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1. A process in which a relatively homogeneous social collectivity (or one conceptualized as such) is broken down into (or reconceptualized in terms of) smaller, more diverse elements.

2. The decline of mass culture and mass society (also associated with audience fragmentation) as consumers have gained more choice of media content since the advent of satellite broadcasting and the web: see also mass consumption; narrowcasting; target audience.

3. (advertising) A basic format, appeal, or discourse since the mid 1980s, cast in terms of self-distinction and uniqueness in a massified world (see also advertising formats). Its themes include authenticity, creativity, play, reflexivity, and diversity. Products are offered as a way of standing out from the crowd or as props for self-construction.

Subjects: Media Studies.

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