Television and its Viewers: Cultivation Theory and Research by James Shanahan

By James Shanahan

How does tv effect humans? ''Cultivation'' study examines the connection among how a lot tv humans watch and what they suspect: avid audience' ideals are very diversified from these of occasional audience. James Shanahan and Michael Morgan, major students during this box, discover the diversities in audience' ideals on concerns corresponding to violence, intercourse roles and political attitudes. Their compelling account, the 1st book-length research of this significant and debatable sector, can be of curiosity to scholars and students in conversation, sociology, political technological know-how and psychology.

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Extra resources for Television and its Viewers: Cultivation Theory and Research

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Note that we do not say that audiences are “persuaded” by social elites. That would imply an active and intentional program of persuasion, along with a passive and defenseless reaction by audiences. What we suggest here is merely that audiences frequently “get” messages from message systems that have been structured to reflect the interests of social elites. Any “absorption” of meaning from that process is different than straight persuasion. Cultivation assumes that massive attention to television results in a slow, steady and cumulative internalization of aspects of those messages, especially the aspects with ideological import.

The critic, however, is confusing cultivation with causality. Indeed, of the three possible choices considered here, the first one – that television somehow “causes” fear – is actually the least compelling or plausible. So, although the critic is correct in rejecting that first causal interpretation, that interpretation is not the assumption of cultivation analysis in the first place. This can be seen in numerous early works of Gerbner and the Cultural Indicators (CI) school where strict, mechanistic, causal interpretations were clearly avoided.

But even if we feel confident about concluding that age is the causal engine here, we don’t know if the older people in the sample were Demoblicans when they were younger and changed their political allegiance over the years (which implies that the current younger people will also switch to the Republicrat side as they age, an inference which chalks up the observed difference to maturation), or if these older people always tended to be Republicrats, even when they were younger (which attributes the observed association to a historical or cohort effect).

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