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Year Degree Awarded
Culture is, among other things, a collection of ideas and images, symbols and rituals —a lens through which we interpret and seek to understand our world. In twentieth century America our culture has been shaped to a large, if immeasurable, degree by the institutions of mass advertising. While the operations of these institutions have clearly been motivated by economic drives, their cultural form has been shaped by widely shared social values. The chain of causation does not simply end at this point, however, for those images and values so greatly amplified by mass advertising in turn influence popular attitudes, beliefs and actions. Indeed, C. Wright Mills affirmed that people "are strongly predisposed to see, hear and read what they have been trained to see, hear and read. Yet we cannot overlook the social bases of their fascinated receptivity."^" Advertising thus serves as a powerful reinforcement of some, but by no means all, of the nation's social imagery.