Television is a powerful and pervasive agent of socialization. It is everywhere, we devour it, and watching it is one of the primary ways that Americns spend their leisure time. So, it seems appropriate that we examine what kinds of messages we are getting about our society from viewing it. How does tv socialize us? You will use content analysis to answer this question.
Step 1: Choose a popular tv show (comedy or drama series rather than a news show, talk show or reality show) and watch at least one episode inits entirety. You may want to watch a recorded episode so that you can go back and review it if needed. Select one aspect of social status or individual identity to focus on (gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity, class, religion, etc). Take notes as you watch the episode and keep track of how the program represents the social status you chose.
Step 2: Consider the following questions: (you may want to print these out to have with you as you watch)
1. In the program, how many [your topic] characters are there? How does the number of [your topic] characters compare with the number of other characters? Are the [your topic] roles major characters or minor characters? How can you tell?
2. What types of roles do the [your topic] characters have? What are their activities, attitudes, and interactions like on the show? What kinds of things do they do and say that tell you who they are and what they
3. Are the portrayals of [your topic] positive or negative? Humorous or serious? One-dimensional or multidimensional? How can you tell?
4. What images of [your topic] does this program portray? In other words, what messages do the words, pictures, plot lines, and characters convey to viewers about [your topic] in general?
5. How does the content of this program contribute to our socialization process? What do we learn about [your topic] in society from watching this program? After finishing your analysis, what do you think about TV’s powers of socialization?
Step 3: Summarize your findings in a discussion post and consider how your findings compare to those of your fellow group members.