Representing violence in cinema industries

Tarasov K.A.

Dr. Sri. (Cult.), Prof., Department of Sociology, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Senior Researcher at the Film Art Research Institute (VGIK), Moscow, Russia

DOI: 10.31857/S013216250000799-1
ID of the Article: 7292

For citation:

Tarasov K.A. Representing violence in cinema industries. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2018. No 8. P. 65-73


The representation and the consumption of violence in films trace their roots down to the bio¬social and cultural-anthropological nature of the human being. This notwithstanding, the mass character of the habitual consumption of violent screen spectacle is a result of commercially predicated symbolic violence. With the example of television, presented is the escalation of screen violence in the post-Soviet period of national history. In light of the possibility for the Werther effect, materials of a sociological study (the city of Kirov, 2016) are used in considering the consumption of screen violence by urban moviegoers of the Russian heartland, the convergence of gender differences related to it, and the psychological and institutional- economical logic of the symbolic violence perpetrated by the film industry at the point of consumption. Ma¬terials of a survey among high-school students of three Russian cities are adduced for verifying the hypothesis of the existence of a risk group among screen violence consumers. It stands to reason that to propagate physical violence in real life does not constitute a purpose of film industry. However, habitual consumption of violence in films, coupled with some spectators' predisposition toward aggressive behavior (the risk group), is capable of eliciting such a dysfunction. Based on the materials of an experimental-statistical comparison be¬tween the risk group and a control group, it is shown that, for instance, the screen spectacle of gore brings forth a sensation of delight among, respectively, 84 and 21% of young movie-goers; about the punishment of a film character intent on succeeding in life by the means of violence, lamentation is experienced by 72 and 6%; to an occasional impulse to hit someone succumb 54 and 3%. These and other empirically garnered facts attest to the capacity of violence in films for impacting manifestations of physical violence in real life.

film industry; film; screen violence; spectator; symbolic violence; consumption; masculinity; femininity; risk group; aggressiveness


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