Buckingham, And Child Abuse Essay

1782 words - 7 pages

Buckingham (1994) writes concerning the study of children and the media. His article attempts to suggest more profitable methods of research rather than quantitative and qualitative data, and functionalism and conflict theory he proposes an interactionist perspective. This essay is a review of the Buckingham (1994) article, and drawing upon sociologists like Patterson (1994), Western (1993), Robinson (1994) and Schultz (1993) to argue that Buckingham's (1994) article has not accomplished his apparent goals of more profitable research methods and a greater understanding of both children and the mass media.The article by Buckingham (1994) starts out discussing the Jamie Bulger murder, which caused a media frenzy of concern in a system which Western (1993: 543), claims is a highly organised, far-reaching oligopolistic institution, and is, according to Schultz (1993: 584), the most pervasive and influential institution in society. Buckingham (1994: 79) begins by noting that the horror movie Child's Play 3 was found in the home of one of the murdering boys, and that Jamie Bulger's murder was accordingly rewritten as a re-enactment of the film by the press. This called many of the media's practices into question and studies were quickly commissioned to research the viewing habits of juvenile offenders (Buckingham, 1994: 79). Buckingham (1994: 79) goes on to state that the media that were responsible for the murder of Jamie Bulger, not parenting techniques, education or peer pressure.The pleasure derived from the media has been the focus of anxiety and repressive campaigns and Buckingham (1994: 79-80) notes that whenever something goes wrong this "popular demonology" rises. Children are usually the focus of these concerns, as they are seen to be at the greatest risk. Buckingham (1994: 80) describes two sociological perspectives for studying children and the media; firstly, conflict theory which condemns the media as an evil influence and portrays children as vulnerable and innocent; secondly, functionalism, in which the media helps to socialise children. This functionalist view is caused, according to Sinclair (2002: 23), by the media's ability to cause a general globalisation of ideas. Functionalists, according to Patterson (1994: 171), argue that the mass media provides nothing more than a popular avenue for disseminating social norms, allowing the repression of corrupting influences and helping to maintain social stability. Conflict Theorists, however, are concerned about the ownership of the media, its pervasive qualities, and how it perpetuates dominant elite values (Patterson, 1994: 171). Schultz (1993: 603) argues that many who study the effects of the media are concerned with the obvious influence of it, and are therefore curious about what should be done about it, whether they should control the influence as functionalists claim, or to free the media from political agendas, as conflict theorists claim.Robinson (1994) however, highlights an area...

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