Cultivation theory [涵化理論]

by George Gerbner

Assumptions:

  • 電視與其他大眾傳播媒體不同。是當代社會文化的中心。
  • 電視形塑社會思考的方式。
  • 電視的效果是有限的。

電視節目內容對社會有巨大的影響力,但因為效果有限,並非透過單一的節目內容傳遞就能有效果。而是透過不斷重複出現的電視圖像,對人們如何理解社會,如何表達社會,產生了潛移默化的「教化」。

電視是將大多數人們標準所該扮演的角色與行為的社會化媒體。
Television is a medium of the socialization of most people into standardized roles and behaviors. Its function is in a word, enculturation. (Gerbner et al., 1986:175)
Gerbner 關心電視產生意識形態的制度性權力。他認為電視是由菁英控制的,能滿足不同大眾市場需求的機構之後,並[電視]將操作性的定義為節目的「資訊系統」:標準化圖像的擴大漣漪(1986)。[電視系統]是不斷重複的圖像流,而非某個節目提供社會權力樣本資料的訊息 。透過經年累月研究所累積的節目資料,Gerbner 發現了電視權力存在的事實證據:一種限制人們表達範圍的權力,以及限制用來理解自己所處社會的權力。(p.50)
Gerbner’s primary analytical concern is the institutional power of television to generate ideology. After first analyzing television as an elite controlled corporate institution with distinctive massmarketing requirements, he operationally defines its ideological workings as the “message system” of programming: a widening circle of standardized images that cut across the widest variety of programs (1986). For Gerbner, it is the overall flow of imagery with its repetitions, rather than the messages of specific shows that provides the most compelling data of social power. By counting instances of, say, violence, across random samples of programming, and charting variations in such depictions over years of study, Gerbner uncovers facts that provide evidence of television’s power: a power to limit the range of representations that people have access to and which they can use in making sense of their own social worlds. (p.42)1)