In this follow-up
to Moving Experiences (1995), David Gauntlett travels beyond the relatively
straightforward questions about the possible direct effects of television on behaviour,
to explore the contribution which television can make to viewer's understandings
of the world. Arguing against the attempts of psychologists to explain complex
social issues in individualistic terms, Video Critical seeks to take a
more sophisticated journey towards an understanding of the place of media in the
lives of children at the end of the twentieth century. Kicking off with a characteristically
readable chapter on critical theory, the book battles with models of the child
audience, and the failure of cultural studies to fully explain the way in which
meanings are made, and argues that giving children themselves the opportunity
to make their own media is the way into understanding the meanings which it holds
presents for the first time the findings of a new research method developed especially
for this study, in which groups of Leeds schoolchildren were given video facilities
in order that they could make their own video productions. Taking the environment
as their focus, the videos suggest that the children's views of both environmental
issues and the mass media are complex and contradictory. The children's work is
also considered in relation to the aims of the producers of broadcast television
programmes which involve environmental material, who were also interviewed for
Clearly and engagingly
written, Video Critical combines theory and original research in an important
contribution to the understanding of children and the mass media.
method, analysis and theoretical conjecture... Anyone interested in audiences,
children or video will find this a worthwhile read." -- European Journal of
Communication, vol. 13, no. 2 (1998), pp. 284.
an accessible introduction to... important matters of intergenerational responsibility
and power... The research reports make fascinating reading. The children clearly
enjoyed making their videos and some unusual and thought provoking things happened
as the children got into relationships with all kinds of media, that give great
examples of the children's own mediations of responsibility... This book would
be useful to anyone studying childhood or the media." -- Sociological Review,
vol. 46, no. 1 (1998), pp. 159-162.
written, clear and engaging... It is very well presented and clearly organised,
with good summaries and 'signposts' which make the structure apparent throughout...
The methodology is interesting, original and persuasively justified." -- David
Buckingham, Institute of Education, University of London (1997)
"In an even-handed
examination of how mass media forms the boundaries of environmental issues, David
Gauntlett, with skill and clarity manoeuvres through potentially difficult and
theory-laden 'critical theory',... examining the way television affects the way
audiences frame the incredibly complicated and inter-penetrating social issues
of environmental problems. Gauntlett is not so much interested in whether the
mass media is culpable of intentionally ignoring or avoiding environmental issues.
Instead he discovers through a creative study that children audiences have internalized
environmental problems and their solutions in a one-dimensional 'narrative': the
problem has been created by individuals and is to be then solved by individuals...
Gauntlett's subtle, yet powerful analysis shows that the important "absent narrative"
within television coverage of environmental issues is nothing as diabolical, cliched,
or as simple as a conspiracy theory, but rather the normal outcome of the workings
of modern industrial capitalism, corporate owned media, and thus an increasingly
narrow ideological framework of acceptable media content. Gauntlett's work is
on the money - so to speak. A worthwhile sidenote: anyone who can incorporate
Horkheimer, Adorno, Marx, and Beavis and Butthead into a single chapter about
mass media and society is a five-star book for that reason alone - enjoy!"
-- Review by Vernon J Martin, Dept. of Philosophy, University of North Texas.
February 19, 1999. Posted on Amazon.com.
ISBN 1 86020 513