AQA media theories

theories for media

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Uroos Fatima VIW
Audience Theories
Hypodermic Syringe Theory
The hypodermic syringe theory is that the media is like a syringe which injects ideas, attitudes and
beliefs into the audience. People are affected in different ways by the media. The audience are
sometimes aware of what's happening, but are still injecting it e.g. watching sex in the city makes you
want to go shopping
Cultivation/ culmination theory
When you first see a text you will be shocked, but after years of watching it you will feel less
sensitive about it e.g. when horror genre came out it was shocking, but know audience are less
sensitive towards it
Two step flow theory
More affected by it if we discuss it, the people we discuss our ideas with are called `opinion leaders'
The signifier is the physical form which we can see or hear - i.e. words, diagram, picture, music, siren.
The signified is the meaning which we attach to the signifier - i.e. Learner driver, no entry, Nazi etc.
Our understanding of them depends on our social and cultural background
Active Audiences
This newer model sees the audience not as couch potatoes, but as individuals who are active and
interact with the communication process and use media texts for their own purposes.We behave
differently because we are different people from different backgrounds with many different
attitudes, values, experiences and ideas.
Decoding/Encoding Model- Stuart Hall
Preferred reading- understands the texts meaning or message that the producer was aiming for
Oppositional reading- when audience doesn't understand the text the producer was aiming for,
could be as that certain audience might not be the target audience
Uses and gratifications theory
We all have different uses for the media and we make choices over what we want to watch. We are
expecting something from our use of the media.
Information- find out about society and world, satisfy our curiosity
Personal identity- audience watch television for models to our behaviour
Integration and social interaction- use the media to find out more about the circumstances
of other people perhaps through empathy or sympathy
Entertainment- enjoyments, relaxation, pass time
Criticism- when you can't control the media (your mum has the remote or you see billboards or
magazines around you etc.)
Moral panics- Media use a scapegoat to explain an issue and through various methods of
manipulation they persuade their audience- "the masses" to believe that the issue has been
discovered and solved by controlling the scapegoats

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Documentary `creative treatment of actuality'- Grierson
Poetic Documentary-
Expository Documentary- speaks directly to the audience aiming to explain or expose something to
audiences that it probably unfamiliar to audiences. Use social issues assembled into an argumentative
frame, uses `voice of God'. Mostly in wildlife, scientific documentaries
Observational Documentary- fly on the wall technique, undercover, gets right into the middle of
action and record it as it happens as the cameras or able to observe what happens.…read more

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Narrative Theories
Barthes' Codes-story can start anywhere, signifies and mediation
A text is tangled ball of threads which needs to unravel; when we do we can look at narratives from
more than one viewpoint. You can continue by unravelling the narrative from different angles by
pulling different threads and create an entirely different meaning. Texts may be open (unravelled in
different ways) or closed (there is only one obvious thread to pull on).…read more

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Voyeurism-when the audience gets pleasure from watching things that isn't morally correct for them
to see e.g.…read more


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