Buckingham (1994) writes concerning the study of children and the media. His article attempts to suggest more profitable methods of research rather than quantitative and qualitative data, and functionalism and conflict theory he proposes an interactionist perspective. This essay is a review of the Buckingham (1994) article, and drawing upon sociologists like Patterson (1994), Western (1993), Robinson (1994) and Schultz (1993) to argue that Buckingham's (1994) article has not accomplished his apparent goals of more profitable research methods and a greater understanding of both children and the mass media.
The article by Buckingham (1994) starts out discussing the Jamie Bulger murder, which caused a media frenzy of concern in a system which Western (1993: 543), claims is a highly organised, far-reaching oligopolistic institution, and is, according to Schultz (1993: 584), the most pervasive and influential institution in society. Buckingham (1994: 79) begins by noting that the horror movie Child's Play 3 was found in the home of one of the murdering boys, and that Jamie Bulger's murder was accordingly rewritten as a re-enactment of the film by the press.
This called many of the media's practices into question and studies were quickly commissioned to research the viewing habits of juvenile offenders (Buckingham, 1994: 79). Buckingham (1994: 79) goes on to state that the media that were responsible for the murder of Jamie Bulger, not parenting techniques, education or peer pressure.
The pleasure derived from the media has been the focus of anxiety and repressive campaigns and Buckingham (1994: 79-80) notes that whenever something goes wrong this "popular demonology" rises. Children are usually the focus of these concerns, as they are seen to be at the greatest risk. Buckingham (1994: 80) describes two sociological perspectives for studying children and the media; firstly, conflict theory which condemns the media as an...