Academic journal article Journal of Research in Gender Studies

Looking at Medusa: Television as a Modern Era's Visual Power Tool and Its Role on the Children's Socialization

Academic journal article Journal of Research in Gender Studies

Looking at Medusa: Television as a Modern Era's Visual Power Tool and Its Role on the Children's Socialization

Article excerpt


"Don't look into the eye of the monster / Or else you will be turned into stone!"1 the Goddess Athena says to Perseus (in ancient Greek mythology, the hero who kills Medusa), if he did not listen to Athena, he would be turned into stone. The historical origin of the phrase "to be turned into stone," which is still used nowadays, is based on ancient Greek mythology. Television which is one of the legitimizing mechanisms of government in modem era, affects televiewers of all ages (especially the children), this could be compared to the mythological heroes who are turned into stone when looking at Medusa.

At the point of addressing to the large masses, television is a bit more different from all the others since television is both a mass communication tool and builds a modem era's visual culture. But a picture, a sculpture and a photograph only represent a moment or a situation. Undoubtedly, each real artwork represents a story, but what is more important is how to attribute a meaning to this artwork phenomenologically. This is an acceptable reason to differentiate television from other items building visual culture. In one sense, although other visual - audial tools generally live on history and social realities, they ultimately picturize the current moment. The most important thing is television can build the government of modem era in the context of visual culture in a social way.

As television both reaches lots of people and visualizes the reality by fictionalizing it for the specific aims, it has lots of effects on people's perceptions. Because television is a source of amusement, an industry, a technological tool, a culture, a production, it is also a mechanism of political and social power with its own propagandist structure. In this context, this study deals with television's functions in the process of the child' socialization by using historical background and qualitative analysis method.

1. On Individual and Socialization

Human baby necessarily requires care. For babies of cervidae family, the period of standing up and of being on one's own is quite short. For instance, fawns which belong to this family, stand up in the first twenty minutes after birth. Human babies are also dependent on their mothers for a long time. When we take learning period for society into consideration, they go through a long process of socialization. Until the final half of the 20th century, the most significant subject was mother for human baby's socialization. But television replaced mother dating from the invention of television.

First of all, the concept of socialization occurs in a society. As a member of society, an individual takes over one's roles in society, adopts dominant norms in society and confirms them as well. However, this process is not realized in society which seems to be concrete at first and is an abstract concept in fact, it is made by factors such as family, school, management units, organizations, peer, friend and neighbor groups, etc. which build and formalize society (Aziz, 1982, 16). Society consists of a structure involving all of these factors.

In the process of socialization one of the greatest and basic differences is "primary" and "secondary" groups. Primary group consists of small ones such as family, close relatives, friends who people directly communicate with face to face and build long-lasting, intimate, healthy relationships to solve problems, to help mutually and to protect each other. When we become alienated from intimate, close relationships of primary groups, we approach to the secondary groups in which relationships are less emotional. Secondary group is a type of social group which individual is dependent on with short-term, formal, poor, indirect, mostly insincere relationships in comparison to primary group. Distant relatives, persons sometimes met by chance, acquaintances, the crowds, home city, nation, party, factory and similar groups can be given as examples (Demir ve Acar, 1982, 184). …

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