Using materials from Item C and elsewhere, assess the view that the mass media represent young people as a problem group? (18 Marks) Youth are often portrayed as a ‘problem group’ in society, and as a major source of anti – social behaviour, particularly young working class, and especially African Caribbean, males. The Mass Media often generate this excitement by creating stereotypes of young people as troublemakers, layabouts and vandals, and by exaggerating the occasional deviant behaviour by a few young people out of the proportion to its real significance in society.
Media strongly affects youth culture. The media executives are quick to defend their role in youth violence and bullying while selling millions of dollars in ads focused on youth. TV producers, network executives, motion picture companies and others in the media deny any impact of their programs on the attitudes and actions of youth. This essay using materials from Item C asses the view the mass media represent young people as a problem group. Some Sociologist argues that the mass media represent young people as a problem group.
This has been argued by Cohen. He argues that young people are relatively powerless and an easily identifiable group to blame for society’s problems and therefore the mass media are able to represent young people as a problem group. In his study he found that African Caribbean males are often used as scapegoats by the media to create a sense of unity through the creation of moral panic. Where they generated moral panics based on stereotypes means that all young people from a specific group get labelled as troublemakers and an antisocial problem group.
A recent event that backs up Cohen study is the protest of the Rising in tuition fees to ? 9000, where young people were see a bad and making the situation even worse by causing trouble. Thus, showing that the media represent young people as a problem group. However, Signorelli’s (1989) content analysis of over 14,000 American television characters and found that not only young characters were represent as bad but also older characters were also represented as troublemakers. Which therefore show that the media equally represent different age groups as a problem.
However, Jewkes (2004) points out that young people are the usual targets of moral panics, their behaves regarded as a barometer to test the usual target of moral panics, Young people are the usual target of moral panics, their behaviour is ‘regarded as a barometer to test the health or sickness of as society’ Furthermore, Pearson (1983) argues that contemporary images usually categorise young people as a problem. He argued that during the “golden age” media had represented young people with low rates of crime and the youth had respected the police.
Pearson believes that the media are in a permanent panic about whatever manifestation of ‘youth as a problem’ is current: the Hooligans of Victorian Times, the Teds of the 1950s or the Travellers of today. A recent event that backs up Pearson’s theory is the London Summer 2010 Riots where young people were represented in the media as trouble makers and cause of the whole disturbance, although after research had been conducted more adults were found to be looting and rioting than young people.
As well as, the media did not show much of the Young people gathering together to clean the streets of London. Therefore this shows that the media represents young people as problem groups. However Pearson theory has been criticised………………………………… In addition, Wayne et al. (2008) had conducted a content analysis of 2130 news items across all the main television channels during May 2006. They found that young people were mainly represented as a violent threat to society. They found that it was very rare for news items to feature a young person’s perspective or opinion.
They note that the media only delivers a one-dimensional picture of youth, one that encourages fear and condemnation rather than understanding. Moreover, they argue that it distracts from the real problems that young people face in the modern world such as homelessness, not being able to get onto the housing ladder, unemployment or mental health and that these might be caused by society’s, or the government’s, failure to take the problems of youth seriously. Thus, showing the media represent young people as a problem group. Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
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