Ill Effects: The Media/Violence Debate

By Martin Barker; Julian Petley | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

From bad research to good-a guide for the perplexed
Martin Barker and Julian PetlevWhen we brought together the essays that made up the first edition of this book, we hoped that it would become a resource: a resource for those worried by the continual stream of claims about 'copy-catting', about the 'corrupting effects' of the 'rising tide of violent media'. For those who sensed that there was something fundamentally wrong with all those claims, but who either felt isolated in their beliefs, or felt they were lacking in clear and accessible evidence and arguments with which to make a counter-case: this book was meant to be something to which they could turn. We believe that to some extent, at least, we succeeded. And all our authors' essays contributed to this. The book received the responses for which we'd hoped: friendly (mainly) from those we'd intended to reach; hostile from those whom we could never have hoped to persuade away from their prejudices. That was about right. Then our publishers asked us to prepare this second edition. We were delighted to have the opportunity. We were proud to publish every essay that went into the first edition, but now we think we can see a new direction and use for the book, and therefore we've taken this opportunity to rethink its overall shape and to commission a significant number of new essays. Still, the position from which we began then remains the same. We therefore begin by restating the premises that underlay the first edition, and which still frame the second:
1 The claims about the possible 'effects of violent media' are not just false, they range from the daft to the mischievous. The reason for this is that those who insistently make these claims are asking the wrong question. Their question has the same status as those who, for centuries, insistently asked if human illnesses, the death of pigs, thunderstorms, and crop failures were the result of witchcraft. The fallacy is that you have to have

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Ill Effects: The Media/Violence Debate
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction 1
  • References 25
  • 1 - The Newson Report 27
  • 2 - The Worrying Influence of 'Media Effects' Studies 47
  • Notes 60
  • 3 - Electronic Child Abuse? 63
  • Notes 76
  • 4 - Living for Libido; Or, 'Child's Play Iv' 78
  • 5 - Just What the Doctors Ordered? 87
  • References 108
  • 6 - Once More with Feeling 111
  • References 125
  • 7 - I Was a Teenage Horror Fan 126
  • 8 - 'Looks like It Hurts' 135
  • 9 - Reservoirs of Dogma 150
  • 10 - Us and Them 170
  • References 184
  • 11 - Invasion of the Internet Abusers 186
  • 12 - On the Problems of Being a 'trendy Travesty' 202
  • References 224
  • Index 225
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