forms. Other classifications include position, resource and charismatic (or personality) power, each overlapping with Thompson's categories and each one some how connected with communication processes. A case can be made for recognising technological power, what Karl Marx refereed to as the means of production, as a category in its own right. John of Gutenberg's invention of the printing press in around 1450 was not substantially the result of either economic or political imperatives, but it soon proved to be a winner economically. Politically and culturally it brought about profound changes. By symbolising knowledge as something potentially accessible to all and rendering the act of reading an exercise in individualism and a possible source of subversion, printing transformed the known world by becoming a power in the land. In easily reproducible and permanent form, it spread knowledge and ideas beyond the traditional boundary fence of the privileged to the 'common people'. In doing so, it offered them glimpses of their own potential power.
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