ERIC Number: ED311511
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
The Role of the Mass Media in the Family System: An Ethnographic Approach.
Jordan, Amy B.
Using a theoretical framework known as family systems theory, an exploratory study in progress is examining the role of media in the home. Three areas representative of the research are: (1) the place of mass media in the roles of the individual family members; (2) how the media regulate interactions between family members; and (3) the function of the media in structuring the temporal environment of the home. Data from observations and interviews were organized by looking at between-family differences, within-family differences, and between-media differences. Some preliminary results of the research on socioeconomic status (SES) differences related to time use have indicated that high SES families tend to be monochronic and low SES families tend to be polychronic. A second element of the analysis is the way in which family roles get played out in the media patterns of the home. The mother's media use reflects her "manager" role. Fathers typically use media to the exclusion of other activities. When looking at sibling roles, the media patterns and preferences of the oldest often dictate the patterns of the younger. A third domain of family life is that of interaction within the home. Media content is used by all families as a fodder for discussion about particular family issues. The research spotlights the notion that context is important in understanding media effects, and attempts to fill in a theoretical vacuum in the understanding of the role of the media in family life. (Sixteen references are attached.) (MG)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (72nd, Washington, DC, August 10-13, 1989).