TV-tittande som dialog : På väg mot en symbolisk-interaktionistisk TV-teori
Sammanfattning: Research itself - on television and the young - is the object of this research. From a humanistic viewpoint, relational and interactional concepts are critically scrutinized: how have eg 'identification' and 'para-social interaction' been defined and used by (psycho-analytically influenced) mass communication researchers in sociology, psychology and pedagogy in order to allegedly 'explain' the 'effects' of television on the identity, personality or behavior of young viewers? These definitions and uses are found lacking in many respects, and the views of insightful film theoreticians are recommended instead. Terms such as 'viscarious experiences/satisfaction', 'escapism', and 'mirror/ing' are also examined and rejected.Crucial deficiencies in mass media studies is firstly the lack of a theory that would be able to explain how viewers with the assistance of TV construct their identities and, secondly, the absence of an aesthetic theory which could explain why TV viewers presumedly would become more influence by what they know does not exist (fiction) than by what they know to be facts. Symbolic Interactionism and Aesthetic Philosophy (the 'thought-theory of imagination') are here used to illuminate these issues. G H Mead's theory of self development and the importance of play and games in self-formation is applied to children's television viewing and M Csfkszentmihályi's concept 'flow' to adults' absorbed TV-relations. Both for school age children and adults, watching television is treated as a form of complex perspective-taking and muted dialogue or inner conversation with imaginal Others. TV viewing is thus considered a form of true and fully social 'two-way' communication oscillating, however, between 'participation through the thinking and feeling I' and 'observation through the reflecting and empathizing self'.The concept of 'role-taking' is finally tested for methodological utility on preschoolers' (videotaped) reception of a six-minute-episode of a TV series for children. These children are clearly found not to be captured by or engulfed in any 'identification' with the main protagonist/s, but instead alternate between the different perspectives of the characters, interspersed with their own reflective perspective and that of their friends' - judging by their smiles, laughter, looks, comments. Consequences of this for their imagination and moral thinking is also discussed.
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