ERIC Number: ED228664
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Portrayal of Religion in Prime-Time Television Drama.
Virts, Paul H.; Keeler, John D.
In order to stimulate scholars to investigate systematically and fully the religious dimension of dramatic television content, the first part of this paper develops a basic framework for such study. After establishing the importance of this kind of research, it defines and explains the four basic variables that would have to be examined: general society, media gatekeepers, media content, and media audiences. After listing some of the special problems that must be faced in studying religion and television, the paper then presents a critical evaluation of one week of prime time television drama undertaken to determine whether the framework was appropriate and comprehensive and to draw some preliminary conclusions about the religious content of television programing. Among the conclusions presented are that (1) much programing has no religious content at all, (2) in shows with religious content, such content is rarely central to the plot, (3) portrayal of religion tends to be stereotypical, (4) most religious portrayal has a Judeo-Christian flavor, and (5) religious characters are portrayed as social servants, not spiritual leaders. A table of categories for content analysis of network prime time television drama and a short conclusion on the survey and framework complete the document. (JL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (68th, Louisville, KY, November 4-7, 1982).