Media Question 1B



[span]Genres tend to have identifiable codes and conventions which have developed particular expectations, which may either be fulfilled or denied / diverted by the producer.
[/span]<span class="underline">Convention: An element you expect to see in a genre. e.g. In an action film you expect to see violence, a male hero and the theme of good vs. evil.
</span><span class="underline">Iconography: A sign (signifier) associated with the genre. e.g. dark settings and tense music = horror film
</span><span class="underline">Ideology: The beliefs of an individual or group. What they think is important. e.g. The characters of Downton Abbey think it is important to be rich so host lots of parties and dinners to show off their wealth.
</span><span class="underline">Hybrid-genre: When elements of two (or more!) genres are used within one film. e.g. Johnny English is an action-comedy or Shaun of the Dead is rom-com-zom (romantic comedy zombie film).
</span><span class="underline">Sub-genre:  a sub-genre is a more specific part of a larger genre. For example the horror genre can be broken down further into gothic horror, slasher, zombie, splatter etc.
</span><span style="font-size: 80%;"><span style="color: #ed3e39;">
Steve Neale</span> - Repetition and Difference
</span>Audiences do not want to see the same ideas repeated; they want something a little different that subverts their expectations: the repetition of some conventions with some difference.
<span style="color: #ed3e39;">Rick Altman  - No such thing as ‘pure’ genre
</span>[span]He says:
[/span][span]Conventions are a thing of the past.
[/span][span]Audiences, in general have become tired of the same formula and need more to keep them entertained and to create appeal.
[/span]Genre is surviving due to hybridisation – or genres “borrowing” conventions from one another and therefore being much more difficult to categorise.

1 of 7

Media Language

Any analysis needs to start from a technical point of view and move on to the deeper meanings (symbolic) that are inherited in the media product:

<span class="underline"><span style="color: #ffb100;">The Technical
</span>These consist of the following: Camera, Editing, Sound & Mise-en-scene<span class="underline">The Symbolic
</span>Refers to the deeper levels of meaning that are contained within the media product. When talking about the symbolic, you need to take into account how meaning is created, in addition you also need to consider how different audiences might interprety things.
</span>[span]Ferdinand de Saussure
[/span]Suggests media texts contain signs that mean things to audiences. The theory suggests how there can be 2 levels of meaning within a media text: The signifier - what is in front of use and The Signified - the idea we associate the signifier with and the concept it represents.

<span style="font-size: 80%;">Stuart Hall - Reception Theory

Dominant / Preferred Reading - The audience fully understands the intended meaning .

Negotiated Reading - The audience understands some of the preferred meaning.

Oppositional Reading - The audience understands the meaning however, decides to make their own mind up in regards to a character, this could be due to personal experiences.</span>

<p dir="ltr">[span]Stuart Hall - Encoding and Decoding
[/span]<span style="background-color: #ff9771;">Encoded - related to what is writing in the media text, the dominant ideas that are being represented and portrayed.
</span><span style="background-color: #ff9771;">Decoding - This relates to the audience's interpretations of the encoded meaning.</span>

2 of 7


OPEN – questions remain unanswered eg. a cliffhanger, the end of the first part of a serial.
CLOSED – all questions are answered, e.g. a magazine

LINEAR – the narrative is in order, it makes sense.
NON-LINEAR/FRACTURED – out of order e.g a film trailer or use of flashbacks
SINGLE STRANDED – one storyline in the media text
MULTI-STRANDED – several storylines weaving into an overall narrative eg. Soap operas
CYCLICAL – the narrative begins at the end and then goes back, as though the entire film is in a flashback.

Roland Barthes - Narrative Codes
Action Code: Represents the next step or stage within the narrative, example a shot of a gun or change in lighting.

Semic code: A code or sign that represents a significant meaning within the narrative, example is we see a character that has a fear of garlic this could demonstrate that he/she is a vampire!
Cultural Codes: These signs will apply to those audiences that are culturally and socially aware, example when new cars and gadgets are used in films that are of relevance within the modern world.
Code of oppositions: This is when binary opposites are used to reflect the narrative example, young vs old.

