Culture does not produce one standard meaning. "Meanings migrate from one context to another, sometimes ending up very far from where they started - they are always getting displaced, diverted, reworked and exchanged. It is the very process of meaning. The world has its own culture, countries have their own culture, cities have their own culture, and it is the influences within those boundaries which produce a culture.
In today's society it is incredibly important to understand the way the media functions. The media not only provides information, it is a very powerful signifier of who we are as a whole, and has the ability to exert large amounts of influence. Therefore, it is important that we understand and are able to critically examine what is being fed to us every day and why. By analyzing the way power, representation and culture are at play we are able to gain a greater understanding of how the media functions, which subsequently enables us the discerningly evaluate its influence and content. Despite the fact that in the media, generally fall into the same category, the enormous range of titles do not contain the same content and target.
George Gerber, Dean &Prof. for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, founder of the Cultural Environment Movement, and champion of cultivation theory. He began the cultural indicators research in the mid 1960. He conduct a research to find whether and how watching television may influence viewers ideas in everyday life.
He focuses on his research in related to four attitudes.
1.Chances of involvement with violence
2.Fear of walking alone at night—
3.Perceived activity of police—heavy viewers overestimate the size of law enforcement
4.General mistrust of people—heavy viewers are suspicious of others.
Findings of George Gerber
- George Gerber argues that heavy television viewing creates an exaggerated belief in a scary world. Cultivation theory suggests heavy viewers will regard the world as more dangerous than light viewers. He argue that television has long term effect which are small, gradual , indirect but cumulative and significance effect.
- Gerber emphasizes the symbolic content of television drama. Television has belated religion as the key storyteller in our culture. It is responsible for shaping or cultivation viewers conceptions of social reality.
- Violence is television’s principal message, and particularly for devoted viewers. Gerber found that the portrayal of violence varies little from year to year. Over half of prime-time programs contain violence or the threat of violence. Two-thirds of the major characters are caught up in violence; heroes are just as involved as villains.
- Gerber argue that the mass media cultivate attitude and values which are already present in a culture. The media maintain and propagate these values amongst members of culture thus binding together. Old people, children, Hispanics, African Americans, women, and blue-collar workers are more often victimized.
- Television places marginalized people in symbolic double jeopardy(risk) by simultaneously under representing and over victimizing them. Not surprisingly, marginalized people then exhibit the most fear of violence as a result of television programming.
Mainstreaming. Gerber argue that media create a mainstreaming effect among viewers. A Mainstreaming is the process by which heavy viewers develop a commonality of outlook through constant exposure to the same images and labels). Gerber illustrates the mainstream effect by showing how television types blur economic and political distinctions.
· The media content assume that they are middle class.
· They believe they are political moderates.
· In fact, heavy viewers tend to be conservative.
Resonance. It means a intensified(exaggerated) effect create on the audience by television. Resonance occurs when repeated symbolic portrayals of violence cause viewers to replay their real-life experiences with violence over and over. Rather than focus on the few people who imitate television violence, Gerber wants to look at the large majority of people who are terrified by the world.