Some aspects of the presentation of industrial relations and race relations in some major British news media
Firstly, the social functions of mass media are analysed, with critical assessment of some significant sociological and psychological literature on mass communication and related topics. It is concluded they operate principally to maintain definitional social categories in the context of change and to sustain a given level of public discussion. Secondly, leading theories of race relations and industrial relations are analysed critically; it is concluded that different theoretical approaches, typically applying to different levels of analysis, tend to be mutually contributive, not exclusive. Both sets of relationships are then briefly compared and contrasted. The nature of racial and industrial conflict in contemporary Britain is then surveyed, with reference to dominant perceptions of the situation and the objective character of these conflicts. Next, content analysis as a research technique is discussed, and the precise methods employed in this study axe described. Selected television and press coverage of the 1970 docks strike is then analysed, with a particular focus on levels of explanation, the degree of public participation in discussion, and the definitions provided of the situation. Certain related data are appended. The same task is subsequently performed in relation to immigration, domestic race relations, the sale of arms to South Africa, and some other topics. Certain related data are appended. Finally, these data are placed in their sociological context in Britain, by integrating them with an analysis of the social construction of consensus in that society. After discussion of certain theories interrelating culture and social divisions, together with analysis of certain institutions bearing on the construction of consensus, the particular role of the British news media, and the special functions of British ideologies of nationalism and objectivity, are surveyed. Conclusions for the relation between consensus and conflict in modern Britain are then stated.