Cultivation and Agency

Essay by babo9999 November 2007

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The cultivation theory states that by seeing repeated messages in media, these messages will influence our value system over time (Discussion 11/3/05). Therefore, it has long term media effects with teaching of common worldview according to TV. The cultivation theory “is based on a project by George Gerbner and his associates that for more than 20 years examined the impact of growing up and living with television” (Croteau Hoynes 246). Television is the media that dominates our lives since it is on most of the time. As we engage in prolonged media consumption, media has messages and over time we have media answers. For example, after watching films or television, people develop a sense that there has to be a good vs. evil in the world. Gerbner also wanted to know if the society was aware of the difference between TV realities vs. reality. The “immersion in television culture produces a “mainstreaming” effect, whereby differences based on cultural, social, and political characteristics are muted in heavy viewers of television” (Croteau Hoynes 246).

Mainstreaming is important such that it makes people to have the same outlook across social groups. Gerbner found out that cultivation teaches a common worldview according to TV. Therefore, since television shows American culture in their programs, the viewers believe that U.S. citizens cover 30% of world’s population, when it is only 6%. Furthermore, Gerbner stated that violence in television causes heavy viewers to see “mean world”. Heavy viewers get the idea that women, children, and elderly are the majority victims in violence since the media portrays it that way. Also the fact that there is a difference of world views between low and high income people is shown. Low income people are pissed off at the world that they do not have a chance to...