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Christoph Klimmt

Subject Psychology
Communication Studies » Communication Reception and Effects

Key-Topics entertainment

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Escapism was introduced as an explanation for people's use of entertainment media in the 1950s. The tremendous popularity of entertainment programming in radio and, especially at the beginning of the 1960s, in television inspired communication researchers to discuss the reasons why mass audiences felt attracted to these programs and what consequences should be expected from this development (→  Audience ). Escapism – a Latin-based term that could be translated as “tendency to evade one's current situation or environment” – was elaborated as an important motivation of entertainment consumption (→  Enjoyment/Entertainment Seeking ; Selective Exposure ). The concept centers on the assumption that diversion and distraction from real-life circumstances are desires felt by many individuals in many situations, and that entertainment media can serve the purpose of diversion very effectively. The most influential reflection on escapism was authored by Katz and Foulkes (1962) . Their work exemplifies that escapism theory and research was dedicated both to motivational determinants of entertainment use and implications of escapist media consumption for the individual and society at large. The original understanding of escapism was rooted in the assumption that many working-class people in western mass societies were alienated and suffered from poor life satisfaction (→  Media Use by Social ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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