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Lerner, Daniel

Hemant Shah


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Daniel Lerner (1917–1980) was the author of The passing of traditional society: Modernizing the Middle East (1958), a study of Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey that provided the first comprehensive statement of the role of mass communication in the process of modernization for postcolonial countries (→  Egypt: Media System ; Iran: Media System ; Postcolonial Theory ). The general theory posited a model of societal transformation for poor countries made possible by embracing western manufacturing technology, political structures, values, and systems of mass communication. In Lerner's model, increasing urbanization led to the growth of mass media (as people demanded news and information) and literacy (as more and more schools were built), which in turn resulted in greater public participation in economic activity and politics. Lerner maintained that mass communication was the key factor in helping traditional societies to become modern (→  Media Effects ; Modernization ). Lerner theorized that radio, television, magazines, and newspapers were important catalysts of the modernization process (→  Development Communication ; Development Communication: Middle East ; Radio for Development ; Television for Development ). The mass media provided information about the modern west and vicarious experiences of modern lifestyles to audiences in the postcolonial world. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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