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I’m in the real world : the interpretations of violent imagery in popular culture by adolescents Coflin, Karen

Abstract

This research seeks to understand the interpretations of the violent imagery in popular culture by adolescents. Examples of television, movie and games were chosen by a group of nine secondary students and then discussed. Through the use of lists generated from surveys collected from a larger population the students involved in the focus group chose to view The Matrix and The Simpsons. These programs were then discussed at length in a variety of interview situations. Information concerning electronic games came out of the interviews as well. Interviews focused on the ways in which students interpreted the imagery in the context of the programs and their own lives. The results indicate that students are actively involved in constructing meaning in ways which are appropriate to them as well as indicating a consciousness of the contexts of the specific programs in relation to larger contexts of their own lives and society. For art educators this study has implications in relation to the acknowledgement of popular culture as a legitimate form of visual culture as well as advocating recognizing students expertise in relation to the forms of popular culture that interest them. With the recognition of this expertise art educators can initiate dialogue in order to create an environment where culture is shared and discussed and seen as a viable and exciting part of our lives.

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