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Communication Dans Un Congrès Année : 2012

Movie Genre Preferences and National culture


Media content is a cultural good produced and consumed in the context of taste, style, customs, values, and so on. Culture embodies the platform upon which audiences decode the programs that filmmakers have coded. Therefore, audiences from separate backgrounds usually have distinct media preferences. Bourdieu (1984) explicated the origin of taste and collectivities formed and distinguished by taste. His contemplation relates to the term of "taste publics," coined by Gans (1999) and construed as "aggregates of people with usually but not always similar values making similar choices from the available offerings of culture" (p. 94). The notion of cultural embeddedness or even determination has been not only ubiquitously embraced or assumed but also extensively validated in literatures that pertain to media content use and reception. Nonetheless, there has been no systematic knowledge about how exactly separate cultures precede differences in programming preference that exist across societies. At the heart of this inquiry lies the question specifically€whether the cultural orientation of a society fosters predilections for particular kinds of content matters in terms of theme, plot, story, and/or narrative. If so, what cultural characteristics are associated with what content types preferred by an audience? In plain words, for example, do liberal societies at large tend to favor a certain sort of story, say, comedy, to watch, more than do conservative counterparts? Likewise, are individualistic or collectivistic societies fond of romance programs more than another in any consistent, meaningful fashion? Such propositions present a naturally intriguing yet practically profound insight; however, has not been enlightened by any organized and generalized research. This study seeks to bridge this gap that has persisted in the research of media, culture, and audiences. I will trace any relationship between culture and media preference by characterizing and examining the cultures and film genre preferences of individual national audiences around the globe. Researchers and commentators from different disciplines have argued or found that separate cultures or countries can be endowed with a preference for certain narrative plots or aesthetic forms. Weaver, Brosius, and Mundorf (1993) demonstrated experimental results that national sociocultural traits are psychologically linked to individuals' selection of movie genres. Hennig-Thurau, Walsh, and Bode (2004) discussed how cultural attitudes about the genre of a film create differences in how audiences receive it. Jowett (1985) documented the patterns of genre preferences of US moviegoers and their shifting trends. Straubhaar (2007) inspected television genre programming imported to or developed in several countries over the last five decades; he demonstrated that national and regional markets have distinctive proclivities in program genres that accord with their cultures. Garitaonandia, Juaristi, and Oleaga (2001) also found such differences across 12 European countries, while Brown and Pardun (2004) detected racial differences in genre preferences among US television viewers. Waterman (2005), comparing the genre composition of the annual top-20 films in the US, Germany, the UK, France, Italy, and Japan during 1997-2001, showed that there are salient distinctions in genre patterns across these markets, consistent with their traditional interests. Last but not the least, a series of empirical studies predicted film box-office receipts in respective countries using genre categories among other factors (for example, Craig et al., 2005; De Silva, 1998; Jedidi, Krider, & Weinberg, 1998; Neelamegham & Chintagunta,1999; Prag & Casavant, 1994; Sawhney & Eliashberg, 1996). To uncover national genre preferences consistently and comparatively, I focus on individual countries' aggregate responses to Hollywood films of the various genres€namely, action, adventure, comedy, drama, family, fantasy, romance, thriller, animation, biography, crime, history, horror, music, musical, mystery, sci-fi, sport, war, and western. A given country's preferences with respect to the Hollywood movie genres are identified as how much each genre claims of the annual nationwide attendance at Hollywood films in the country. Box-office sales revenues of movies in respective countries from 2002 to 2007 will be used to implement the identification of national genre preferences. Next, I will operationalize "national culture" in deference to the Hofstede (2001) and Schwartz (1994) frameworks, the most commonly adopted in quantifying national culture. Defining culture as "the collective programming of the mind," Hofstede classified national cultures according to the dimensions of individualism/collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, and masculinity/femininity. Also characterizing national culture, Schwartz (1994) considered extra dimensions, which are conservatism, affective autonomy, intellectual autonomy, hierarchy, mastery, egalitarian commitment, and harmony. These cultural axes connect to what Bourdieu (1984) called "conditions of existence" and are measured for a critical set of countries or territories worldwide in the Hofstede and Schwartz studies. The cultural attributes and genre preferences established for a large global sample of countries will set it ready to contour the relationship between the two potent aspects. According to the design of the measures involved, a quantitative scheme will be built to relate the 11 cultural dimensions (four from Hofstede and seven from Schwartz) to the preferences with respect to 20 movie genres. The core of the analysis is to detect and reason any statistically and realistically significant association between the culture and preference measures. This investigation makes an essential contribution to the cultural perspective to media use and international communication. First, it provides the long overdue generalized macro-level substantiation to the postulation of cultural embeddedness or determination of audience choice and behavior. Once it becomes clear about what a society's likes and dislikes are in cultural material, in correspondence to its culture's distinctiveness, the premise for the monolithic "cultural" literature on audience and media will be more robustly supported. Besides, the findings of the study will envision a new territory of research, both theoretical and empirical, that addresses processes or mechanisms that underlie any uncovered relationship between cultural environments and collective media preferences.
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hal-00840689 , version 1 (02-07-2013)


  • HAL Id : hal-00840689 , version 1


Wayne Fu. Movie Genre Preferences and National culture. Communiquer dans un monde de normes. L'information et la communication dans les enjeux contemporains de la " mondialisation "., Mar 2012, France. ⟨hal-00840689⟩


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