The Effects Debate


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A useful discussion point for discussing The Effects Debate based on the seminal text by Petely & Barker

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The Effects Debate

  1. 1. The Effects Debate ill Effects By Martin Barker & Julian Petley
  2. 2. The anti anti-effects campaign <ul><li>Petley & Barker begin the 2 nd Edition of their now seminal book by claiming: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ We have to show the ill effects of the campaigns run by the ‘effects’ campaigners…The complications that come with real knowledge don’t fit banner headlines, therefore tend to get ignored.’ </li></ul>
  3. 3. Schlesinger et al Women Viewing Violence (1992) <ul><li>Interviewed women across a wide range of class, age and ethnic groups. </li></ul><ul><li>Part of the findings was that for many women there is an important distinction between something disturbing and nonetheless wanting it to be shown. </li></ul><ul><li>Only in a few cases such as The Accused (rape scene) did strong feelings lead to a call for censorship. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Schlesinger Quote… <ul><li>‘ The issue is not whether depictions or violence increase the likelihood of similar violence among potential perpetrators, but the feelings and reactions that it creates among those who are the actual or potential victims of violence . Are women likely to feel more vulnerable, less safe or less valued members of our society if, as a a category, they are with some frequency depicted as those who are subjected to abuse? If so, the portrayal of violence against women may be seen as negative, even if women viewers have never experienced such violence and/or its likelihood is not increased.’ (1992) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Schlesinger studies men…(1998) <ul><li>Study of 88 men aged between 18 and 75 </li></ul><ul><li>The men studied East Enders , Trip Trap (TV drama addressing issues of sexual violence), a documentary about street fighting and two Hollywood box-office successes. ( Basic Instinct & Under Siege ) </li></ul><ul><li>The men suggested that a line was drawn between realistic violence-which could make you stop and think- and unrealistic violence such as the two Hollywood films. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Defining Violence (1999) by David Morrison <ul><li>The research was commissioned by all the major broadcasters and carried out by Leeds University…set out to discover the ‘subjective meaning of violence.’ </li></ul><ul><li>The subjects of the study were shown a wide variety of material and in a significant methodological move, were given the chance during discussions to re-edit the footage as a means of clarifying what they meant by the term ‘violence.’ </li></ul>
  7. 7. 3 types of violence as defined by Morrison’s research: <ul><li>Playful violence : Acted violence…seen as unreal, little significance beyond its entertainment value. </li></ul><ul><li>Depicted Violence : Characterised by ‘realism’ and may assault the sensibilities. </li></ul><ul><li>Authentic violence : Violence depicted in a world that the viewer can recognise such as domestic violence…closer to the life of the viewer with potential to be very graphic. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Morrison <ul><li>The research found that behaviour which is judged to be appropriate , fair and justified -even when overtly violent- is not usually seen to be serious or ‘really violent.’ e.g. Nobody is bothered when a ruthless villain is punished at the end of a Hollywood film. </li></ul><ul><li>Petley & Barker therefore suggest that in order to understand violence, you have to understand the moral codes that different audiences bring to bear as they watch. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Positive Pleasures… <ul><li>What about those who enjoy material which is condemned by the moral campaigners as ‘corrupt?’ </li></ul><ul><li>Annette Hill (1997) pointed out that many viewers had a conscious awareness that violent movies test viewers in various ways and that anticipation & preparation are essential aspects of enjoyment in viewing violent films. Also, viewers built relationships with certain screen characters whilst establishing a safe distance from others </li></ul>
  10. 10. John Fiske & Robert Dawson -1996) <ul><li>Studied some homeless American men and their attitudes to film texts. </li></ul><ul><li>These men took pleasure from anti-establishment violence and read the text in ‘opposition,’ cheering moments that most viewers would have felt to be the senseless destruction of life. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Children & The Media <ul><li>Hodge & Tripp (1986) studied Australian children and their response to a mock-horror cartoon called Fangface. They explored how children make sense of characters, (good & evil) action and narrative. </li></ul><ul><li>The two showed that a series of changes take place as children grow up as they learn to ‘manage’ the distinction between fantasy and reality . Story forms/cartoons arte a way of testing out their judgements/models of the world. </li></ul>
  12. 12. David Buckingham (1996) <ul><li>‘ Children respond to and make sense of television in the light of what they know about its formal codes and conventions, about genre and narrative and about the production process. In these respects they are much more active and sophisticated users of the medium than they are often assumed to be.’ </li></ul><ul><li>Parents were more concerned that their children might be frightened or traumatised by violence on television than they might be to imitate it. This is a key point which needs further research! </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Negative responses are most common in children but rarely severe or long lasting. </li></ul><ul><li>He also suggested that although children became habituated to violence, it did not desensitise their perceptions of real-life violence, whether mediated by TV or not. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Darnell Hunt (1997) <ul><li>Studied the TV coverage of the 1992 LA riots, after the Rodney King incident. </li></ul><ul><li>Hunt argued that people responded to the coverage in light of ‘ raced subjectivity ,’ in short the ethnic groups that they felt they belonged to. </li></ul><ul><li>White viewers watched the footage quietly whilst black & Latinos became animated when watching the footage . Yet Latinos sided with white viewers to condemn the looting and fires. </li></ul><ul><li>Hunt argues that everyone responded through their sense of the racial community. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Steven Poole (2000) Trigger Happy <ul><li>Points to the importance of logics in games. </li></ul><ul><li>Studied the beat-’em-ups genre and suggested that once committed, the gamer must then make sure that they know the rules . Far from being uncontrolled mayhem, it is necessarily constrained. </li></ul><ul><li>Also pointed out that many games play upon fantasy/science-fiction conventions and that much of the pleasure gained is based on this foreknowledge . </li></ul>
  15. 15. Barker & Petley (Conclusion) <ul><li>The Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado evoked the usual suspects. Rock music because the two boys seemed to enjoy it- the fact that opera was being played by one of them at full volume before the shooting raised no objections. </li></ul><ul><li>The news media blame such events as Columbine on the ‘effects’ of films, music, video games and internet , it is the news media themselves which have really had the marked and measurable influence. (e.g. The Fox network) </li></ul>