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Concept of Media System in the Contemporary Mass Communication Theory

Научные исследования: 

For citation: Gavra D.P., Naumenko X.A. (2020) Koncept «mediasistema» v sovremennoj teorii massovyh kommunikacij [Concept of Media System in the Contemporary Mass Communication Theory]. Mediaskop 1. Available at:

DOI: 10.30547/mediascope.1.2020.5


@ Dmitrij P. Gavra

Doctor of Sociology, Professor, Head of the Chair of Public Relations in Business at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Saint Petersburg State University (Saint Petersburg, Russia),


@ Xenia A. Naumenko

PhD student at the Chair of Public Relations in Business at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Saint Petersburg State University (Saint Petersburg, Russia),



The article offers conceptual approaches to the interpretation of the “media system” concept in relation to the emerging network society. A critical analysis of approaches to understanding media systems in the modern theory of mass communications is carried out, methodological problems in the use of this term are identified. The authors propose to overcome the contradictions in the theoretical operationalization of the media system concept by introducing its dualistic interpretation suggesting two paradigmatic dimensions - substantial and societal.

In the substantial paradigm, it is proposed to consider the media system as a set of media actors with similar functionality, playing according to general rules within the range of these rules. In this paradigm, the media system is always tied to a specific territory (region, state) or organization, and its functioning is determined by a set of legal and normative regulators.

The second paradigm line, called societal, involves the consideration of the media system as a special social subsystem that interacts with other social subsystems, primarily political and economic. In the framework of this tradition the media system is understood as a complex of media institutions and media actors, their relations with other institutions and the audience, regulatory norms and values, which together ensure the realization of a necessary need for socially significant information.

The article also addresses the issue of system characteristics of the phenomenon under consideration.

Keywords: media system, mass communication, media theory, comparative media research, ontology of media systems.



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