Monday, September 19, 2011

Roger Silverstone - "Television, Ontological Security and Transitional Object"

In his "Television, Ontological Security and Transitional Object" Roger Silverstone argues that television protects the individual and that it is an inseparable part of him in the cognitive as well as the emotional levels, and that television fills his time and space. Silverstone's "Television, Ontological Security and Transitional Object" presents three perceptions that emphasize the importance of television: television offers ontological security – the mechanism which allows the individual to survive in society. According to Silverstone television grants us the sense of personal identity and a feeling of continuity of that identity. This security is established through "remote trust – a sense of ontological security without real life experience. Television (by means of its technological capabilities) links us to the world and gives us a sense of "remote trust" to the truth that it represents. In addition Silverstone argues that television provides us with a transitional object which allows in Winnicott's psychoanalysis to disengage from the mother and gain a sense of selfhood. Television fills the absence of the mother and the functions that she represents such as continuity, indestructibility (which caters ontological security), daily time patterns (regular viewing hours) and it organizes the domestic space with its central position in the household.
Silverstone believes that media in general and television in particular fills many function the everyday life of people. To begin with television structures our daily routine – people watch the same programs at the same hours. Furthermore, television structures the domestic space by the position it has in the house. Television, according to Silverstone, strengths the sense of ontological security in the individual and forms the basis of his personal identity and the continuity of that identity. Television also offers remote trust which helps us sustain our faith in reality without directly experiencing it. To most significant role Silverstone ascribes television in "Television, Ontological Security and Transitional Object"  is that of transitional object which is crucial for the formation of an independent identity.