Positivist Approaches and Interpretative Alternatives: Critical Reappraisals

  • Bin Zhao


This chapter links the preceding review of past studies and the following argument for a critical perspective by reappraising the two major approaches to the problem of children and television. It starts with a reconstruction of the concept of childhood, with special attention accorded to its bearings, often more implicit than explicit, on previous research. This is followed by a critical examination of empiricist approaches, as their ‘hidden’ nature as an instrument for social control is highlighted. With its subtler understanding of the interactions between active viewers and polysemic messages, the interpretative turn undoubtedly marks a substantial step forward over its positivist predecessors. However, it shares a similar empirical ethos of fact accumulation at the cost of deep analysis. Such a deep analysis, it is argued, can only be achieved through adequate contextualizations, at both the situated and the structural level.


Social Control Television Viewing Ethnographic Study Instrumental Reason Family Viewing 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyPeking UniversityBeijingChina

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