Television and the American Family

By Jennings Bryant | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
Families on Prime-Time Television:
Pattems of Conflict Escalation and
Resolution Across Intact, Nonintact, and
Mixed-Family Settings

Thomas Skill
Samuel Wallace
University of Dayton

Mary Cassata
State University of New York--Buffalo

What does prime-time television imply about the nature of families in America? What lessons does it offer on relationships between family members? More specifically, how do fictional TV families initiate, explore, and resolve problems and conflicts? Also, are there significant differences in communicative strategies employed across the various family configurations on television?

In a review of over 20 studies focusing on prime-time televised family life, much is revealed about the manifest content (i.e., composition, frequency, and portrayal). However, questions about more latent aspects of the content remain largely unanswered. Theoretical structures for probing such questions--social learning ( Bandura, 1977) and cultivation ( Gerbner, Gross, Signorielli, & Morgan, 1980)--have emerged at a time when public policy groups and private interest organizations increasingly have expressed great concern about changes in the American family. In most cases, these changes have been characterized as undesirable and they have been causally linked to a number of factors, not the least of which are the models and messages presented by television.

Social critics such as Margaret Mead ( 1978) and James Chesebro ( 1979) have linked the decay of the conventional family configuration, the nuclear family, to the rise of television. Mead, commenting on the potential impact of television on the institution of family, stated that "TV more than any other medium gives models to the American people--models for life as it is, or should, or can be lived" (p. 12). Much of the controversy with regard to mediated portrayals of family seems to rise from a concern over the nature of the messages and potential impact of those messages on the viewing public. This, in conjunction with contradictory impressions of how the family is and should be presented on

-129-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Television and the American Family
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 385

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.