A Myth and Media Management: The Facade Rhetoric and Business Objectives

A Myth and Media Management: The Facade Rhetoric and Business Objectives

Jan Kreft (Jagiellonian University, Poland)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9100-9.ch006
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Considering various perspectives and interpretations, a myth has been present in the operation of numerous organizations. Management and entrepreneurship undergo the process of mythologization as well as organizations, with their foundation myths and mythological heroes. Myths refer to the results of the operations run by organizations and their capabilities – such questions have been considered in expert literature on management. The problem of myths has been scarcely researched in the studies on operations performed by media organizations. In media environment, the myth has been following traditional media in their capabilities which refer to their functioning as the Fourth Estate. In the time of digital media, convergence of media, IT, and telecommunication sectors, all the “new media” have been mythologized. Myths have been accompanying the activities of particular organizations and their heroes – leaders; the potential of media organizations has also been mythologized in the context of solving social problems as well as in the context of achieving business objectives.
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Myths. Scientific interpretation has them as tales referring to the experience of a downturn, passing, rituals and extremities. In a very commonly experienced version, they are fantastical tales of unknown sources, which can be traced in various folklore stories. According to a definition assumed in the chapter, myths are tales which have been detached from their context, and they have become unrelated to “the roots of their epoch” which are of universal nature (Kostera, 2008a). These are stories which refer to extremities (things we have not experienced, a parallel reality, desired behaviour and shared values) (Armstrong, 2004). Myths are characterised by objective falsehood and a subjective belief about their genuineness, and they depend on changing demand for their existence.

Myths justify social structures and the place of individuals in such structures. We use myths to assign some meaning to various aspects of human life (Magala, 2009); they do not explain but they assign meaning, they describe various stages of human life assigning different responsibilities to them. As Joseph Campbell states, the social function of myths becomes the superior one: it provides coherent, usually unambiguous explanations to various dimensions of human existence, explanations to various events and – in a broader sense – to human fate through placing them into a framework, following a conviction that there are not any people who do not respond to myths (Campbell, 1970).

In myths, the recognition of the content, which is contradictory to the knowledge about the world, is achieved by the reference to supernatural phenomena which do not follow any rules of logical interpretation. Myths resort to such tools as symbols and metaphors which come as a bridge between things we are familiar with and we can experience and things which remain unknown. In that sense, myths make it easier for us to know reality, and they are effective because they allow us to adapt in a better way to our surrounding environment. Still, the role of myths is best presented in a metaphorical way. As Joseph Campbell describes it in his interview with Bill Moyers, mythology is a song of the Universe, music of the spheres to which we dance, even without knowing the melody (Campbell, Moyers, 2011). We can hear some distant refrains of a mumbo-jumbo shaman, a healer from Congo, we read translated sonnets by Lao-Tsu, we struggle with a hard nut to crack in Tomas Aquinas’ argumentation, or suddenly we understand the meaning of some outlandish Eskimo tale. This huge cacophonic chorus starts its song in some primordial times in which animals used to be hunted as they sacrificed themselves in a great cycle of life and death. Primeval communities used to learn from myths that the essence of life is to kill and to eat - a great mystery that myths needed to face. Hunting became sacrificing animals; hunters performed propitiation acts to beg the spirits of killed animals, who were now the messengers from the other world, for more sacrifices on their part. According to the interpretation provided by Campbell, such perfect agreement between hunters and hunted animals remains in a mystic, timeless cycle of death, funeral and resurrection; their art and oral tradition once sent an impulse to which we now refer to as religion.

Considering similarities in the structure of various mythical narrations which are emphasized by Joseph Campbell (2008), myths may induce similar effects in their receivers as they contain universal interpretations referring to the functioning of the world. Thought-provoking, such a concept has already had various interpretations, starting from assigning some regions with greater myth-creating capabilities.

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