By David Chaney (auth.)
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Additional resources for Processes of Mass Communication
In keeping with the other elements of this framework, reward is not used in this sense. Reward here refers to ways in which performances can be integrated with other social sources in creating a consensus about the world, or at least a discord that is minimally disturbing. The rewards of mass communications will not therefore be predetermined but will develop through experience of situations. It is still true that many of the benefits to be derived from mass communications are directly functional for audiences.
Becker's discussion of the concept of commitment, and particularly his application of it to studying the development of deviant identities, 23 suggests how the individual must not only 'learn' the meaning of experiences but must also integrate experiences that 'seem formally extraneous': What happens is that the individual, as a consequence of actions he has taken in the past or the operation of various institutional routines, finds he must adhere to certain lines of behaviour, because many other activities than the one he is immediately engaged in will be adversely affected if he does not.
18 Here we see that research is once more being pushed towards emphasising the heterogeneity of communication situations and the importance of the audience in defining the meaning and role of these situations. A stress upon the involvement of the individual in the communicative situation and his consequent definitions of the meaning and appropriateness of the communication have characterised the work of Sherif and his associates for some years. In an early article written with Sergeant Stansfield,19 Sherif emphasised the importance of the ego-involvement of the individual with the media or communications which are trying to influence him.