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Media as the great emancipators?

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Subtitle:Exploring relations between media repertoires and cultural participation in Flanders
Media convergence has afforded users an increasing amount of options regarding the media they consume, available at the click of a button. This has led some to clamor about the potential for media to bridge previously existing inequalities and decrease social stratification not just in media use, but in other realms of society as well. Skeptics have argued that while the convergence of media has given users more options in their own media repertoire, social stratification persists. Moreover, if media do increase a user’s possibilities to participate in other realms of society, the persisting stratification of media use risks enacting a Matthew effect whereby the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Using data from the Flemish participation survey, this article seeks to contribute to this discussion by exploring Flemish media use by constructing media repertoires using latent class analysis and exploring their sociodemographic profiles. Following this analysis, we compare the cultural participation patterns of the six Flemish media repertoires using negative binomial regression analysis. We find that social stratification of media use persists in Flanders, with broad and ‘highbrow’ repertoires predominantly restricted to higher status groups. Moreover, we find a structural homology between the structure of media repertoires and cultural participation, whereby broad repertoires exhibit a similar openness to cultural practices, and repertoires tailored to highbrow media exhibit a similar preference for highbrow cultural activities. As a result, we find that social stratification persists in media use and cultural participation but argues that media repertoires offer a potential entrypoint.
Journal: Convergence: the International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies
ISSN: 1354-8565
Volume: 2021
Pages: 1-23
Number of pages: 23
Publication year:2021
Keywords:Bourdieu, convergence, crossmedia, cultural participation, Flanders, media repertoire, media use, negative binomial regression, omnivore, participation