Summary of Media as Ritual and Social Form


This chapter draws on Couldry’s prior work about media and rituals in exploring media institutions as well as the myth regarding the mediated centre. I find the article to be having a good start by defining media rituals. Media rituals has been defined as social forms naturalizing media’s constant will to power, which is the claim by media to provide exclusive access to joint reality whereby we need to pay attention. My points of interest is the fact that it has been emphasized that it is quite difficult to understand the relationship between media and power as it is overlapping with greater issues within the social theory. Important to note it that the increase in media outlets division does not necessarily mean that media power vanishes. A good example is UK and the United States with their evidence of media propagation, delegation of media production as well as a puzzling variety of interfaces that media exists in at the moment, whereby they have highly sophisticated celebrity culture which is not only a resultant of the media industry but infiltrated deep into our day-to-day life and also social norms.

Actually, I find social form to be an interesting aspect in explaining the relationship between media and power since in infers that the core idea that categorized thought of societies are intrinsic in nature to social order. For instance, the government has power to control media and what they report. Essentially, in matters concerning national securing the government restricts media from reporting such matters to the public unless when granted permit, the media can only report or air certain critical information only when allowed by the government. Both media and government emphasizes on social values and focuses on symbolic resources that focuses on social values systematically.

To develop a better understanding, I think it is appropriate to use media rituals to strengthen the arguments in three ways; by using the value-pluralism assumption instead of value coherence, by clearly elaborating effectively how it applies to various societies including media cultures in the period of increasing international uncertainty concerning value, and also to extend it to have a better understanding of the impacts and not only the deliberation of symbolic power of media.

Also, I find the author’ definition of rituals being appropriate as he defines rituals as power enactments by form. Media rituals is defined as social forms naturalizing media’s constant will to power, literally meaning the claim by media to provided exclusive access to a corporate reality in which we ought to pay attention. The capacity of media institutions is primarily based on the claim that under the pressures of centralization for the society, and is a real truth and natural center that we ought to value to be the center of our lifestyles and our core values. For example, currently media presentation of their news and information are focused to be compatible with values, culture and lifestyle of the people. More specifically, television channels such as Nickelodeon presents programs that are compatible to young children with urban lifestyles.

            Essentially, I admit that basic human rituals are familiar since rituals are characterized by birth, death, forming a group, marriage and communicating transcendently. However, based on the author’s definition of category as a steady principle that allows a certain term to be often differentiated from another, I believe that sacred is distinguished from profane whereas media is distinguished from ordinary in terms of media rituals. For example, media’s way of presentation of programs can be differentiated and are categorized in various categories. Media presentation are put into categories such as; adventure, kids’ cartoon, movies, life and style, sports among others.


In essence, the author summarizes by asserting that it is important to allow the concept of the myth of mediated center out of any supposition of certain institutional configurations like those dominating media studies.  I think the thought that means appreciation of the capacity that media institutions have in several places but not in places where modern media have established a mutual relationship with the states so as to make themselves socially central. An example is New York Times media which has established a relationship with the federal government. As a result, New York Times is given exclusive access by the federal government to report on critical issues concerning the United States white house and the country as a whole.