Values of German Media Users
Values of German media users, 1986-2007 Values have been discussed in connection to the changes brought to the German TV landscape since the introduction of the dual system in 1984. Yet, on such occurrences arguments have rarely, if at all, been based on reliable information about differences in televised values. Nor have values of the audience of channels or genres been considered. This study offers a starting point for such an endeavor, focusing on the role values play for people's media choices. In a theoretical overview, values are situated in a framework of overlapping spheres that influence people in the adoption of values. Social learning is the main mechanism behind this process of socialization. Values define what is desirable or not and how one should behave in a given situation according to the rules of one's society. As stable basic traits close to an individual's personality, values play a part in the building of motives that finally result in behavior. With regard to media, a well-established gratification of media use is the reinforcement of one's own values and worldviews. Based on the finding that mediated value patterns differ across outlets and types of content, I assume that different values should lead people do prefer different media over others. Merja Mahrt is a research associate at the Department of Social Sciences at Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf. Her research interests include social settings, functions and effects of mass communication.
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