chapter  4
16 Pages

On the Role of Media in Socially Disadvantaged Families


Transformation processes are located on macro-, meso-and micro levels. These processes of social change present special challenges for families, leading to a variety of stressful situations, associated with both positive and negative events (Price, Price and McKenry 2005). Advances in industrialisation, urbanisation, and technology have made the daily lives of families more complicated and impersonal. Along with this came the “privatisation and emotionalisation of family relations” (Walper 2004, 226, authors’ translation). Textbooks diagnose a change from “‘households working with commands’ to ‘households functioning based on negotiation’: Insofar, the modern parent-child-relationship [. . .] is more or less marked by a culture of negotiation within the family” (ibid). These changes bring a wish for closer relationships with them, but also the necessity of establishing these relationships through proximity, trust and reciprocity, thus establishing emotional balance. Confl ict situations result in massive challenges for families. When coping with them, families are looking for orientation in their everyday lives; in this context they also use the broad variety of converging and crossmediated media offers, which are themselves affected by larger processes of transformation: Livingstone and Das (2010, 1) point out that “media and communication technologies are simultaneously diverging and converging, resulting in a complex, fast-changing and increasingly global media environment that poses many challenges for families.” These transformation processes thus have an effect on the content of media as well as on their audiences-and families are audiences with specifi c needs and expectations.