How does the American entertainment industry work and why does it work that way? Why are media conglomerates getting bigger and bigger? What is the “superstar effect” and how does it help explain the marketplace for acting and musical talent?
You’ll find the answers in Sociology of Mass Communication (feed, website), a course taught by UCLA sociologist Gabriel Rossman. The syllabus has links to many of the assigned readings, which are available for free on the web.
Rossman has an entertaining, conversational style and peppers his lectures with lots of examples. Be sure to check out the April 21 lecture in which he explains Hotelling’s Model, a theory which predicts a paradox: that media monopolies can actually end up creating more variety and more choices for consumers than independent competing media outlets.