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THE “MAINSTREAMING” OF AMERICA: VIOLENCE PROFILE NO. 11 Gerbner Introduction - New findings of the cultural indicators research project: o Support earlier results o Lead to elaboration of the concepts of mainstreaming and resonance - Television contributes to viewers’ conceptions of reality - Contributions relate both to: o The synthetic world television presents o Viewers’ real life circumstances - Mainstreaming: the dynamics of the cultivation of general concepts of social reality - Resonance: the amplification of issues particularly salient to certain groups of viewers - Message system analysis o The annual monitoring of samples of prime time and weekend daytime network dramatic programming - Cultivation analysis o The investigation of viewer conceptions of social reality associated with the most recurrent features of the world television Violence Index - Violence: the overt expression of physical force compelling action against one’s will on pain of being hurt and/or killed or threatened to be so victimized as part of the plot - The following are not coded as violence: o Idle threats, verbal abuse, gestures without credible violent consequences - The following should be coded as violence: o Comic, fantasy, accidental violence - Violence index combines three sets of observations: o Measure the extent to which violence occurs at all in the programs sampled o The frequency and rate of violent episodes o The number of roles calling for characterization as violent, victims, or both - Index meets the critical statistical and empirical requirements of an index: o Undimensionality o Internal homogeneity - Frequency and patterns of victimization in the world of dramatic tv are remarkably stable from year to year - Overall, percent of characters involved in violence has remained steady since 1969 - Victimized characters: o Females more than males o If male character, ten year old boys
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o Minority roles (female) o Only two groups of characters are more likely to hurt others than to be hurt themselves: old men and bad women Theory of cultivation - Television is the central and most pervasive mass medium in American culture - Plays a distinctive and historically unprecedented role - Individual is virtually introduced at birth to television and its powerful flow of messages and images - Television dominates the symbolic environment of modern life - Cultivation analysis: the investigation o the consequences of the ongoing and pervasive system of messages - Amount of exposure to television is an important indicator of the strength of its contributions to ways of thinking and acting - Heavy viewers: o Television monopolizes and includes other sources of information, ideas, consciousness o Thus, the more time one spends “living” in the world of television, the more likely one is to: Report perceptions of social reality which can be traced to television’s most persistent representations of life and society o Heavy viewers more likely to give “television answers” to a series of
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This note was uploaded on 03/17/2009 for the course COMM 3210 taught by Professor Craig during the Fall '08 term at Colorado.

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