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The interplay between the media as a form of social control and its potential to offer opportunities for resistance

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DOI: 10.25236/assah.2019.001


Mingrui Li

Corresponding Author

Mingrui Li


In the dominant cultural system, media play an essential role of social control over people. Drawing Adorno and Horkheimer's theory and Stuart Hall’s encoding/decoding theory, this article mainly discuss media’s social control function in the cultural industry, its identity-forming effect and chances of resistance it might offer to the public. According to Adorno and Horkheimer, symbolic creativity might offer a different coping method when people feel lack of choice in the dominant cultural system. While Hall’s encoding/decoding theory tells us that the influence of social control might not be so strong as we thought.


Social control; resistance; popular culture; cultural studies