Movies and Conduct: A Payne Fund Study

Author's Preface

Herbert Blumer

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THE present study is an exploration into a field of conduct which, while intriguing, has deterred investigation because of its intangible character. The customary methods of study used in social and psychological science have not seemed to be of much promise. In this investigation the writer has dispensed with sophisticated techniques. He has simply asked people to relate or write as carefully as possible their experiences with motion pictures.[1] Typical sets of these accounts furnish the bulk of the report and are allowed in the main to convey their own significance. With the accounts at hand the reader may judge for himself the reasonableness of the interpretations made by the author.

No treatment is given in this volume to the influence of motion pictures on sex conduct and life. Materials collected in the course of the study show this influence to be considerable, but their inclusion has been found inadvisable. The omission is not to be construed as implying the absence of the influence.

The writer wishes to make recognition of the appreciated assistance of Mr. Paul G. Cressey, Mrs. Ada J. Davis, Mr. C. Walker Hayes, Mr. Frederick Hurd, and Miss Laura Pederson in securing a number of the motion-picture autobiographies used in this study. An acknowledgment of indebtedness for generous aid is due the principals and teachers . of the grade schools and high schools in which questionnaire and autobiographical material was obtained. Finally the writer wishes to thank the many high-school and college

(xii) students who wrote their motion-picture experiences. Their fine spirit of cooperation and their good sportsmanship have done much to lighten and make pleasant this investigation.

In writing the report, the writer is indebted to Professor Louis Wirth for valuable comments and suggestions.

H. B
Chicago, Ill.
December, 1931


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