Media Violence and Aggression

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 1 October 2016

Media Violence and Aggression

Recent cases of violent crime have led to the emergence of a new register of justification in the argument of the defense of criminals, namely the influence of media in the commission of such acts. One thinks, for example, the massacre taking place recently in the Arab countries (where revolutions is taking place), for which have been mentioned for example the influence of violent images broadcast or the ability to access, via Internet, providers of weapons. In this context of increasing power of public debate on the issue of responsibility of the media to violence in society, there exists the role that representations play violent actually on television and its effect on the sensitivity and behavior of the public. The answer to these questions is clear-cut: there is a net effect of the impact of the spread of violent shows on the behavior of people especially the youth, the responsibility of television was suspected, no one today can no longer pretend to ignore it. Violence has become a key major analysis of the functioning and the impact of media, from all media and techniques of mass dissemination of information (press, cinema, radio, television and telecommunications).

The debate is often focused solely, specifically, on the issue of explicitly violent content, conveyed by the media and their effects. But to grasp the relationship between media and violence, it seems first necessary to examine also the very presence of violence in the content profile on the reasons for the presentation: in particular, the media- is the mirror of society and violence in the media is reflected in society. In addition, it is necessary to adopt a definition that is both more accurate and comprehensive of aggression: it defines an act by which a force is exerted to influence someone or do act against his will; it characterizes a relationship marked by the exercise of coercive power.

Therefore, it seems necessary to look at a form of violence that is not directly physical, symbolic violence question the ability of the media, in them, to exercise this form of violence, regardless of the simple delivery of explicit violent content. The presence of violence in media have an emotional impact on young people, causing massive unpleasant emotions such as anxiety, fear, anger or disgust, and most of all: aggression. Even if they do not recognize it right away, they are going to recognize it when they are talking about it. But they have at their disposal three great ways to manage stress and prevent it from becoming a trauma: words, the scenarios inside and the symbolization of a mode emotional, sensory and motor. First, violence in media stimulates the senses into words. The children who have seen violent images while looking for a friend who has seen images do not contain scenes of violence turn away.

In other words, what makes pleasure does not call for the setting direction while the violent images that cause unpleasant emotions, call for setting direction, although, of course, they increase the capacity to achieve. A second way to develop the emotional and interior violent images is in the scenarios and representations of action they depict. In the same way that violent images often push children to talk about neutral images, it often push them to imagine representations of action (either they imagine themselves doing, or they imagine the heroes of the film does). These small indoor scenarios can be told by some children, but others need to go through the construction of material images (such as drawings, storyboards, photography and film) to get there. A third way to develop their emotions from violent images is in the non-verbal manifestations. Children confronted with images exhibit violent attitudes, facial expressions and gestures much more numerous than those who were facing neutral images.

These events are consistent with the verbal discourse and did not differ either in intensity or quality, between children who speak more freely and those who speak less. For both reasons, we can say that these attitudes, these gestures and facial expressions are for the child, as well as language, and scenarios interiors, ways for them to hold emotions and states of the body caused by violent images. These events do not preclude a verbal construction of meaning, but the support and accompany of it. It is therefore essential, for it not only does not prevent but also it promotes. All of these processing activities involved in a work at a distance from both the image content and emotional states caused by them. But on this way, the fact that the images appear as constructions is something very important. More than one image is a construction, and easier it is for the child to initiate the work of transformation rather than it can have its own representation.

In other words, the images are given as representations of reality constructed to promote transformation of psychic children, and an image can be more available to its personal mental constructions that it gives itself as a construction. On the contrary, those who present themselves as a pure reflection of that discourage them. The question of the impact of violent media content on the receptors forces us to try to understand the very meaning of the presence of violence in media. But beyond the issue of media violence is that of what it is to say. We leave here the most commonly raised questions on the subject and media violence, namely that of effects on viewers to violent media content. This is whether the publicized violence can lead to violent act. Exposure (sustainable) to such content can it cause harm? It appears that for the social sciences, the debate on the impact of individual scenes of violence is mediated, schematically, two competing theories: This idea is behind its formulation in Aristotle.

The portrayal of violence is therapeutic in that it would help viewers to evacuate their negative emotions. The assumption is that the unpleasant emotions such as anger or frustration can accumulate to the point that the individual may have wanted to break free. However, this release could occur through an aggressive act real or watching someone else committing such an act. Publicized violence would play a role as a substitute for violence act. Conversely, looking at a model showing violence could help, according to some authors, the reproduction of this type of behavior, giving it a normal or breaking the inhibitions that may have existed prior in with its if the circumstances of everyday life reflect the situation in which publicized violent behavior occurred.

Empirical investigations lead to conflicting results and it is difficult to decide the question of the impact on the individual. Perhaps, because the issue is in itself problematic, and is badly put. Media can be considered an agent of socialization. Thus, two types of conclusions can be drawn. First, the media is an agent of socialization among many others; it is difficult to assess its role in the assimilation of social norms and values ​​regardless of the role played by other agents of socialization. Second, the current inter actionist has shown that socialization cannot be equated to a phenomenon of inculcation of contextualized: Further characteristics of the message media coverage, are the characteristics of the individual and those of the social environment and the mobilization situation of the media that must be taken into account. In the end, all social scientists agree on the idea that media violence does not have a uniform effect on everyone, so the potential impact of media violence cannot be seen as a direct or systematic, it remains almost impossible to provide an absolute answer to this problem.

