Future Of Cultivation Research Essay

898 words - 4 pages

These articles discuss the future of cultivation research (research on the roles of the message conveyed by television to viewers' perceptions and attitudes) in the context of "changing media environment." Based on the cultivation research since the 1960s, although there are many criticisms, it is argued that current cultivation theory has reached the certain quality of paradigmatic performance. According to Morgan and Sanahan, researchers have generally accepted the fundamental premises of the theory that television, in exposing the messages, possesses incremental effect, although generally it achieves or “cultivates” on the level of mental entity of the viewers. However, because it is accumulated, it may open possibilities to influence viewers’ overt behaviors in the long term. In principle, as Sanahan’s argument, media serves to create meaningful perception of people’s mental environment (symbolic environment) and cause a collective consciousness in seeing the reality of the worlds (perceived reality), in ”variety of contexts and situations" (Morgan & Sanahan, p.349). For these reasons, these two researchers highlight that the main issue is that researchers should answer questions about how to stabilizing the audience beliefs and conceptions (and also the media related power structures) rather than research on attitude or behavior changes.
The future of cultivation theory, in the context of the environment changes, depends on several things. Morgan & Sanahan argued that the influence of mass media relies on the "popular storytelling systems and purveyors of widely shared messages" (p. 350). When these systems collapsed, the influence of media will decrease with the increasing number of competitors of new media beyond television, such as DVRs and websites. I agree with these two authors that television, in the context of the current development of new media, has limitations, although in some degree it still has certain influence to the audience. Not everybody has turned to new media such as facebook, twitter, etc.; television has its own segments for the sake of its unique characteristic, such as ease of its operation, accessibility, and the psychological effects to the viewers (like when people watching life events on television, either individually or in a group of people).
I also agree that the "storyteller systems" behind media is important aspect for “cultivation” activities, although it is not the only one factor. Viewers are also crucial variable, because now, with the advance of social media, they have more options to access any information they want. Sanahan emphasizes Demers and Viswanath's argument that "cultivation research works best as an explanation of social homeostasis, or maintenance of the social status quo" (p.280). In other words, the concept of cultivation is less likely able to explain the influence of television, in the context of a...

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