Gerbner said about his research Project
“International work in cultivation analysis attempts to answer the question
whether the medium or the system is the message. It reveals the extent to
which, and the conceptions of social reality congruent with its most stable and
recurrent messages and images.” (Gerbner, 2000)
Gerbner’s theory was assuming that the television culture was more influential
than other forms of mass media because it was playing a main role in America. He
was thinking that television did not causing bad behavior of violence but it
was shaping individuals’ beliefs and actions about society and others. For Gerbner
television was serving for status quo not fighting against it. He had a term “Mean
world syndrome”. It was reffering watching television more than four hours a
day could make you feel like the world is mean against you. Finally he was assuming
that television did not showing the truth or reflecting the reality but
creating an alternative world and reality. (Gerbner, 2000) Gerbner was also
assuming there were several factors which were influencing the level of cultivation:
Like age, gender, the amount of watching television, watching television alone
or with someone, feeling familiar with the situation. (Gerbner, 2000) This
research was focused on cultivation’s effects of individuals but not their backgrounds.
Not giving any importance of the personality or living situations that the
people has. They did not give importance
about genres too. They took a cartoon’s violence as same as a reality show’s violence.
Gerbner’s theory was accepted in worldwide but it had problems. It was giving
the gun of changing people’s mind about the world to media and making
individuals unable to creating their own meanings from the message or did not care
about the audiences’ background. But it was an effective and inspiring
After Gerbner’s cultivation theory, researchers started to give importance about
the audience’s needs and choices. In 1974, researchers came up with a new
theory which was named Uses and Gratification.
They started focus on the audience and the reasons of their media usage. The theory
was against the old understanding of media-audience relationship. This approach
was about to what people do with media but not media do with people. This
approach was based on Jay Blumler and Denis McQuail’s study about 1964 UK
election. They were categorized people’s motivations about watching political
programs on television. (David L, 2016) In 1972, Jay Blumler, Joseph Brown, and Denis McQuail proposed
four uses of media: diversion (escaping from daily
life), personal relationships (like talking about
the tv show the day before you watch on TV making you closer with the other
identity (feeling close with the character that you’ve watched on TV or wanting
to become like her/him), and surveillance
information about what’s happening somewhere else). In 1974 Blumler, Brown, and McQuail were joined by colleagues Michael
Gurevitch, Hadassah Haas, and Elihu Katz. They conducted a collaborative
research on how people viewed mass media. (David L, 2016) They were taking
the audience as a powerful receiver. This theory was useful on audience studies.
We can name it as a starting point of the audience studies. The researchers focused
on the audience’s usage of media. They did not give any importance on how
audience makes meanings on media contents. Unless Stuart Hall. Hall focused on audience’s
needs, psychological and socio-cultural situations.
Stuart Hall was a
supporter of Reception theory. Hall was supporting
the Hans-Robert Juass’s Reception theory.
German Hans-Robert Jauss was first used the term to analyse literature in 1960s.
(Sloane, 2006) This theory was telling that the meaning is somewhere between
the reader and the text. So everyone can read (decode) the text different based
on their experiences, cultural background. Their relation with the power makes
them to judgements about the text.