This chapter illustrates the relevance of a socio-cultural approach in children and media studies and the challenges of adopting such an approach when comparing different cultures in order to identify their commonalities. Traditionally, universalistic approaches aim to identify recurrent patterns of action and meaning and are often characterized by a programmatic bracketing of any culturally grounded variable. Investigating what is recurrent despite cultural differences, universalistic approaches mostly lead to large-scale quantitative surveys on who consumes what and where. Conversely, when culture is seen as the main matrix of media experience and sense making, a relativistic perspective is often required. A strong conceptual link between culture and relativism may explain why, historically, cultural approaches have mostly led to national-specific studies, the results of which are often hard to compare. The growing globalization of cultural products of information and communication technologies explains the contemporary resurgence in interest in international studies. Nonetheless, comparable research projects are still rare. While some studies basically describe similarities and differences between different countries, others provide a cultural interpretation of comparative data. Even though national cultures frame children’s media experience, this localization also incorporates patterns of globalization. The main hypothesis of these comparative studies is that local cultural references are not in an aut–aut relationship with respect to the trans-national common world made up of media and contents. On the contrary, children are able to move in and out of these worlds, to cross the boundaries of the ‘local’ and ‘global’ in their everyday life and create situated lines of consistency. Their results aside, the value of this new generation of studies lies primarily in their attempt to identify the multiple and connected levels of media experience, to take into account both its local and global nature, and to explore how these levels interact. After presenting a brief history of the changing paradigms in children and media studies, the chapter will focus on two main contemporary theoretical frameworks in studies of children’s media experience: the sociocultural approach and the phenomenological perspective.Acritical examination of the main methodological approaches in investigating children’s sense of television is followed by a report on a pertinent cross-national study. The general aim of the study involving seven countries (Argentina, Canada, Chile, Greece, Italy, South Africa, and Uruguay), was to examine different cultures in order to identify trans-national recurrent patterns of thinking about and experiencing television (if any). Particularly, we analysed: 1 The ways children perceive television as a member of their social world. 2 How they experience television as a routine activity of their everyday life. As we will see in the conclusions, the relevance of this study is both substantive and methodological. The empirical results show how and to what extent children’s television culture is grounded in their everyday world of interactions and situated discourses while also functioning as a connecting world of shared references. The methodological design is an attempt to cope with the challenges of adopting a socio-cultural perspective in cross-cultural studies.

Television Culture and Media Socialization across Countries:Theoretical Issues and Methodological Approaches

CARONIA, LETIZIA;
2008

Abstract

This chapter illustrates the relevance of a socio-cultural approach in children and media studies and the challenges of adopting such an approach when comparing different cultures in order to identify their commonalities. Traditionally, universalistic approaches aim to identify recurrent patterns of action and meaning and are often characterized by a programmatic bracketing of any culturally grounded variable. Investigating what is recurrent despite cultural differences, universalistic approaches mostly lead to large-scale quantitative surveys on who consumes what and where. Conversely, when culture is seen as the main matrix of media experience and sense making, a relativistic perspective is often required. A strong conceptual link between culture and relativism may explain why, historically, cultural approaches have mostly led to national-specific studies, the results of which are often hard to compare. The growing globalization of cultural products of information and communication technologies explains the contemporary resurgence in interest in international studies. Nonetheless, comparable research projects are still rare. While some studies basically describe similarities and differences between different countries, others provide a cultural interpretation of comparative data. Even though national cultures frame children’s media experience, this localization also incorporates patterns of globalization. The main hypothesis of these comparative studies is that local cultural references are not in an aut–aut relationship with respect to the trans-national common world made up of media and contents. On the contrary, children are able to move in and out of these worlds, to cross the boundaries of the ‘local’ and ‘global’ in their everyday life and create situated lines of consistency. Their results aside, the value of this new generation of studies lies primarily in their attempt to identify the multiple and connected levels of media experience, to take into account both its local and global nature, and to explore how these levels interact. After presenting a brief history of the changing paradigms in children and media studies, the chapter will focus on two main contemporary theoretical frameworks in studies of children’s media experience: the sociocultural approach and the phenomenological perspective.Acritical examination of the main methodological approaches in investigating children’s sense of television is followed by a report on a pertinent cross-national study. The general aim of the study involving seven countries (Argentina, Canada, Chile, Greece, Italy, South Africa, and Uruguay), was to examine different cultures in order to identify trans-national recurrent patterns of thinking about and experiencing television (if any). Particularly, we analysed: 1 The ways children perceive television as a member of their social world. 2 How they experience television as a routine activity of their everyday life. As we will see in the conclusions, the relevance of this study is both substantive and methodological. The empirical results show how and to what extent children’s television culture is grounded in their everyday world of interactions and situated discourses while also functioning as a connecting world of shared references. The methodological design is an attempt to cope with the challenges of adopting a socio-cultural perspective in cross-cultural studies.
The International Handbook of Children, Media and Culture
365
385
L. Caronia; A.H. Caron
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/46919
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