Study Questions 15: Tu Apr 17: The Violence Debates and Masculinities
1. Why does Gerbner argue that the question "does media violence create real life violence" is the wrong question to ask? What does he think are better questions?
2. What does Gerbner mean by arguing that violence in drama and in news is mostly about "power"? Who benefits socially and economically from the pervasiveness of violence? How does violent imagery help reinforce class lines, even as it appears to be class neutral?
3, Given that media violence is not particularly popular with audiences, how is it that production imperatives account for the exaggerated amounts of violence in TV and film? How have changes in media production environments increased this tendency?
4. According to Turner, what are the main techniques by which viewers are brought to identify with the law enforcement forces in "real life crime" shows?
5. How is this process "sexualized"? How is it "gendered"? What are the racial dynamics of these shows?
6. What social policies and social attitudes are reinforced by these crime shows? What historical forces help account for their rise?
7. What is a "moral panic" and to what extent does that adequately describe the social reactions surrounding the school shooting sprees of recent years? How and with what degree of justification did popular culture come to be seen part of the problem?
8. What complications does Jenkins offer to simple "media effects" equations of media violence and real life violence? Why does he think much of the reaction to Columbine and events like it actually made matters worse?
9. What kinds of contextualizing issues does Jenkins offer to illuminate how young people use popular culture texts? What positive value does he think teens get out of some kinds of violent media representations?
10. Which of Jenkins suggestions for creating a healthier climate for teens do you find most convincing or likely to be effective based on your own experiences?