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Manufacturing visions of society and history in textbooks

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Interviews with personnel involved in designing secondary‐school social‐science textbooks, and the findings of previous research in the sociology of work in mass media organizations, reveal three, often complementary, domains of control that influence textbook visual content: (a) industrial ‐ the meaning, relevance, and historical or social significance of an image directed through captioning and accuracy guidelines; (b) commercial ‐ marketing pressures that make aesthetic appeal of great importance to the textbook's production success; and social ‐ interest groups that influence the visual components of the textbook, but because of space limitations the game is zero‐sum. This study finds that, in all, the textbook vision of society is homogenized and sanitized to reduce the risk of controversy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Manship School of Mass Communication, Louisiana State University, USA

Publication date: September 1, 1997

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