Television violence

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Jane Ritchie and James Ritchie once wrote: “Who decided that television programmes should so often feature gun fights, fist fights, motor vehicles used as lethal projectiles, and all the other mayhem that floods the airwaves night after night? Who decided that this was entertainment?

The first answer is, of course, no one person. The second might be the industry. But the third by default and acceptance, is each of us. Through television and video we allow into our living rooms all kinds of people, actions and lifestyles that we would never tolerate in real life. We have allowed television to become the dominant medium for entertainment and information. [this was written 20 years ago!] We have allowed it to grow almost entirely without self-critical awareness and evaluation.” (p.119)

For the Ritchies,at the time of writing this book, “television’s reinforcement of violence as a way of solving human conflicts” (p.119) was their main concern. That was twenty years ago… how is conflict solved on current TV? What types of conflict are common? Between what ‘types’ of people? In what ways is violence condoned/ explained/ justified/ understood? Between what ‘types’ of people does violence actually occur?

Ref: Jane Ritchie and James Ritchie (1993) Violence in New Zealand. Huia Publishers and Daphne Brasell Associates: Wellington

Note that one study the Ritchies refer to in this chapter of their book is: Huesmann, LR, Eron, LD, Lefkowitz, MM and Walder, LO (1984) ‘Stability of Aggression Over Time and Generations’ Developmental Psychology 20, pp.1120-1134 …I wonder what studies have been done since then to continue this work…???

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