“Mean World Syndrome”
Everyone is influenced and shaped by society. Society affects our perceptions, our consciousness, and our actions. A majority of the influence, especially on the younger demographic comes through the media; specifically through television. It is important to examine how violence in the media develops a pervasive cultural environment that cultivates a heightened state of insecurity, exaggerated perceptions of risk and danger, and a fear-driven propensity for hard-line political solutions to social problems. The purpose of this essay is to evaluate the impact of television and media violence, as well as the human cost of violent media, and the overall effects on society from watching TV. The agents of socialization (family, peer group, schools, and mass media) have a profound impact on limiting our choices. Socialization is a lifelong process by which individuals develop their potential and learn culture as they age, fitting into society based on their own “looking glass” (Lecture notes, Chapter 3). Freud’s model of personality is a combination of the id: (basic human drives), the ego (conscious efforts to balance innate pleasure-seeking drives with the demands of society), and the superego (norms internalized by society) (Macioni, p. 71). Based on that model, it is implied that in our desire to live up to society’s expectations, we have a limited ability to make choices because we base our behaviors off of society’s perceptions of us. Socialization (and therefore, our decision-making) is greatly influenced by the widespread cultural norms and values we use as a reference in evaluating ourselves, i.e. imitation of significant others (Macioni, p. 73). Furthermore, our choices can be limited by total institutions that create standardized lives and resocialization that an individual does not have control over. Television violence is argued to propagate violent behavior in society. “The Mean World Syndrome” refers to what cultivation analysis...
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