Claude Levi-Strauss - Binary Opposites
These represent the underlying themes within a media text - good vs bad

3 of 7


Socio-economic Grade

A - Higher Managerial, professional
B - Intermediate Managerial, administrative
C1 - Supervisory or clerical
C2 - Skilled manual workers
D - Semi - skilled and unskilled workers
E - Casual labourers, unemployed

Socio-economic Values
Mainstreamers - Seek security, tend to be domestic, conformist, conventional.
Aspirers - Seek status, Materalistic, orientated to image and appearance, persona and fashion.
Succeeders - Seek control, strong goals, confidence, work ethic and organisation.
Resigned - Seek survival, rigid and authoritarian values.
Explorers - Seek discovery, energy individualism and experience.
Strugglers - Seek escape, alienated and disorganised.
Reformers - Seek enlightenment, freedom or restrictions and personal growth.

We make assumptions about peoples' lives, by maing these assumptions, media producers can 'guess' how to target them.

Blumler and Katz – Uses and Gratifications

  • Escapism – from routine, from problems and emotional release

  • Personal Relationships – giving you something to talk about

  • Personal Identity – Comparing our own lives to someone else’s allows us to deal with difficult situations

  • Surveillance – films tell us about the world that we live in

This is the idea that rather than people being pressured by the media it is in fact the media that is pressured by the people. The media simply delivers what the audiences ask for, making the audience the powerful ones.

Effects Model (hypodermic needle theory)
This is the opposite idea of Blumer and Katz suggesting that it is in fact the media that is the power and ‘injects’ the audience with their dominant ideologies.

4 of 7


Roland Barthes - Enigma codes
Something that grabs the audience attention straight away and leaves questions unanswered.

Laura Mulvey - The Male and Female Gaze
The Idea that the camera has a gender
Male Gaze - The women is the desired object on screen
Female Gaze - The man is the desired object on screen
EXAMPLE: James Bond, traditional - male gaze - Modern, Daniel Craig, female gaze.

Andrew Goodwin - Music Video Theory

  1. A relationship between the music and the visuals. The music will amplify or contradict the music.

  2. Genre- related style and iconography present.

  3. Star image, multiple close-up shots of the main artist or vocalist.

  4. Voyeurism often plays a major part, especially in relation to females.

  5. Intertextual references to other media texts maybe present.

5 of 7


Reality is always represented - what we treat as 'direct' experience is 'mediated' or constructed by the media. When media products are produced, people, places, ideas are re-presented to audiences. They are encoded with meaning which audiences then interpret and make sense of in their own way.

Roland Barthes - Mythologies
The idea of fairytale like representations.

Roland Barthes - Denotation and Connotation
How does the audience see this?

Denotation - The object

Connotation - The meaning  (LINK:Stuart Hall - Representation Theory)

Richard Dyers - 5 Key Questions
Concentrates on whether the representation is true, accurate or realistic  
(EAA LINK : back to Barthes Mythologies and Notting Hill).

Voice - Who?       Idea - Who?    Type - Which?   Real  - What?   Audiences -  How?

Richard Dyer – Star Theory (VERY RELEVANT TO MUSIC VIDEOS)
Is there a star being portrayed? Dyer talks about how music performers and film stars are constructed to appeal to certain audienes. They have a certain look and certain characteristics that are developed through the media process.

“A star is an image not a real person that is constructed (as any other aspect of fiction is) out of a range of materials (eg advertising, magazines etc as well as films [music]).”

6 of 7


Tzvetan Todorov— Equilibrium and disequilibrium
Toderov looks at the way narratives are structured. He suggests how in many narratives there is a change. The narrative begins with the equilibrium (harmony). But then this is then disrupted by something known as an 'agent of change' which brings unbalance to the narrative or unpredictability causing disequilibrium.


Vladimir Propp - Character Theory

The idea that all characters are labelled, hero/villain, this then helps the narrative flow of a media text. Propp came up with the idea of how fairy tales have certain stages to it.

Preperation - The scene is set
Complication - Problem occurs
Transference - Hero recieves help and goes on a quest
Struggle - Fight
Return - Hero suceeds in his mission
Recognition - Villian is punished and hero rewarded

7 of 7


No comments have yet been made

Similar Media Studies resources:

See all Media Studies resources »See all Media resources »