George Gerbner et al.The“Mainstreaming”of America:Violence ProfileNo. 11
1. Television isessentially andfundamentallydifferent fromother media forms
2. Televisionas a medium isthe ‚centralcultural arm‛
3. ‚the substance of theconsciousness cultivatedby TV is not so muchspecific attitudes andopinions as more basicassumptions about the‘facts’ of life andstandards of judgment onwhich conclusions arebased."
4. Television’s majorcultural function isto stabilize socialpatterns, tocultivate resistanceto change
5. The observable,measurable,independentcontributions oftelevision to theculture arerelatively small
In a given week, what arethe chances that youwill be involved in somekind of violence?• About 1 in 10 or• About 1 in 100?
Of all the crimes in theUnited States, whatproportion is violentcrime like murder, rape,robbery, and assault?Would you guess15 or 25 percent?
FACT:In the actual world, onlyabout 1 in 200 violentcrimes occur amongAmericans. The StatisticalAbstract of the UnitedStates reported that, only10 percent of all crime inthe country is violentcrime
To scientificallydemonstrate their view ontelevision as a culturallyinfluential medium,Cultivation researchersdepended on a four-stepprocess
1.Message System Analysis - In cultivation analysis, detailed content analyses of television programming to assess recurring and consistent presentations of images, themes, values and portrayals
Mean World Index – Incultivation analysis,a series of questionsabout the incidence ofcrime and violence,the answers to whichcan be used todifferentiate heavyand light viewers
Mean World Index1.Do you believe that most people are just looking out for themselves?2.Do you think that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people?3.Do you think that most people would take advantage of you if they got a chance?
In the Mean WorldIndex, Respondents weredivided into categoriesof educationalattainment and race
First aspect ofMainstreaming (MeanWorld Index)There is a significantrelationship betweenhighly educatedrespondents and theamount of viewing…
Mean World Index expressing ‚Mistrust‛403530252015 Heavy Viewers10 Light Viewers 5 0 Those with Those less College educated/ Low degree/ High Income Income Education Subgroups
Gerbner and hiscolleagues found outthat light and heavyviewers give differingresponses and the amountof television consumederase individualdistinctions like incomeand education
Second aspect ofMainstreaming (MeanWorld Index)Mainstreaming introduces directexperience as a moderatingfactor in the cultivationeffect. Those with less directexperience with crime should bemore affected by televisionviewing than those who have moredirect experience with crime
Mean World Index expressing ‚Mistrust‛504540353025 Heavy Viewers20 Light Viewers1510 5 0 White Non White Race
Those who are mostlikely to hold a viewmore extreme than the TVview is ‚coaxed back‛ tothe mainstream position
The Gerbner team made use of thefive questions from the 1979 ORCsurvey to form a Perceptions ofDanger Index – I.1. The percentage of respondents overestimating their chances of being involved in violence2. Percentage agreeing that women are more likely to be victims of crime
3. Percentage saying thattheir neighbor hoods areonly somewhat safe or notsafe at all4. Percentage saying thatfear of crime is a veryserious problem5. Percentage agreeingthat crime is rising
Danger Index-I50403020 Light10 Heavy0 Male City Female Suburb
•The strongest positiveassociations between televisionviewing and fear of crime wereamong those who live in highcrime centers.•For those urban dwellers wholive in high crimecenters, television’s violentimagery may be most congruentwith their real lifeperceptions.
•Resonance predicts an interaction between television viewing and life experience that is essentially opposite to that of mainstreaming.
• Resonance suggests that those people whose life experiences are more congruent with the experiences of television world will be most affected by the television message, rather than least affected as mainstreaming predicts
Relationship between amount of viewingand percent of respondents saying that‚Fear of Crime is a very seriouspersonal problem‛50403020 Light10 Heavy 0 Medium Male Female Suburb Low White Non-white City High Income Race Sex Residence Mainstreaming Resonance
•Although cultivation is ageneral outcome oftelevision viewing, it isnot a universalphenomenon, despite themainstreaming effect.• Your interaction withothers affects yourtendency to accept TVreality
Final Note on CultivationGerbner’s 3 Bs of Television1.Blurs traditional distinctions of people’s views of their world2.Blends their realities into television’s cultural mainstream3.Bends that mainstream to the institutional interests of television and its sponsors
SOURCES:•Hanson, Jarice and David J. Maxcy, eds. (1996).Sources: Notable Selections in Mass Media.Guilford, Conn.: Dushkin Publishing Group.• Baran, J. S. & Davis, K. D. (2003). Masscommunication theory: foundations, ferment, andfuture. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.•Littlejohn, Stephen (2008). Theories of HumanCommunication. California: Wadsworth Group.•Bischack, Valerie and Shrum, L.J. (2001).Mainstreaming, Resonance and Impersonal Impact:Testing Moderators of the Cultivation Effectfor estimates of crime risk. (pdf file)•McQuail, Dennis. (2000). Mass CommunicationTheory. London, Sage Publication.