Children Talking Television: The Making of Television Literacy

Children Talking Television: The Making of Television Literacy

Children Talking Television: The Making of Television Literacy

Children Talking Television: The Making of Television Literacy

Synopsis

Is television harmful to children? Does it destroy imagination, provode delinquency and violence, undermine family life and have other detrimental effects on children?; The author, himself a parent, teacher and researcher investigates the complex ways in which children actively make meaning and take pleasure from television. Chapters cover the popular debates about children and television from a general and academic perspective. The characteristics of children's talk about television are explored, as children interact with other children and other family members in "family viewing" sessions.; Key concepts which inform children's talk about television are investigated i. e. genre, narrative, character, modality, and agency. Finally, conclusions are presented and issues outlined for further research.; Drawing on theories and ideas developed within media and cultural studies, English, education, psychology, sociology, linguistics and other related areas, this book will be useful to both students and teachers in the field, and to the general reader with an interest in children and the media.

Excerpt

Following World War II, the proliferation of television set out new material possibilities for the construction of discourses, texts, and indeed, social and economic 'reality'. Within a decade of its introduction as an affordable household appliance and the establishment of national broadcast networks, television had become the mainstay of leisure activity and mass pedagogy in Western countries. In these same countries, the multi-set household is now typical, where children, the elderly, and parents constitute multiple, and often competing, interpretive communities within the same home. The unprecedented economic and population expansion of the 1950s and 1960s also marked the building of Western technocratic societies-characterized and driven by military/industrial/corporate complexes, mass consumer culture, emergent youth markets and, ultimately, new forms of social identities and relations. Given this historical backdrop, it is hardly surprising that TV had become the target for what David Buckingham aptly describes as postmodern 'moral panic'.

Blaming the technology is itself mass spectator sport, with TV cited as a cause of virtually every social ill from drug culture, sexual violence, government dishonesty, budget deficits, the breakup of the family, and, of course, the decline of print literacy. This rhetoric offers simple explanations and equally simple answers. By focusing blame on an inanimate technology, it provides a convenient way of avoiding coming to grips with complex and competing interests at work in cultures where signs and symbols have become principal modes of value and exchange, and where economies are dominated by diversified media corporations. But communications technologies-alphabetic writing, print, radio, cinema, computers-have no intrinsic or inevitable social and cognitive consequences. While they enable and encourage particular kinds and relations of knowledge and power, they cannot be taken as simple causes or solutions for social phenomena. To assess the consequences of any communications technology and its attendant literacies requires that we look closely at its uses and practices in specific locales and communities, a task here undertaken by David Buckingham.

Even though mass media have been a focus of educational policy and curriculum since the 1960s, most school administrators, teachers and teacher educators still consider the transmission of print culture as their prime directive. As Pierre Bourdieu has pointed out (1977), in schools one never simply learns 'language' and 'literacy', but, more importantly, one learns a 'disposition' towards language

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.