I. Television Violence Research

By Pecora, Norma | Communication Research Trends, Spring 1999 | Go to article overview

I. Television Violence Research


Pecora, Norma, Communication Research Trends


Barker, Martin and Julian Petley (Eds.). III Effects: The Media/Violence Debate. London: Routledge, 1997.

Buckingham, David. "Doing Them Harm? Children's Conceptions of the Negative Effects of Television" in Karen Swan, Carla Meskill, Steven DeMaio, editors, Social Learning from Broadcast Television. Cresskill NJ: Hampton Press, Inc., 1998a.

Carlsson, Ulla and Cecilia von Feilitzen. Children and Media Violence. Goteborg Sweden: The UNESCO International Clearinghouse on Children and Violence on the Screen at Nordicom, 1998.

Cronstrom, Johan. Bibliography: Children and Media Violence Research: A Selection (1989-). Goteborg Sweden: The UNESCO International Clearinghouse on Children and Violence on the Screen at Nordicom, 1998.

Groebel, Jo. The UNESCO Global Study on Media Violence: A Joint Project of UNESCO, the World Organization of the Scout Movement and Utrecht University. Paris: UNESCO, 1998.

Groebel, Jo. "Young People's Perception of Violence on the Screen--A Joint Project of UNESCO, the World Organization of the Scout Movement, and Utrecht University--Summary Report Presented to the General Conference of UNESCO," Paris, 1997.

Gunter, Barrie and Jackie Harrison. Violence on Television: An Analysis of Amount, Nature, Location and Origin of Violence on British Programmes. London: Routledge, 1998.

National Television Violence Study: Volume 1. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 1997.

National Television Violence Study: Volume 2. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 1998a.

National Television Violence Study: Volume 3, Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 1998b.

Springhall, John. Youth, Popular Culture and Moral Panics. New York: St. Martin's Press. 1997.

Thompson, Kenneth. Moral Panics. London: Routledge, 1998.

Questions of media violence have been the central issue in the debate on children's relationship to the media. Historically, no other issue has generated an equal amount of interest or research. As children in war-torn countries are confronted with real and televised images, children in the United States take up guns against their peers, and children everywhere encounter mediated images of violence, it will continue to be a focal point to the debate on children and television.

In the late 1990s at least four major projects were published on the topic and, while there are other important studies on children and television violence, these four can serve as examples of the most contemporary thinking on the debate. Gunter and Harrison (1998) present us with a comprehensive study of the current condition in the United Kingdom in the historical context of the research on television violence. A coalition of four universities in the United States published a series of studies, the National Television Violence Study, analyzing program content and media effects on children and adolescents over a three-year period (NTVS 1997, 1998x, 1998b). In 1997 UNESCO funded a study of international scope that surveyed more than 5,000 students from 23 countries (Groebel 1997, 1998). And, in 1998, the first yearbook from the International Clearinghouse on Children and Violence on the Screen was published examining the state of media violence research worldwide including a selective bibliography of works published since 1970 (Carlsson and von Feilitzen 1998: 364-383). Another bibliography published by the Clearinghouse covered the period since 1989 (Cronstrom 1998). At the same time there have been calls for an understanding of media violence in an atmosphere of "moral panic" as the media become conduits for sometimes emotional discussions of complex social issues (Thompson 1998: 75).

What is "Violence"?

Gunter and Harrison, although acknowledging that audience interpretation is important, nevertheless focused on program content. They described the "amount, nature, location and origin" of program violence, while, as they say, "going beyond numbers to classes and attributes" (1998: 280), but making no link to effects. …

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