Published on March 7, 2014
SECTION A: THEORETICAL EVALUATION OF PRODUCTION Question 1(b) requires you to select one production either the AS production, the A2 main task, or any of the two ancillary tasks, and evaluate it in relation to a media concept. The list of concepts to which questions will relate is as follows: Genre Narrative Representation Audience Media Language
IN THE EXAMINATION, QUESTIONS WILL BE SET USING ONE OF THESE CONCEPTS ONLY. In some circumstances, you will be expected to select the production that appears to relate most effectively to the specific concept that arises in the exam question. However, the requirement for candidates to evaluate one of their productions in relation to a concept does not assume that the concept will necessarily always fit easily and in an orthodox way. Thus in some cases candidates will be describing their productions in terms of them not relating straightforwardly to the concept.
Whether you applied the concept to the product or use the production to challenge the concept, it is essential that you are sufficiently knowledgeable about the concept for either approach. You may choose to write about work undertaken at AS or A2, main task or preliminary/ancillary.
THEORISTS You do NOT need to: Learn a load of quotes Explain their theories in great depth Know them all You DO need to: Use a few Be able to apply them to your work/ case studies Consider how useful/ not useful they are when discussing your work/ case studies
HOW TO USE THEORISTS •Quote •Summarise •Comment Assume your reader knows about the theory/ theorist. Dont explain the theory; use it. A Todorovian analysis would argue… Mulvey‟s notion of the Male Gaze provides a useful way of understanding the video in that… Kate Wales statement that “Genre is... an intertextual concept” could be useful here because…
GENRE What genre is the production? What are the codes and conventions of the production? How is the genre established in the candidates production? How does the mise-en-scène support the genre? What is the role of the specific elements of the mise-en-scène? Refer to props, costume, makeup, location, theme etc. What themes have been used? Have generic conventions been adhered to or subverted? How will the generic elements of production appeal to the audience? Narrative -
GENRE THEORISTS YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO USE Gunther Kress Genre is “a kind of text that derives its form from the structure of a (frequently repeated) social occasion, with its characteristic participants and their purposes.” Denis McQuail “The genre may be considered as a practical device for helping any mass medium to produce consistently and efficiently and to relate its production to the expectations of its customers.” Nicholas Abercrombie “Television producers set out to exploit genre conventions... It... makes sound economic sense. Sets, properties and costumes can be used over and over again. Teams of stars, writers, directors and technicians can be built up, giving economies of scale” Christine Gledhill “Differences between genres meant different audiences could be identified and catered to... This made it easier to standardise and stabilise production”
MORE GENRE - THEORISTS FOR POSSIBLE USE Katie Wales “Genre is... an intertextual concept” John Fiske “A representation of a car chase only makes sense in relation to all the others we have seen - after all, we are unlikely to have experienced one in reality, and if we did, we would, according to this model, make sense of it by turning it into another text, which we would also understand intertextually, in terms of what we have seen so often on our screens. There is then a cultural knowledge of the concept 'car chase' that any one text is a prospectus for, and that it used by the viewer to decode it, and by the producer to encode it.” Andrew Goodwin Genres change and evolve: Christian Metz - Stages of genres: Experimental/ Classic/ Parody/ Deconstruction David Buckingham - “Genre is not simply given by the culture, rather, it is in a constant process of negotiation and change.”
QUESTIONS TO HELP How useful is the concept of genre in understanding your work? How can genre be used to understand music videos, and how is this different to genre and (thriller) films? How is your work intertextual? How does it fit in with other music videos? How is your production conventional of the genre? Why is genre useful to you as a media producer/ useful to audiences? Genre theorists you have quotes from: Gunther Kress, Denis McQuail, Nicholas Abercrombie, Christine Gledhill, Katie Wales, John Fiske. Jacques Derrida: “A text cannot belong to no genre, it cannot be without… a genre. Every text participates in one or several genres, there is no genreless text.” How could you use the theories to discuss genre and understand your production? What would Andrew Goodwin say about your work in terms of genre? Genres change and evolve (see Christian Metz and David Buckingham). How is your production using/ developing the genre?
NARRATIVE STRUCTURE What is the narrative structure of the product? How do the specific elements of the production relate to the narrative structure? Does the production adhere to, or subvert, narrative conventions? How does the narrative support the establishment of the chosen genre of the production? How have narrative techniques been used to appeal to the audience? Refer to Todorov, Propp, Levi-Strauss, Barthes‟ Enigma Code, multi-strand, restricted, unrestricted, non-linear etc.
