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Personal Influence-Part

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how do people make up their minds? how do we decide what to buy? What movies to watch? What politicians to vote for? do we rely on messages from the media or do we turn to family and friends these were questions explored by a group of Americans sociologists in the mid-nineteen forties when they examined the consumer choices of eight hundred midwestern women their work would result in one of the most influential mass communication books of the twentieth century this book was personal influence and it almost didn't happen at all History of Personal Influence personal influence came out in a climate where people were reading books with titles like The hidden persuaders. There was an anxiety in fifties America about advertisers media pulling one over on us the isolation of people and suburban America wondering if America could resist that kind of propaganda that had brought nazi germany for instance into existence and so in that context personal influence comes out and it tells us that actually the people around us our friends and neighbors are more influential then the mass media we had networks we had flows of influence we had opinion leaders so the book brings together the three interesting personalities of Mils and Lazarsfeld and the graduate student Katz Paul Lazarsfeld He came here on a one-year fellowship in nineteen fifty three and then there was the the civil war in Viena in Austria and social democrats lost so it's at that point that he decided to stay here but the bureau was full of German refugees or Austrian refugees Paul took them all in and Paul looked after these orphans in the storm and you couldn't argue with that Lazarsfeld as you heard was and someone is not a good lecturer he didn't prepare basically he would come and talk about what was on his mind at the moment while was Lazarsfeld as a teacher he had a theory of methodology which he announced what is this thing metodology we have the classes and all these things to talk about methodology all it is is very simple - don't cheat That is metodology Wright Mills Wright Mills I knew when I was that Wisconsin he was a graduate student then and on big blow of wind from Texas and arogant and pompous and pontificating and ready to take on the world the first day of class this man straids in wearing his boots of course and some lumber jacket kind of shirt he had just published white collar and the dust jacket of the back dust jacket of white-collar is the big picture of Wright Mills he comes into class and says but of course the picture facing the class for the first time in this class has a textbook Mills was portrayed as anti-buro, anti-methodology anti-empiricism grand theory - nothing could be further from the truth born in waco Texas in nineteen sixteen Wright Mills was a bundle of contradictions on the one hand a brash academic renegate on the other a vigorous thoughtful scholar who emerged as a leading American intellectual in the nineteen fifties in nineteen forty four he was a rising star in America sociology and being courted by columbia university to take the lead and a new study about decision making so he had been establishing something over reputation at the same kind as Paul Lazarsfeld had been working on his own methodology opinion measurement so right around the end of nineteen forty four Robert Martin contacted Mills with of suggestion of coming to the buro of aplied social research research which is still being established of columbia and taking charge of the field study indicator Illionois so the buro of applied social research 1944 when they start this study getting funding from all over the place one of the funny or interesting things about it is that it was funded by true stories magazine which have been started by this guy Gerhar McFed who was a health food and the body builder inspirational speaker in the began this magazine in the twenties that was appeal to working class women and was kind of a confession and romance magazine so Paul Lazarsfeld being the enterpreneur the he was managed to get a grant from for stories and McFed publications to fund the Decatur study which turned out to be Personal influence now a classic American opinion research the Decatur study was the brainchild of Paul Lazarsfeld a European social scientist who was fascinated by how people make choices so that Lazarsfeld earliest interest was in decision making it got translated when he came to the united states he had studied¨ decision making and Korea choice but when he came to the united states the big decision making study that he got into after its early studies of radio was on the role of the mass media in decision making in choosing of making a decision in a presidential campaign Lazarsfeld and his colleague Robert Martin both professors of sociology at columbia we're determined to bring Wright Mills into Decadeur project so the collaboration was set by end of the January 1945. Mills was in charge of the opinion study that Lazarsfeld had designed and was very excited letters vere bursting with exuberant exclamations about the nice break givven to a young kid his age who had done nothing he had these great moments of false modesty I didn't run into him again until I was at columbia and %uh he came and he was this a new star. He was just going to land like Tim because he he was this sort of indiginous american radical from Texas yeah? and then and everybody liked him except I didn't like him but he has an enormous energy mills brought his enthusiasm to Decatur project project organizing an ambitious study that interviewed eight hundred women about their every day choices most of the interviewers were women a number of them were from women from decatur others vere the women from the buro of social research from Columbia so it's an interesting moment in social history because it's women talking with women in finding out how they make up their minds about marketing about passion about movie-going about political affair

Video Details

Duration: 8 minutes and 21 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Views: 342
Posted by: on Nov 19, 2010

"The Long Road to Decatur: A History of Personal Influence" is an award-winning documentary that examines the 10-year history of the "Decatur Project" and the research it produced. This video draws from oral history interviews and archival materials to tell a compelling story about the rise of the limited effects model in mass communication theory. (Glenda Balas, Writer/Producer; Jason Balas, Videographer/Editor; Peter Simonson, Exec. Prod.)--Part 1

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