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Title: Ethnic stereotypes and television : an examination of white students' attitudes towards ethnic stereotypes and television in six Midlands colleges
Author: Ross, Karen
ISNI:       0000 0001 2098 1748
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1990
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This research study sets out to identify and examine the ways in which the white majority have traditionally comprehended ethnic minority coninunities with particular reference to the role played by television in representing such coninunities. In the British context, television has come to dominate social and cultural life to the extent that the Reithian principles for television (that is, to educate, inform and entertain) have become crucially important in the maintenance, if not absolute creation, of notions of national culture. Given the concentration of ethnic minority corrinunities in mainly inner-city areas, for the majority of white people, their only contact with such corrrnunities is through the vicarious experience afforded by television. The medium's role in representing ethnic coninunities honestly and realistically is thus vital and if for no other reason deserves careful examination. My principal hypothesis is that television, through its characterisations of ethnic minority comunities, maintains, reinforces and perpetuates stereotypical assumptions already held by the white majority about such corrinunities, which hinder the pursuit of a harmonious and multi-cultural society. In order to test this hypothesis, a survey was conducted with 650 white students attending further education colleges in the Midlands which sought to ascertain their attitudes towards ethnic stereotypes and television. Professionals working in the television industry were also interviewed and a short monitoring study of contemporary television fiction was later conducted. The survey findings suggest, inter alia, that young white people do make stereotypical judgments about ethnic minority people which conform to traditional assumptions; that inter-ethnic friendship tends to mediate the propensity to make more unfavourable assessments of ethnicallyspecific characteristics; and that the perception of ethnic minority coninunities in the real world closely parallel those which exist in the world of television fiction. The specific merit of this study lies in its detailed examination of a significant and important sample population, the study both identifying general attitudes towards ethnic minority coninunities and also relating these general beliefs to student attitudes towards the ethnic portraits typically found in television. The study is thus able to establish that the ethnic stereotypes which exist in the popular white consciousness are regularly rehearsed through the contemporary medium of television.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council (Great Britain) (ESRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HT Communities. Classes. Races ; PN1990 Broadcasting