NARRATIVE THEORISTS – POSSIBLE USE Tzetvan Todorov – Argues that narratives always have a structure of Equilibrium/ Disequilibrium/ New equilibrium Story versus plot Claude Levi-Strauss – Argues that human cultural understanding is based upon a system of binary oppposites (good/ bad; black/ white; male/ female…). Narratologists have taken this theory and applied it to narrative, arguing that binary opposition forms a fundamental way of understanding narrative. Roland Barthes: Enigma code; Action code. Also, Open and Closed texts. Vladimir Propp – argued that narratives always have certain character types who perform certain actions. Characters are agents of action. Pam Cook argues that the Hollywood narrative structure includes: “linearity of cause and effect within an overall trajectory of enigma resolution” and “a high degree of narrative closure”
QUESTIONS TO HELP How useful is the concept of narrative in understanding your work? How is narrative and music videos different to narrative and film? How is your narrative structured? (convergent/ parallel/ circular/ linear/ non-linear/ interweaving/ fragmented/ impressionist…?) How did you use chapters/phases? What pleasure(s) does your narrative offer the audience? How do you use characters in your narrative? How have you used protagonists/ antagonists? Is Vladimir Propp useful to understand your production? Some theorists and theories you may be able to apply: Story versus plot; Tzetvan Todorov (equilibrium etc); Claude Levi-Strauss (binary opposition); Roland Barthes (Enigma code; Action code. Also, Open and Closed texts); Pam Cook; Noam Chomsky (narrative is fundamental to human understanding) How does the narrative structure/ ending shape the meaning of your production?
REPRESENTATION Representation theory – Dyer, Mulvey, Perkins etc. Identify characters, events or issues within the production to discuss. What representational concepts are highlighted? (i.e. race, gender, cultural attitudes etc.) What representations have been generated? Discuss the specific elements of character representation, i.e. modes of address, facial expression, costume, behaviour etc. Have any stereotypical representations been generated? Does the production conform to, or subvert, any dominant ideologies?
REPRESENTATION THEORISTS Laura Mulvey – argues that cinema positions the audience as male. The camera gazes at the female object on screen. It also frames the male character watching the female. We watch the girl; we see the male watching the girl; we position ourselves within the text as a male objectively gazing at the female. Can be applied to other media forms also. Hegemony (dominant ideology)
MORE REPRESENTATION THEORISTS David Gauntlett – “Identities are not „given‟ but are constructed and negotiated” See later slide for more Jacques Lacan - The mirror stage Michel Maffesoli - “The Time of Tribes Mikhail Bakhtin - “the unfinalised self” individual people cannot be finalised, completely understood, known, or labelled. Many icons of the postmodern age change and adapt their identity and consequently can be seen in these terms: Lady Gaga, Madonna and Marilyn Manson are all examples. Judith Butler - Gender is what you do, not what you are.
QUESTIONS TO HELP How does your video represent different social groups/ people/ places/ lifestyles? What values/ ideologies are you representing/ promoting? Does your production create a hegemonic representation/ does it represent and reinforce the dominant ideology? What positive/ negative/ stereotypical connotations and representations are you constructing/ using/ challenging? How are the representations in your production the products of your own cultural experience/ background/ ideology/ values? What would Laura Mulvey say about your production?
MAGAZINE AND GENDER THEORISTS Marjorie Ferguson “The cult of femininity”; “consciously cultivated female bond” Angela McRobbie “a kind of false sisterhood that assumes a common definition of womanhood or girlhood” Janice Winship “The gaze between cover model and women readers marks the complicity between women seeing themselves in the image masculine culture has defined.” “a magazine is like a club. Its first function is to provide readers with a comfortable sense of community and pride in their identity”
MORE … Paul Messaris “Female models addressed to women… appear to imply a male point of view.” Judith Butler David Gauntlett: "These [male] magazines are all about the social construction of masculinity. That is, if you like, their subject-matter." http://www.theory.org.uk/gay-id.htm http://theoryhead.com/gender/discuss.htm http://theoryhead.com/gender/extract.htm
AUDIENCE THEORISTS Stuart Hall: Encoding and Decoding; Preferred/ negotiated/ oppositional readings Denis McQuail – Uses and Gratification theory (audiences consume media texts for Suveillance; Personal Identity; Presnal Relationships; Escapism/ Diversion. Ien Ang - “Audiencehood is becoming an even more multifaceted, fragmented and diversified repertoire of practices and experiences.”
QUESTIONS TO ASK How useful is the concept of audience in understanding your work? Who is your target audience? How did you develop your target audience? How does your production appeal to your target audience? How useful are various segmentation models to describe your target audience? Demographics? Psychographics? Findyourtribe? Consider theorists and theories such as: Stuart Hall: Encoding and Decoding; Preferred/ negotiated/ oppositional readings; Denis McQuail – (Uses and Gratification theory); Ien Ang - “Audiencehood is becoming an even more multifaceted, fragmented and diversified repertoire of practices and experiences.”; Hypodermic Needle Theory
MEDIA LANGAUAGE Any of the theorists from the previous slides!!
QUESTIONS TO ASK „Media language‟ means the language of the medium you are working within. For example, there is a language of film which is different to the language of music video/ television drama etc. This is different to genre: genre can cut across media (e.g. a sci-fi film/ TV programme/ music video (!)). How are you using the language of the medium? How have you used the language of music videos/ film openings/ digipaks/ magazine adverts? What would Andrew Goodwin say about your music video