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Politics of TV Violence - Policy Uses of Community Research

NCJ Number
W D Rowland
Date Published
317 pages
After reviewing the histories of communications effects research and violence effects research, this book addresses the interaction of Federal media communication policymaking, the broadcast industry, citizens' interest groups, and the communication research community to determine the impact of this interaction on the portrayal of violence on television.
The early history of mass communication research in the context of the rise of American social science research is traced, with emphasis on the association of science with industrial and political needs in public policymaking. Congress' reluctance to establish any criteria that would permit it or its agencies much direct influence in broadcast programming is discussed, and this is attributed in part to general first amendment considerations and to the specific statutory provisions that have constrained the degree of governmental interference in broadcasting. Nonetheless, Congress' assumption of the right to investigate broadcast programming standards and performance is addressed, and attention focuses on the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence and on the report of the Surgeon General's Scientific Advisory Committee. The research role in shaping popular imagery and public policy toward television is identified, and some of the academic and political implications of the persistent violence inquiry process are delineated. Finally, the emergence of violence-effects research is shown to serve as a manifestation of an important aspect of contemporary American culture; this ongoing research demonstrates how the methods and forms of expression of social science have become widely accepted as legitimate means for conceiving of, and attempting to deal with, all manner of social, economic, and political problems. Approximately 250 references are included.


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