Representing violence in cinema industries

Representing violence in cinema industries

Tarasov K.A.

Dr. Sci. (Cult.), Prof., Department of Sociology, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Moscow, Russia

ID of the Article:

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


Alia-Klein N. et al. (2014) Reactions to media violence: it's in the brain of the beholder. PloS One (the Public Library of Science Journal). No. 9 (9). URL: (accessed 22.08.17).

Baumann E. (2010) Wie Medien Genutzt Werden und was sie Bewirken. URL: http://www.bpb. de/izpb/7543/wie-medien-genutzt-werden-und-was-sie-bewirken?p=all (accessed 20.06.17).

Comstock G., Paik H. (1991) Television and the American Child. New York: Academic Press.

Fedorov A.V. (2004) The Rights of the Child and the Issue of Violence on the Russian Screen. Taganrog: Izd-vo U.D. Kuchmi. (In Russ.)

Feilitzenvon C. (2010) Influences of mediated violence. International and Nordic research findings. In: Children and Youth in the Digital Media Culture. Yearbook 2010. From a Nordic Florizon. Ed. by U. Carllson. Goteborg: Nordicom, University of Goteborg: 173-188.

Griffin E. (2015) Communication. Theory and Practices. Translated from English. Moscow: Gum. tsentr. (In Russ.)

Jung C.G. (1997) Man and His Symbols. Ed. by S.N. Sirenko. Moscow: Serebryanie Niti.

Krahe B. (2014) Media violence use as a risk factor for aggressive behaviour in adolescence. European Review of Social Psychology. No. 1 (25): 71-106. URL: http://www.tandfonline.eom/doi/full/10.1080/10463283.2014.923177?src=recsys (accessed 01.09.17)

Kravchenko S.A. (2017) Interdisciplinary diagnostics and contextual expertise of risks, vulnerabilities, security and trust. Voprosi analiza riska [Issues in risk analysis]. No. 1 (25): 3-8. (In Russ.)

Rondeli L.D. (2013) Cinema and Its Audience. Analytical Annals of the Interrelationship (1969-2010). Moscow: VGIK im. S.A. Gerasimova. (In Russ.)

Schendrik A.I. (2004) Globalization in the system of culturological coordinates. Kulturologicheskie Zapiski. Vyp. 9. Khudozhestvennaya Kultura v Eru Globalizatsii [Culturological Notes. Release 9. Artistic Culture in the Era of Globalization]: 135-176. (In Russ.)

Signorielli N., Gerbner G., Morgan M. (1995) Violence on television: The Cultural Indicators project. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. No. 2 (39): 278-283.

Stephenson W. (1967) The Play Theory of Mass Communication. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Tarasov K.A. (1996) From violence in cinema to the violence «as in cinema»? Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological studies]. No. 2: 25-35. (In Russ.)

Tarasov K.A. (2015) Violence in films: three preconditions for the mimetic effect. Vestnik VGIK [VGIK Herald], No. 2: 90-95. (In Russ.)

Violence on the Screen and the Rights of the Child. Report from a Seminar in Lund, Sweden, September 1995. (1996). Stockholm: Svensko Unescoredets skrittserie nr 2.

Zhabskyi M.l. (2015). The Sociodynamics of Society's Cinematic Life. Moscow: Kanon+ROOl «Reabilitatziya». (In Russ.)

Content No 8, 2018