Herbert Blumer. Movies and Conduct (1933)

Herbert Blumer. Movies and Conduct (1933) Скачать бесплатно: Herbert Blumer. Movies and Conduct. New York: Macmillan & Company (1933).

MO­TION PIC­TURES are not un­der­stood by the present gen­er­ation of adults. They are new; they make an enor­mous ap­peal to chil­dren; and they present ideas and sit­ua­tions which par­ents may not like. Con­se­quent­ly when par­ents think of the wel­fare of their chil­dren who are ex­posed to these com­pelling sit­ua­tions, they won­der about the ef­fect of the pic­tures up­on the ide­als and be­hav­ior of the chil­dren. Do the pic­tures re­al­ly in­flu­ence chil­dren in any di­rec­tion? Are their con­duct, ide­als, and at­ti­tudes af­fect­ed by the movies? Are the scenes which are ob­jec­tion­able to adults un­der­stood by chil­dren, or at least by very young chil­dren? Do chil­dren even­tu­al­ly be­come so­phis­ti­cat­ed and grow su­pe­ri­or to pic­tures? Are the emo­tions of chil­dren harm­ful­ly ex­cit­ed? In short, just what ef­fect do mo­tion pic­tures have up­on chil­dren of dif­fer­ent ages?

Each in­di­vid­ual has his an­swer to these ques­tions. He knows of this or that in­ci­dent in his own ex­pe­ri­ence, and up­on these he bases his con­clu­sions. Con­se­quent­ly opin­ions dif­fer wide­ly. No one in this coun­try up to the present time has known in any gen­er­al and im­per­son­al man­ner just what ef­fect mo­tion pic­tures have up­on chil­dren. Mean­while chil­dren clam­or to at­tend the movies as of­ten as they are al­lowed to go. Mov­ing pic­tures make a pro­found ap­peal to chil­dren of all ages. In such a sit­ua­tion it is ob­vi­ous that a com­pre­hen­sive study of the in­flu­ence of mo­tion pic­tures up­on chil­dren and youth is ap­pro­pri­ate.

To mea­sure these in­flu­ences the in­ves­ti­ga­tors who co­op­er­at­ed to make this se­ries of stud­ies an­alyzed the prob­lem

to dis­cov­er the most sig­nif­icant ques­tions in­volved. They set up in­di­vid­ual stud­ies to as­cer­tain the an­swer to the ques­tions and to pro­vide a com­pos­ite an­swer to the cen­tral ques­tion of the na­ture and ex­tent of these in­flu­ences. In us­ing this tech­nique the an­swers must in­evitably be sketch­es with­out all the de­tails filled in; but when the de­tails are added the pic­ture will not be changed in any es­sen­tial man­ner. Par­ents, ed­uca­tors, and physi­cians will have lit­tle dif­fi­cul­ty in fit­ting con­crete de­tails of their own in­to the out­lines which these stud­ies sup­ply.

Specif­ical­ly, the stud­ies were de­signed to form a se­ries to an­swer the fol­low­ing ques­tions: What sorts of scenes do the chil­dren of Amer­ica see when they at­tend the the­aters? How do the mores de­pict­ed in these scenes com­pare with those of the com­mu­ni­ty? How of­ten do chil­dren at­tend? How much of what they see do they re­mem­ber? What ef­fect does what they wit­ness have up­on their ide­als and at­ti­tudes? Up­on their sleep and health? Up­on their emo­tions? Do mo­tion pic­tures di­rect­ly or in­di­rect­ly af­fect the con­duct of chil­dren? Are they re­lat­ed to delin­quen­cy and crime, and, fi­nal­ly, how can we teach chil­dren to dis­crim­inate be­tween movies that are ar­tis­ti­cal­ly and moral­ly good and bad?

The his­to­ry of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions is brief. In 1928 William H. Short, Ex­ec­utive Di­rec­tor of the Mo­tion Pic­ture Re­search Coun­cil, in­vit­ed a group of uni­ver­si­ty psy­chol­ogists, so­ci­ol­ogists, and ed­uca­tors to meet with the mem­bers of the Coun­cil to con­fer about the pos­si­bil­ity of dis­cov­er­ing just what ef­fect mo­tion pic­tures have up­on chil­dren, a sub­ject, as has been in­di­cat­ed, up­on which many con­flict­ing opin­ions and few sub­stan­tial facts were in ex­is­tence. The uni­ver­si­ty men pro­posed a pro­gram of study. When Mr. Short ap­pealed to The Payne Fund for a grant to sup­port such an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, he found the foun­da­tion re­cep­tive

be­cause of its well-​known in­ter­est in mo­tion pic­tures as one of the ma­jor in­flu­ences in the lives of mod­ern youth. When the ap­pro­pri­ation had been made the in­ves­ti­ga­tors or­ga­nized them­selves in­to a Com­mit­tee on Ed­uca­tion­al Re­search of The Payne Fund with the fol­low­ing mem­ber­ship: L. L. Thur­stone, Frank N. Free­man, R. E. Park, Her­bert Blumer, Philip M. Haus­er of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go; George D. Stod­dard, Chris­tian A. Ruck­mick, P. W. Ho­la­day, and Wen­dell Dysinger of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Iowa; Mark A. May and Frank K. Shut tie worth of Yale Uni­ver­si­ty; Fred­er­ick M. Thrash­er and Paul G. Cressey of New York Uni­ver­si­ty; Charles C. Pe­ters of Penn­syl­va­nia State Col­lege; Ben D. Wood of Columbia Uni­ver­si­ty; and Samuel Ren­shaw, Edgar Dale, and W. W. Char­ters of Ohio State Uni­ver­si­ty. The in­ves­ti­ga­tions have ex­tend­ed through four years, 1929-1932 in­clu­sive.

The com­mit­tee's work is an il­lus­tra­tion of an in­ter­est­ing tech­nique for study­ing any so­cial prob­lem. The dis­tinc­tive char­ac­ter­is­tic of this tech­nique is to an­alyze a com­plex so­cial prob­lem in­to a se­ries of sub­or­di­nate prob­lems, to se­lect com­pe­tent in­ves­ti­ga­tors to work up­on each of the sub­or­di­nate projects and to in­te­grate the find­ings of all the in­ves­ti­ga­tors as a so­lu­tion of the ini­tial prob­lem. Such a pro­gram yields a skele­ton frame­work, which, while some­what lack­ing in de­tail, is sub­stan­tial­ly cor­rect if the con­tribut­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions have been valid­ly con­duct­ed. To pro­vide this frame­work or out­line is the task of re­search. To fill in the de­tail and to pro­vide the in­ter­pre­ta­tions are the nat­ural and easy tasks of those who use the da­ta.

W. W. C. Ohio State Uni­ver­si­ty June, 1933

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