It is therefore necessary to make a more productive crop and the subject, to illuminate the links between violence and media interest in the reasons for the presence of violence in the media. The media coverage of violence as an expression and distribution problems of social organization: access to the public as a political lever. Turning first to the violence present is shown in the idea of ​​information (newspapers or specialized newspapers or radio broadcast), it appears that there is an increase in media coverage of violent events, over-represented. More precisely, for some authors, such information relating to severe weather would be a privileged means of access by the media to different parts of social reality. The question of life in a country was overwhelmingly introduced in the media through riots, crimes or armed interventions that could take place there. In order to understand this phenomenon there is television reading keys that should be taken into consideration.

Thus, television would develop a special interest in the extraordinary, the sensational, the phenomena with high potential for dramatization, both to attract the attention of the spectators, but also for reasons of competition with other chains that grows in search of the scoop, the event is even more exciting and impressive (that attracts and captures the attention). Therefore, two types of conclusions can be drawn, in part contradictory. First, the overrepresentation of violence does not mean an actual increase and the same amount of aggression in society, but simply a focusing of attention on the violence, which has more to do with social representations. A circular phenomenon can then be highlighted. If we mediate much violence is that it is a fundamental concern of society, and talking about it as impressive (in the photographic sense) social representations, is to strengthen the attention given to the heightened violence.

It can be shown that this idea, rather than the existence of (hyper) violent, that of a society of fear, a hyper security; obsessed by violence as it has never been so low (at least physically, the violent crime statistics prove it), it places a disproportionate contributor to the fact that social actors see violence everywhere, and obtain confirmation of their assumptions about the violence of the society in which they live, and legitimize the pervasiveness of violence in the media. The idea of ​​mirror of society refer to the media must be seriously questioned: this mirror is largely distorted and it is more a reflection of social representations that the idea itself it offers. But on the other hand, the phenomenon of over-representation of media violence can have adverse effects on reality: media coverage of violence could lead to increased violence, but this time not for reasons of mimicry. Public opinion and the ability to convert ideas is a powerful political lever, yet the media, especially television, is a powerful way to access it.

But the media is particularly a fond of violence, it is necessary to get their attention, produce events that fit their expectations or spectacular events, such as violent. Due to the structural functioning of the media, social violence would become a means of privileged access to the media, an effective way to draw attention to problems of social organization, disseminate beliefs … etc… Furthermore, the relationship between media violence and so does not limit these potential effects in reality is tied to a less visible. By forcing social actors, if they want their problems and expectations are mediated, to adopt the necessary categories of perception of the television people, how the media led to a form of symbolic violence. There is indeed a violence symbolic level, forced to abandon their ways of understanding reality to adopt one of the owners of media power and internalize these as legitimate, if one wants to be heard.

It is this form of violence, either in the media that we will now concern ourselves specifically. We cannot first reduce the question of violence in media content to simple questions about explicitly violent content (images of murder, incitement to discourse of racial hatred etc…). Another form of violence must be addressed, symbolic violence caused by the information control and social representation by certain social actors, which would be dependent on others. Assumption that the order of importance attributed by the media to disseminate information that is reflected in the level of attention the public gives to the same information. The media would have the effect of imposing the favorite themes of collective attention, thus contributing directly to the formation of public opinion.

The media is able to impose the public focus their attention on topics chosen by them. This is what we saw in the first part with the imposition of violent themes, but beyond the topics themselves (content) it is possible to impose collective attention, as a form of symbolic violence, which concerns us here. Comparing the conceptions of social reality in strong and weak consumer television, highlighting the fact that high consumers of television have a conception of social reality is closer to the recurrent and stereotyped patterns found in the content television messages, yet these messages provide a distorted. The cultural and cognitive impacts: implications in terms of social recognition and self-esteem if it is not (or “bad”) represented in the media.

But major problem of these theories: the failure to take into account the context of everyday life in which occurs the reception of the media, that it neglects the question of the social uses of media. Here we must also address more precisely the different uses of specific media beyond the single frequency of use. However, one can argue for a symbolic violence which is exercised in society simply because of the existence of unequal access to the various media. To this should be added that this violence can be exercised even better than enjoy a variety of media credibility, prestige of a different (less prestigious television films, television news less valued and informative issued by the press written … etc.). This is the social representations that must be mobilized in terms of symbolic domination.

Dissemination of information through the media has the effect of strengthening the social and cultural inequalities that already exist within the population. To the extent that this hypothesis is verified by empirical research, this research calls into question the educational potential of some media, especially TV. A symbolic violence exerted against the relatively more disadvantaged populations, invisible, and unrelated to the level of violence broadcast content or any desire to use of coercion against a targeted audience. In conclusion, it is essential to recognize that the “reality” is not a single aspect, or even two, but three inseparable.

There was first the real world objective, then the images of growing technologies that we give and obey their own rules, and finally the personal representations everyone gives it. And the problem is that we are all constantly threatened and confused with each other … In order to solve this issue, we should not only take into account the risk of confuse the material images with reality, but also to confuse the images everyone sees it with those shows – because everyone makes an image as personal images they see – and even the images that everyone carries within itself with reality. The freedom from the images through the triple learning: distinguishing any moment between reality, image material and the inner image that we form.

Reference List
Barbara, K. (2001) The social psychology of aggression. Social psychology. New York, NY, US: Psychology Press. (2001). Lennings, H. (2011).The effect of auditory verses visual violent media exposure on aggressive behavior: The role of song lyrics, video clips and musical tone. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. ScienceDirect. Volume 47, Issue 4, July 2011, pages 794-799. Krahe, B. (2010). Longitudinal effects of media violence on aggression and empathy among German adolescents. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. Volume 31, Issue 5, October 2010, pages 401-409.
Hamerton-Kelly, R. (2008). A Theory of Religion and violence. Accessed on January 21, 2012.


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 1 October 2016

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