Media and domestic violence: a qualitative analysis of movie synopses

TitleMedia and domestic violence: a qualitative analysis of movie synopses
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsBordon E, Pietrobon A
JournalInterdisciplinary Journal of Family Studies
Date Published06/2012
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2282-2011
Keywordsdomestic abuse, media, movies

Most contemporary scholars recognize the importance of media for our society: media, in fact, not only affect users’ perceptions of social reality and the way societal norms and values are created (Gunter, 1988), but at the same time their content is mediated by how society perceives itself. Analyzing movie and TV contents can therefore allow an insight into common representations of social problems. Our research takes into consideration the concept of domestic violence to see how it is conveyed through movies and how the audience perceives it. A qualitative analysis using SPAD was applied to 100 synopses of movies that the Internet Movie Database lists with the tag “domestic violence”. The 100 movies were chosen using a popularity criterium based on users votes. The results shows that movie synopses depict domestic violence in a stereotypical way: a recurring domestic environment and familiar figures are always involved. Instead, no emotional elements are added to the plot nor are explicit descriptions of violent acts. Cinematographic narrations, then, seem to adopt and express representations that are mostly based on common sense.