Television characters

They take centre stage in the plot and, quite often, in the viewers' reception as well – the main characters of children's and TV programmes. Who are the heroes of 6- to 15-year-olds, what makes them so attractive, and how are they integrated into constructions of identity and modes of adapting to life? This main research topic looks into such questions from a national and international perspective.
Literature: TelevIZIon 20/2007/2 “Die Helden und Heldinnen der Kinder” (only available in German)

The dream of being a star? Talent shows and Germany's next Topmodel (2009-2010)
The appropriation of popular programmes such as DSDS and Germany's next Topmodel is investigated by means of qualitative reception studies. What it is about the shows that fascinates children and young people? What do they appropriate for themselves from the protagonists and from the behaviour of Heidi Klum, Dieter Bohlen, etc.?
Project management: Dr. Maya Götz and Johanna Gather (IZI)

From Hannah Montana to Avatar: the significance of current favourite characters for pre-teens (2009-2010)

Qualitative reception studies on the appropriation of popular programmes: successful heroes of children's and young people's television such as Avatar, Yugi, SpongeBob, Hannah Montana, Zack and Cody, as well as selected films (High School Musical, Camp Rock, etc.) are analysed for implicit links to typical themes of boys and girls.
Project management: Dr Maya Götz, Christina Bulla (IZI)

Every morning the same face? Children's television presenters (2007)
How might the 52 presenters of public and private children's television in Germany be described? How attractive are they to children, and what makes attractive for them? Counting the gender proportions gives the initial answers, while a meta-analysis of IZI studies illuminates the children's assessment criteria. Also typical appearences of different presenter types were analysed.
Project management: Elke Schlote and Monika Gröller (IZI)
Literature: Elke Schlote/Monika Gröller: Presenting the same faces? Gender and typical roles of children's TV presenters in Germany. In: TelevIZIon 21/2008/E, pp. 26-27.

Favourite TV characters and their utility value (2005-2010)

What makes a television character a favourite? In this study, the concept of television characters' utility value is developed from the point of view of children and young people, quantified, and tested at a representative level.
Project management: Dr. Maya Götz (IZI)
Literature: TelevIZIon 20/2007/2 (only available in German), book publication in German due in 2010.

Young people's favourite characters and their significance for the development of cultural identity (2005-2006)
What does identity mean for young people with or without migration background in a Bavarian village, in high-rise developments in Munich or Berlin, or in a town in the east of Germany? By analysing individual cases, this study explores the construction of identity by young people.
Project management: Dr Maya Götz and Sebastian Hannawald (IZI)
Literature: Sebastian Hannawald/Elke Schlote : »… ist halt beides irgendwie meine Heimat« Wie Jugendliche mit Migrationshintergrund ihre Zugehörigkeiten benennen. In: TelevIZIon 21/2008/1, pp. 34-38 (only available in German).

The significance of favourite characters for girls' and boys' coping with life (2004-2010)

When children become particularly enthusiastic about a television character, they often ascribe to them a major significance for their own lives. What form does this relationship between television character and coping take? What kinds of gender-specific bias are revealed? What makes a television character an absolute, meaningful favourite? These questions are examined with the aid of an analysis of the life environments of 40 girls and 40 boys aged between 9 and 11.
Project management: Dr. Maya Götz (IZI) and Dr. Reinhard Winter, Gunter Neubauer (SOWIT Tübingen)
Literature: Maya Götz: Just pretty, responsible, and compliant? Girls' favourite characters. In: TelevIZIon 21/2008/E, pp. 22-25, Reinhard Winter/Gunter Neubauer : Cool heroes or funny freaks. Why certain programmes and TV characters appeal to boys. In: TelevIZIon 21/2008/E, pp. 30-35, book publication in German due in 2010.

The significance of television characters for young people (2004-2007)

The aim of this project is to investigate the television characters which are relevant for young people between the ages of 12 and 17 and understand their importance for the development of identity. In this the emphasis is placed on the development of gender and cultural characteristics.
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Literature: TelevIZIon 19/2006/1 (only available in German).

Young people's favourite television characters: an international comparison (2004-2005)

The appropriation of television characters may be closely related to the development of a cultural identity, in other words a sexual, ethnic, religious/national, local, or other identity. How this can take shape in New York City, Bangalore, Johannesburg, and Munich is investigated with the aid of 6 individual case studies of pre-teens (14-15 years) in each city.
Project management: Dr Maya Götz; research team: Prof. JoEllen Fisherkeller (USA), Divva McMillin, PhD (India), Firdoze Bulbulia (South Africa), Dr Maya Götz, Sebastian Hannwald, et al. (Germany)
Literature: Divya C. McMillin: "When we stop being scared..." Youth culture, gender, and television in India. In: TelevIZIon 21/2008/E, pp. 45-49.
Firdoze Bulbulia: Race, class and TV preferences. Adolescents in South Africa – four case studies.
In: TelevIZIon 21/2008/E, pp. 50-51
. JoEllen Fisherkeller/Zelda Freud, "Sie ist keine richtige Mutter". Wie Jugendliche in New York Geschlechterrollen mit dem Fernsehen verhandeln. In: TelevIZIon 19/2006/1, pp. 45-47.

The significance of television characters for children (2003-2007)

The aim of this project is to investigate the television characters relevant for 9- to 11-year-old children and understand their significance for the development of identity. Particular emphasis is placed in the project on the construction of gender.
more ...
Literature: TelevIZIon 20/2007/2 (only available in German)

The types of television characters (2003-2004)
The research for this study was driven by the question of how the principal characters in German children's television cope with conflicts in the plot construction.  On the basis of an analysis of 90 main characters a typology was constructed and its distribution in children's television analysed by examining over 400 characters. 
Project management: Dr Maya Götz and Ralf Schauer (IZI)
Literature: TelevIZIon 19/2006/1 (only available in German)

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