Introduction has ignored what is of most value to


The Birmingham school of thought came about in the 1960s
majorly in response to the social movements that sprung up at the time. The
primary focus of the school of thought was on the issues of gender, ethnicity,
political ideology, race and how these were represented in the media and as
well in cultural texts (Juacalla, 2014). The school of thought is credited with
pioneering in the study of the impact of radio, television, movies and
newspapers on the audience. The focus of the study was also on the diverse ways
in which individuals interpreted the media messages and the different reactions
that were aroused in the audience. The school of thought has been noted to have
several limitations nonetheless and these are discussed in the paper.

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Focus on Politics

A key criticism that
has been leveled on the Birmingham school of thought is the fact that it has
been viewed as being very political and also focused on issues of resistance
movements, oppositional reactions among the working classes and even among the
youth (Juacalla, 2014). The school of thought is seen as being focused on
issues of social change among the various subcultures within the society such
as among the youth and the working class as well. The study was focused on how
some sections of the society would resist the dominant cultural forms in terms
of dress or otherwise and instead attempt to come up with their own unique
identities. This, according to the theory then sees several subcultures created
within the society that have identities that do not conform to the mainstream
standards. The theory is therefore highly focused on distinctions between what
is considered the dominant point of view and the oppositional reactions that
may arise.

Populist in nature

The Birmingham school of thought has been focused largely on
the media culture products and the mainstream or what is popular within the
society. This is a significant limitation of the study given that it has
ignored the several developments that have occurred leading up to the
contemporary media culture as it is today. In this way, the theory has ignored
what is of most value to people, otherwise referred to as high culture in favor
of what is popular regardless of whether the same is of value within the
culture or not. More important, it disconnects cultural studies from attempts
to develop oppositional forms of culture of the sort associated with the modern
theories such as those focused on expressionism for instance.

Emphasis on the Audience

A significant shortcoming of this theory is that it is highly
concentrated on the audience in terms of their reception of messages and other
subsequent reactions. This has led to the theory being criticized as creating a
sort of fetishism
of the audience in which the audience is left to determine the meanings of
various cultural texts they receive. This in effect means the audiences are not
allowed to think outside of what they receive from the media and solely focus
on the same, denying them an opportunity to critique media messages (Juacalla,


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