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Making sense of TV-narratives: Children's readings of a fairy tale
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
1996 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present study deals with young children's' reading and reception of television fiction. Theoretically, the study is inter-disciplinary, combining text-reader oriented approaches within literature theory and sociocultural approaches within psychology and sociology. A television program within the genre of fairy tales is analyzed by using both narratological andpsychological theoretical frameworks. Issues of intertextuality, dialogism, narrative codes, cinematic and literary conventions are considered in the analysis.

Empirically, the study takes a qualitative approach and the process of reception is studied by in-depth interviews of 86 six and eight years old children. The interview is regarded as a social practice or meeting-place between interviewer and informant. This approach has roots in Piaget's early work, in which he employed and developed the methode clinique as well as in Vygotsky's sociocultural psychology. Sociocultural variation is primarily studied by focus on gender and age.

One analysis concerns narrative coherence and how the children "hatched the plot". It appeared as if many of the younger children had difficulties in producing a coherent narrative of the program, whereas most of the older children did. The younger children often focused a particular scene or episode. Apart from age, schooling experience is assumed to explain these differences. Another analysis focuses on how children master the narrative codes of the story and the process of identification. The girls seemed to be more emotionally involved in the story and believed it was "real" to a greater degree than the boys. The analysis shows how emotional involvement and identification play a role in the interpretative processes, i.e. how emotion and cognition are interrelated in media reception.

Methodological issues are addressed, for example, how drawings can be used in the study of media reception. The children were asked to make drawings in relation to the program, which can be seen as a "different" reading, in which children project what is of subjective importance to them.

Cultural dispositions represent another type of sociocultural variation. The older children's literary repertoires and other cultural dispositions were studied in relation to their reconstructions of the television narrative.

The dissertation challenges such notions as "children's understanding of television" as a unitary concept and poin,ts to a variety of readings. Finally, the dissertation has implications for media literacy and media education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 1996. , 284 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 142
Keyword [en]
Television, media reception, the fairy tale genre, narrative coherence, cultural and narrative codes, identification, the qualitative interview, child drawings, cultural dispositions, media literacy
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-35316Local ID: 26289ISBN: 91-7871-712-4OAI: diva2:256164
Public defence
1996-05-31, Sal C 3, Hus C, Universitetsområdet Valla, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2012-06-08Bibliographically approved

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